Bloodsuckers from Outer Space is a 1984 American comedy science fiction horror feature film written and directed by Glen Coburn (Tabloid!). It stars Thom Meyers, Dennis Letts, Laura Ellis, and Robert Bradeen.
On May 29, 2018, Vinegar Syndrome released the movie on Blu-ray with the following features:
- Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 16mm negative elements
- Commentary Track with writer/director Glen Coburn, actor Thom Meyers, and cinematographer Chad D. Smith
- 34 Years Later: A 50 minute ‘making-of’ documentary
- Back To Bloodsucker Town: 15-minute featurette
- Bloody Arm Rip 101: A how-to guide on recreating the special effect from the film!
- Stills Gallery: Featuring over 100 images from Glen’s personal collection on the making of the film
- Reversible cover artwork
- English SDH subtitles
Texas farmers turn into zombies when they become infected by an energy field from outer space. The residents must escape before an overeager general can convince the President to drop a nuclear bomb on the rural town…
“Blood Suckers from Outer Space feels very much like a Troma movie. It checks all the required Troma boxes — low budget, goofy rather than funny, charming but flawed […] It’s a silly zombie movie that spoofs 50’s drive-in fare. Not all the jokes land, and they work really hard to make them land, but the ones that do are worth it.” Chris Coffel, Bloody Disgusting
“Bloodsuckers from Outer Space could be one of the kings of low budget B-Movies […] has loads of odd but extremely funny lines of dialogue. It’s the kind of stuff that you can’t believe someone actually wrote down and then expected an actor to memorize.” Kryten Syxx, Dread Central
” …after a few minutes Bloodsuckers radically changes course, transforming into an anything goes comedy. Characters repeatedly break the fourth wall, commenting on the quality of their own fight scenes or how scary the incidental music is. These schizophrenic moments are what make the film so endearing.” Bill Burke, Horror News
“While some of the gags threaten to stray into Attack of the Killer Tomatoes territory, this is thankfully a much more consistent and entertaining film thanks to its cheap but effective gore FX, some great deadpan delivery, and of course some T&A thrown in for good measure. Or maybe the whole thing’s just a happy accident that happened to turn out highly entertaining…” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital
” …a lot like the following year’s Return of the Living Dead, except that it isn’t funny or exciting.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, 2001
” …the acting and make-up effects are so dreadful, and the writing so amateurish, that there are several scenes and characters that will draw out a smile. At least everyone present was trying and it shows. The production as a whole gets an A+ for effort but a C- for presentation.” Jason McElreath, DVD Drive-In
“Bloodsuckers from Outer Space isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s fun and contains sporadic moments of (mostly) intentional greatness. There are far worse ways to kill a six-pack and an hour and 19 minutes. At the very least the new wave theme song is pretty choice and there are remarkably few fart jokes…” Travis Box, Dallas Observer
- Thom Meyes … Jeff Rhodes
- Dennis Letts … General Sanders
- Laura Ellis … Julie
- Robert Bradeen … Uncle Joe
- Glen Coburn … Ralph Rhodes
- Kris Nicolau … Jeri Jett
- Pat Paulsen … the President
Karl-Lorimar Home Video released the film on home video in 1986 and Media Blasters released it on DVD on December 30, 2008. A 30th Anniversary DVD was released by Whacked Movies on November 11, 2016.
A postscript by writer-director Glen Coburn:
Beneath the neon glow of the Texas Theatre’s iconic sign, the letter-changer’s latest game of scrabble formed a striking marquee. Top line: TUESDAY NIGHT TRASH. Middle: BLOODSUCKERS. Lower: FROM OUTER SPACE.
It was June 12, 2018. The Facebook post read: “Tuesday Night Trash and Vinegar Syndrome are proud as punch to present a special Blu Ray release party screening of Glen Coburn’s Dallas Horror favorite Bloodsuckers from Outer Space in glorious 35mm!”
The days leading up to the screening were difficult. A tornado of unusually stressful circumstances and a death in the family the previous week put a damper on the upcoming event. I figured twenty-five people would show up for the screening. When I walked in the door carrying a bag full of Blu-rays and copies of my book, Whacked: Skewed Views of Horror Movies That Simply Refuse to Die, the place was buzzing. Happy energy bouncing around like bingo balls in a hyper-speed hopper.
My old friend Bret McCormick, our home-town schlockmeister (The Abomination, Repligator), was in the lobby. I worked with Bret on his first movie, Tabloid!, an anthology film that he and another old friend, Matt Devlen produced in 1985. They each wrote and directed a segment. As a hired-hand, I made my short film called, “Baby Born With Full Beard” Bret was a special guest at the Bloodsucker event. He was offering up copies of his fun, informative book, Texas Schlock.
I wrote and directed Bloodsuckers from Outer Space when I was twenty-three years-old in 1984. The campy horror-sci-fi parody was shot on the lonely prairie of South Central Texas. The budget was $50,000. It premiered at “Joe Bob Briggs’ 3rd Annual Drive-in Movie Festival and Custom Car Rally.” Initially, Karl Lorimar Home Video sold 60,000 units, most of them rental copies. As a result, BFOS was on the rental shelves of every video store in America and so it became a ubiquitous home video title. Our film sales agent, was a local guy. He made the home video deal and also licensed the film in a dozen foreign markets so through the years, it has maintained a small but loyal following. For some inexplicable reason, the movie never turned a profit. A number of other filmmakers, including Bret had similar experiences with that film distribution rep. We were all apprehensive about going into business with an L.A. shark so we ended up with a Dallas shark instead.
