“Invasion of the Blood Farmers” is “a classic drive-in epic of the trashiest proportions”

By on February 16, 2018

Invasion of the Blood Farmers is a grade-Z schlockfest about a group of modern-day druids who kidnap and kill young women in upstate New York, harvesting their victims’ bodies in hopes of finding one with a rare blood-type so they can keep their queen alive. Watch it tonight, if you dare, on Night Flight Plus.


This relatively short feature (just 77-minutes long) was lensed by first-time director Ed Adlum over two weekends in Yorktown Heights, a sleepy little hamlet in Westchester County, NY, where Adlum lived at the time, filming many scenes inside his own house.

Adlum — who co-wrote the screenplay with Ed Kelleher — produced Invasion on an extremely limited budget of just $24,000 (using up eight and a half bottles of stage blood in the process).

He once called his own film “a monument to ineptitude,” while DVD Drive-In claims it’s “a classic drive-in epic of the trashiest proportions.”


The plot follows a cult of redneck rural farmers — looking like extras from TV’s “Hee Haw” in their overalls and straw hats — who claim to be descendants of an ancient druid clan, the Sangroids.

Led by their black-robed, medallion-wearing leader Creton (Paul Craig Jennings), these farmer druids start kidnapping and killing young women, harvesting their bodies for blood in order to revive their queen (Cynthia Fleming), who they keep interred in a glass coffin.


The druids finally find a pretty blonde named Jenny Anderson (Tanna Hunter), the daughter of scientist Roy Anderson (Norman Kelley), whose rare blood type turns out to be just what they’re looking for.

Before they can complete their ritual, though, they have to fight off her fiancé — Anderson’s loyal pathology student Don Tucker (Bruce Detrick) — who valiantly comes to his betrothed’s rescue.


According to Adlum, the actors worked for a six-pack of Budweiser beer in lieu of being paid, although we’ve read opera singer Allan Charlet agreed to act in the movie for $25.

Most of the actors — who were reportedly theater students — had little actual film acting experience, save for Norman Kelley, who plays the scientist dad Roy Anderson.

Adlum’s next door neighbor Frank Iovieno plays the county sheriff.


Richard “Dick” Erickson (Kinski) and Richard Kennedy (Sontag) reportedly had such difficulty remembering their lines that they ended up having to read off cue cards.

Among the crew, only assistant cameraman Frederick Elmes would go on to work in the movie biz, becoming an award-winning cinematographer (he’s lensed tons of Night Flight’s favorites, including Eraserhead, Valley Girl, River’s Edge, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and dozens more).

Invasion received limited theatrical distribution in the U.S. but aired on late-night cable TV and was later issued on a few bootleg VHS and DVD labels.

The film wasn’t screened in the United Kingdom, but nevertheless in the 1980s became one of the “video nasties” titles listed under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959, meaning VHS tapes were destroyed after distributors or merchants forfeited them.


Read more about Invasion of the Blood Farmers below.


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Adlum — born in the Bronx, NY, in 1944 — was originally a reporter for the U.S. Army’s Stars and Stripes military newspaper while he stationed in Germany.

He later wrote for music magazines, including Creem, before becoming an editor for the weekly industry mag Cashbox.


His debut in the world of low-budget cinema came as a co-producer of Blonde on a Bum Trip, a “groovy hippie soft-core exploitation picture.”

Invasion of the Blood Farmers, Adlum’s first and only film as a director, was originally supposed to feature outer space aliens from a planet Hyanus.

It was also supposed to star Adlum’s friend, a struggling actor named Ralphie Mauro, but he ended up not being in Adlum’s movie at all.


Adlum himself makes a cameo appearance, as the newly-wed Milton Greenman, who opts to take a shower before having sex with his new bride (played by Lucy Grant).

Adlum also provides the voiceover narration we hear over the film’s first scene, talking about Stonehenge, druids and something about mistletoe being the kiss of death.


Adlum also had an uncredited cameo appearance in 1974’s Shriek of the Mutilated, which was directed by the editor on this film, exploitation legend Michael Findlay.

Both Adlum and co-writer Ed Kelleher returned the favor of Findlay’s help on Invasion by collaborating on Findlay’s film as producers and co-writers.


Ed Kelleher, like Adlum, was a native New Yorker, and also graduated from New York’s Fordham University (where Adlum had studied journalism), as well as being stationed in Germany, where he, too, worked on Stars and Stripes.

He also became a rock critic, writing a column on drive-in movies for Creem (under the pen-name “Edouard Dauphin”) and he wrote for Billboard and Cashbox.

Kelleher also worked in the publicity department at CBS Records, and from 1979 to 1986, before becoming the publicist for the singer-songwriter Melanie (with whom he wrote two plays, Space Cadets and Ace of Diamonds).


Kelleher also appears in Invasion as Tex, the drifter with the leather cowboy hat.

He ended up venturing back in the world of cinema as a film critic for a time, and became the associate editor of New York’s Film Journal International (1986-2002).

Kelleher also wrote a few horror novels and several offbeat low-budget screenplays.


Kelleher died on May 14, 2005, of a degenerative brain disorder. He was 61.

Adlum — who relocated from New York to California in 1974 — started his own music industry trade magazine, Replay, which is still in publication today.

Watch Invasion of the Blood Farmers on Night Flight Plus.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.