The once popular Swedish band Easy Action is credited with being the first Swedish glam metal band and after being formed in 1982 cut two albums, appeared in BLOOD TRACKS and broke up in 1986 when founding member Kee Marcello signed on with Europe. Seemingly modeled in sight and sound on Philadelphia glam rockers Cinderella, they actually preceded them. In '82 the band allegedly stole their name from another established Swedish band at the time and were sued in ‘83 by Poison, who claimed they plagiarized the chorus of their song “I Want Action” for their establishing hit single titled “We Go Rockin’.”
Unlike many films that try to use a band as a central focus for the plot, Easy Action is actually really entertaining in their cheesiness. The title song, which ranks right up there with the title song from Robert Ginty’s WHITE FIRE, is actually seriously catchy and will get stuck in your head every time you see the words "blood tracks".
The biggest problem with BLOOD TRACKS is that it appears to be one of those movies that got brutally censored every time it passed into someone’s hands. At present there is no known completely uncut print that I am aware of. If you know differently don’t hesitate to contact me. Until recently I thought it was hopeless to find even so much as a scrap of extra footage for this film.
All I had ever heard and read was that there was no “uncut” version of BLOOD TRACKS on video and technically that still may be true. I had also read that the Japanese VHS was not “uncut”, this is technically true, but the interesting thing is that it is quite literally 3 minutes longer and contains three minutes of extra footage (I’ll save my diatribe on the illusion of video running times for another day). Looking at the video box covers is a clear metaphor for what is actually in the film versions.
Be it the '80s or modern day US censors prefer to delete violence. Now since the legendary American Morality Czar, the vile Jack Valenti has stepped down, we have had much less censorship in cinema, but it's still there. In the ‘80s above the waist nudity was acceptable and even copious in horror movies. Interestingly the US version deletes almost all of the nudity in the film and even goes to the extreme of having the two scenes of nudity that are left in panned and scanned to crop nudity out of the frame!
In the scene with the couple who are trapped in a car after the car is buried by an avalanche the girl is naked when they pull her out. Why is that? That’s because in the full scene the girl takes off her clothes while making out with the band member that includes a brief dialogue exchange. This is actually intercut with some dialogue that takes place between the sound guy and the cameraman in the house. That is deleted also. And amazingly when the girl is being pulled out the car, the US release pan and scans most of her bare ass out of the frame! During a scene where two topless girls are being groped and attacked with a squirt-bottle, the US version pan and scans so that the door takes up most of the frame and most of the nudity is cropped off screen.
There are actually several other scenes at various points in the film where the band members are making out and getting naked that are completely cut out along with any scenes that are intercut with the extended nude scene (if that makes sense).
Unfortunately no matter which version you watch there’s still a bunch of gore missing. Linda’s death (the girl tied to the wall with the counter-weights) is still a complete mystery. I’m guessing she was torn in half (the two counter-weights appeared to be attached by cables to her wrists, and there is a quick close-up of blood pouring down the middle of her face), but sadly it’s the same in both prints. The bit where the Police Chief (Mats Helge regular Frederick Offrein) shoots the one of the last brothers at the end still looks like it’s missing the coupe de grace. Plus there’s a moment where it looks like something happens to John right after one of the girls gets impaled with a pick-axe. He looks like he’s stunned by something painful and then limps through what’s left of his screen time. Whether that is censored or just an editing kerfuffle, I can’t say.
The really bad news is that the Japanese tape looks like crap. Even after I adjusted the colors and contrast with my video processor it’s still just a muddy as hell transfer and the tape is old so it’s really grainy and has lots of drop-outs at the end, resulting in a lot of scenes where it’s difficult to see what’s going on.
|The man, the myth, the legend,|
back when making a cheap movie still took a helluva lot of effort.
If anyone has any other info on this or any of Mats Helge films, or hell, if you have his e-mail address, drop me a line and let me know.
Easy Action reformed last year and their website has a funny as hell band's-eye-view of making BLOOD TRACKS as written by one of the band memebers.
Thanks to the super-Swede, NinjaDixon, for uploading a super-rare clip of the uncut girl-split-in-two scene!