The venue for the big night was special not only because the Texas Theatre is a hero of indy and revival film but also because of its sentimental value. My parents grew up nearby and as teenagers, they saw a lot of movies there. Located in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, the Texas Theater opened for business in 1931. As part of a chain owned by Howard Hughes, it was the largest suburban movie theater in Dallas and the first movie house in the city with air conditioning. History marked it with an eternal smudge on November 22, 1963 when fifteen Dallas Police officers swooped in and apprehended the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was dead and Dallas would be known as the City That Killed Kennedy until the Cowboys became America’s Team and the popular primetime soap opera, Dallas gave viewers a new perspective on the city.
Kudos to Aviation Cinemas for transforming the wrecked movie palace into an old school repertory cinema with a contemporary spirit. The Texas Theatre is the real-deal, an independent art-house in a city with slick chain-pretenders. The ever-present theater operator, Barak Epstein is a filmmaker himself. And his staff is first-class.
Stepping inside the lobby, there’s the smooth vibe of a gathering-hole for the in-crowd. It’s not a club for preening hipsters but for niche moviegoers who love offbeat films, especially lowbrow WTF exploitation. The hum of casual conversation offers a breath of life to the faded glamor of the old movie-house. First impression creates a sense of going back in time to see the first run of a Jean Harlow picture. The spell is broken by the heavy veneer of an unfortunate remodel in the 1980s intended to mimic the interior of the Alamo. The real Alamo, not the drafthouse.
I introduced the film in front of an audience of two-hundred kindred spirits. I’m typically at ease in those situations especially when I’m armed with memorised material. But in that moment, I knew this was something different. The crowd actually wanted to hear what I had to say. They regarded me in a way that was counter to my own tenuous self-esteem. It felt good being me. My deadpan humour and off the cuff responses to the Q&A got genuine laughs.
I gave a shout out to my Bloodsuckers cohorts in the audience. First, my mom and dad. It was their night because it was my night. Dad put in a hilarious non-actor performance as the goofball sheriff in the movie and my mom was among the hoard of hungry zombie vampires in the Bloodsucker Town. Michael Haines, the sound man who contributed Hollywood quality audio was too humble to make a fuss. My close friend and intrepid desert hiking companion, Chad Smith the director of photography waved and got props from the crowd. Then came my favourite introduction. The talented lead actor, Thom Meyers stood up with a smile and a motionless bow. It was like a spotlight swung around and found its target. Big applause ensued. Thom was a movie-star. I always thought of him in that way.and always wanted him to be. I would make another movie just so he could play the lead again. It was Thom, Chad and me, the triumvirate. There were many hard-working collaborators but the three of us made the movie.
Another great moment was when Matt Devlen walked up to the front, hugged me and took his place beside me. I didn’t even know he was at the screening. He made a momentous announcement that garnered a choir of “awww” and applause. Matt told the crowd that my wife, Kay and I were just a few days away from our thirtieth wedding anniversary. He motioned for her to come up and join us. Then he shared his story of the night of the premiere. He introduced the two of us under the marquee of the Inwood Theater.
And then, it began. Commencing countdown. Engines on. What seemed like brief farm documentary played out on the screen. Boosters ignite. The farmer starts retching blood. Full-on lift off. The farmer bites the dust. He bolts up. Shock cuts. The cheesy horizontal blood drip animation comes down. The title comes up. For eighty minutes, the audience was in stitches. It was smart laughter. They weren’t laughing at the movie. They were laughing with it. They got my dialog and knew immediately that the film was meant to be a comedy. After thirty-four years, the cheap, retro-trash, horror sci-fi satire had finally come into its own. For the first time, I saw it as a real film. It was so far back in my rear-view mirror that I had become disconnected from it. This was a one-of-kind experience.
Today, film is a delivery system. Just like digital capture. By the time algorithms are assigned, it doesn’t matter where the picture came from. But Bloodsuckers rom Outer Space was an analog creation. Science and magic. Highlight, shadow, colour, contrast, all shaped by crystals on emulsion reacting to light. Chemicals in processing add another unique set of variables. Printing is the same thing all over. No two prints are exactly alike. Millions of molecules swarm, sway and lilt. Always in motion. Projection systems vary. The Texas Theatre has a changeover set-up. Ryan Culbert is professional projectionist not a button pusher. The reel changes were flawless. The unique qualities of that particular auditorium and screen add to the equation, as well as the collective consciousness of that audience. No one will ever see and hear precisely what we did that night. For me, it was lightning in a bottle.
After the show, Bret and I were ambushed at our celebrity vending table in the lobby. So many Blu-rays and books were sold and signed. Lots of cool people to chat with. A short distance away, I saw Kay surrounded by a group of people who wanted to gab with her. Thom and Chad were kindly attending to my parents. The bar was hopping. Everybody was having fun. I wanted it to last. For a few minutes, I felt like the conquering hero. I thought I could do anything.
Glen Coburn, HORRORPEDIA @ July, 2018