We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet. They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Blood Paradise.
Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.
Imagine you’re a Swedish actress. Your director-husband looks like a Greek god, and you resemble a younger version of Melania Trump (you are both former models). But you don’t have a lot of cash at your disposal. What do you do for work?
If you’re statuesque beauty Andrea Winter, you make a low-budget horror-comedy on the family farm in north Sweden. And you recruit your non-actor parents and brother to play pivotal roles. Oh, and you produce, co-write, score, edit and star in it.
We’re going to do something a bit unusual here. We’re going to write not one, but two reviews; one of Blood Paradise itself, and one of the film’s main attraction: Andrea Winter Wahlgren.
Novelist Robin Richards has writer’s block and decides that a change of scenery might be the fix she needs. So she moves into a farmhouse in rural Sweden. There is just one problem: The locals are a peculiar lot. Very peculiar, including a poker-faced farmer (Winter’s real-life father) who makes mysterious trips into a nearby outbuilding; her “biggest fan,” an odd-looking fellow who sidelines as a Peeping Tom; and a gruff neighbor who enjoys playing with guns (Winter’s real-life brother).
When Robin’s boyfriend (Patrick von Barkenberg) shows up on the farm, things take a nasty turn.
The premise of Blood Paradise isn’t bad. At first, I was reminded of Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone: a female novelist moves to the country and fish-out-of-water hijinks ensue. But the comedy part of Blood Paradise is, unfortunately, dropped pretty quickly, and the horror that remains is fairly pedestrian stuff.
You’ve seen this story before. The phones don’t work. The locals are more odd than ominous.
But the farmstead is attractive, and so is …
The Farmer’s Daughter
By now, it’s become something of a cliché: A European actor will do extensive nudity, American audiences will be (a bit) shocked by said nudity, and the actor will state that, where she (usually a she) comes from, nudity is commonplace and “natural.”
Why is something considered so natural in parts of Europe thought of as more sexual — and naughty — across the pond? Is it a hangover from the prudish Puritans? Or are the Europeans bullshitting us?
In the YouTube clip below, Andrea answers a fan’s question about the nudity in Blood Paradise:
Either way, it’s not your everyday movie in which a fetching daughter scampers about in the buff in scenes with her real-life male relatives.
The Grouch did the following e-mail interview with Winter:
The Grouch: Thanks for doing this interview. At the beginning of Blood Paradise, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – would it be mostly comedy, mostly horror, or a mix of the two? I thought the story might be influenced by, say, Romancing the Stone, in which an attractive novelist with writer’s block travels to some far-flung location and winds up in a wild, comedic adventure. But by the end of your movie, it was quite clearly more in line with movies like Psycho or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What was your intent in making this movie?
Andrea Winter: Our intent was to make a movie that was both fun and scary but in an artistic way. I see a lot of new independent horror films that have a lot of comedy and they’re really scary, but I don’t see many that are artistic. I didn’t just want to make another horror film just to make one. I consider myself as much of an artist as a filmmaker and it was important to me that our movie was as beautiful as it was scary. I also consider myself a vintage horror snob and we were very inspired by old horror films. Maybe that’s why our film turned out the way it did.
Grouch: I watched an interview with you and the film’s director, which was quite illuminating. What was it like working with family members? Did they inhibit your work in any way? Also, what was their (family members) reaction to the finished product?
Winter: It was truly fantastic working with my family members. They were so professional and sometimes I actually forgot they were my family members. I’ve always wanted to put them in a movie. They’re all such natural born actors. Our dinner parties are quite interesting. It’s incredible. I believe (and hope) they are proud of the movie. Of course I don’t think they have much of a choice but to tell me that they like it, since we’re family.
Grouch: It seems to be inherent to movies like this – in the horror genre – that sex or nudity is part of the formula. But it’s unusual, I think, for the lead actress doing the nude scenes, in this case you, to also be the producer, co-writer, co-editor, music, etc. Was it difficult being “the boss” and then taking your clothes off in front of cast and crew?
Winter: I made fun of it a lot. I mean, it probably sounds like a nightmare, trying to run a production naked, right? But it wasn’t that weird, believe it or not. In Sweden nudity is quite normal and the director and the cinematographer are both German. I see completely naked people sunbathing in the parks in Berlin like it’s no big deal all the time. In Germany men and women go to the sauna in the gyms together, completely naked. It’s the north European way I guess.
Grouch: What has been the general reaction to your movie? Also, what’s next for you?
Winter: From what I’ve read and heard I feel like people either love or hate our movie. I guess some people don’t get it. I understand and respect that. We made this movie exactly how we wanted to make it. It’s not supposed to be taken that seriously, we want people to laugh and have a good time. Every time someone tells me that they like the film, or when I hear audiences laugh at certain parts of the film it’s all worth it.
Me and the director, Patrick von Barkenberg, are developing two new projects right now. One is a TV-show that we have been working on for a very long time. We are hoping to make it in the UK, but we’ll see what the response is. The other one is an independent movie that we are planning on filming in Northern Italy if everything works out. I’m very excited about both of them.
At this point, the reader has probably made up his or her mind about whether or not to watch Blood Paradise. Possibly, you are like our contributor Rip van Dinkle and are most intrigued by Andrea’s nude scenes. She was kind enough to drop a “hello” to Rip in the comments section of his “Playboy Interview”:
In turn, we asked Rip to write captions for the sexy screen captures below. Rip, we should add, is not exactly politically correct.
Rip: “This is the first nude scene. Like all of us, Andrea enjoys some quiet time in the tub. Unlike most of us, she’s worth watching.”
Rip: “The dude above is Andrea’s real-life partner. You might be looking at him sniffing her foot, but I’m looking at some pussy hair. Then again, I’m a dirty old man.”
Rip: “The guy above is Andrea’s real-life brother, watching his sister scamper naked in a field. I wonder if he got a boner. I’m sorry, but if that was my sister, I would still get a boner. I wonder if she wondered if he got a boner.”
Rip: “Andrea told an interviewer that the scene above was shot at dusk, and that mosquitoes were biting her everywhere. Apparently, even the bugs wanted a piece of ass.”
Rip: “Gee, I wonder what the guy above is peeking at. Could it be Andrea’s perfect butt cheeks?”
We end with this intriguing YouTube clip from the same appearance referenced above, in which von Barkenberg hints that the DVD (tentatively scheduled for release in July) might be even more revealing than the theatrical cut:
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