On June 22, 2020, director Joel Schumacher passed away. He wrote Car Wash and The Wiz as well as writing and directing D. C. Cab which was a must-see movie and cable staple when I was in elementary school. He also directed The Lost Boys, which is a horror classic, and Flatliners (the original with Julia Roberts, which, like the remake and not to ruffle feathers, is not a classic). Schumacher also took over the Batman franchise with Batman Forever (a respectable effort) and Batman & Robin (not a respectable effort).
Like all the greats, Schumacher had some hits, misses, and lost gems. This week I want to shine a light on one of his later films, a true gem, that I feel doesn’t get enough credit: Blood Creek.
I may be partial to Blood Creek because it not only involves the occult and black magic, but it involves Nazis involved in the occult and black magic. I have that soft spot for World War II horror related stories. I can’t help it.
Blood Creek is not set during the war, though. It begins 1936 when a German professor of the dark arts named Wirth (Michael Fassbender before he became Magneto or David the android) visits the Wollner family in West Virginia. They are German emigrants living along a river in the middle of nowhere. Wirth, a Nazi, was sent by Himmler to the Wollners because there is a Viking runestone on their farm. The deranged professor wants to tap into the power of the runestone and help his fellow Nazis conquer the world.
The Wollners recognize madness when they see it and do their best to stop Wirth. Sadly, they become entrapped with him, never aging, and have to have a steady supply of blood and human sacrifices on hand to keep Wirth imprisoned.
Jump ahead to the present day and meet Evan Marshall (Henry Cavill before he became Superman or Geralt). He’s a paramedic taking care of his sick father and doing his best to be a good uncle to his nephews. His brother, Victor, after returning from the war in Iraq, went missing two years prior during a camping trip. Just as Evan is near a breaking point from his responsibilities and grief, Victor returns in the middle of the night.
With very little by way of explaining his absence, Victor enlists his little brother on a mission to help him seek revenge against the people who captured him and tortured him for two long years. They set out in a boat for the backwoods and their journey ends at the Wollner farm.
The house is painted with weird symbols and really shows its age. The Wollner family not so much. Good ol’ Wirth looks a hell of a lot uglier when he escapes from the cellar– he’s more powerful, but the years were definitely not kind to his skin. What follows for the brothers is a night of fighting the undead and the demonic. What follows for the rest of us is a good time spent watching a quality popcorn flick from a director who instinctively knew how to make a movie.