Friday, 9 July 2010

Review: I Drink Your Blood [1970]

Cast: Bhaskar, Jadine Wong, Rhonda Fultz, George Patterson, Riley Mills, John Damon, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Richard Bowler, Tyde Kierny, Iris Brooks, Alex Mann, Bruno Damon, Mike Gentry, Arlene Farber, Lynn Lowry
Directed by: David Durston

I Drink Your Blood is what Grindhouse cinema was created to acheive. It is one of those films that does what it says on the tin, whilst subjecting 1970s post Charles Manson America to its own fetid paranoia of the satantic drug-riddled hippy cult.

Horace Bones' memorable opening quote sums the film up very nicely:

"Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head. Drink from his cup; pledge yourselves. And together, we'll all freak out."

Nude for satan

After raping and attacking a young girl, who was privy to their satantic woodland ritual, and who later flees, our travelling ensemble of hippy cultists decide to stop off in a small town, which is also home to said girl.

As they contine to wreak havoc within the close-knit community, their shenanigans begin to cause conflict with the locals. After some confrontational maimings, a young boy decides to take action (and revenge) by spiking certain pie products with rabies...

Revenge is a dish best served er... rabid! the hippies dig in they ultimately start to become infected.

A rabid appetite

Cue complete chaos, as the infected stalk and attack anybody who crossses their path. Infection is also spread to a group of locals, who accept the invitation of an easy lay with one of the infected hippy group, and pay dearly for a bit of free n easy hippy love. From the inception of infection
until the final showdown, I Drink Your Blood is non-stop, fast paced slaughter romp, which should play to the tastes of many a exploitation fan.

Shelley lends a hand...

Try not to lose your head...

For such a simple premise, the film is brilliantly assembled with murder and mayhem aplenty. But, what would appear to be wacky abandon, is actually cleverly crafted grindhouse gold, with some superb performances, the most note-worthy of which are from Bhaskar, who plays the cult leader Horace Bones, and the manic George Patterson as Rollo. Add to this face paced thrills and kills and you have all the makings of a classic.

Bones begins his frenzied hunt...

A rabid Rollo

I Drink Your Blood may appear to be a brainless gore-fest and a product of the 70s Grindhouse conveyor on the surface, but it certainly has hidden depths. A darkly tinged tale of consequence and despair lurk underneath its blood-drenched axe weilding exterior. A good case in point is the very bleak (and in my opinion preferred) alternative ending, which certainly punctuates the preceding events nicely.

One of my favourite films from the 1970s, I Drink Your Blood is a classic mix of exploitation, terror, and carnage but with a dry wit and solid performances to back up its slick style and execution.

My Rating: 9/10

Friday, 25 June 2010

Review: The Nights of Terror (Le notti del terrore) [1981]

Cast: Karin Well, Gian Luigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattioli, Antonietta Antinori, Roberta Caporali, Peter Bark, Claudio Zucchett, Anna Valente, Renato Barbier, Maria Angela Giordano
Director: Andrea Bianchi

Bianchi’s notorious zombie shocker often plays second fiddle to the likes of the Italian ‘big boys’ of the genre, with Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery stealing the hearts (and brains) of most horror fans. Add to this already impressive list the likes of Marino Girolami's Zombie Holocaust, Lenzi’s fun, radioactive zombie apocalypse vehicle Nightmare City, and even Mattei’s cheese-fest Zombie Creeping Flesh, and The Nights of Terror (also known as Burial Ground in the US) is oft forgotten, or relegated to B-Class status.

Filmed in 1981, riding on the wave of the post Dawn of the Dead zombie craze, and hopping straight onto the Fulci zombie band-wagon, The Nights of Terror is a real gem within this highly popular sub-genre of horror.

The Nights of Terror are unleashed, thanks to a professor who unseals a crypt, invoking an ancient Etruscan curse. As the dead begin to rise from their graves, and bizarrely the flower beds and grounds of a nearby country mansion, they shamble off into the night in search for human prey. It is in this mansion that a group of socialites are enjoying a weekend retreat, unaware of the zombie menace approaching.

"No, stop - I'm your friend!"

What results is an enjoyable to watch battle for survival amongst the ever dwindling party of guests versus the undead, which involves the usual bloody gut munching, head exploding, flight from terror. The zombies themselves are pretty adept, using tools and axes, and also teamwork in the form of a log battering ram to break through the door.

The Dead Arise!


Amongst the standard genre staples, you also get bear traps, the undead set aflame, zombie monks, and an impressive scythe decapitation, but it is amongst its characters where The Nights of Terror really stands out. Within the small group of guests we have Peter Bark (now a legend amongst Italian horror fans), who plays Michael, incestuous son to his nympho mother, who he idolises in a way that jealousy overcomes him every time he sees her with a man. This strange attachment leads to many bizarre scenes including sexual advancements by Michael on his mother, and one of the most shocking scenes of breast feeding ever to grace celluloid.

He is also the culprit for the best quote of the movie, with his: "Mummy, this cloth smells of death"

Incestuous Advances

Eaten Alive!

Kathleen Loses Her Head

The pace of The Nights of Terror is non-stop, and the mood, even though light-hearted or silly at times still resonates despair, as whilst the film is not to be taken seriously and is very tongue-in-cheek (even if this was not Bianchi’s intention), it is still a bleak tale of hopeless survival.

Zombie Monks

The End is Nigh...

Don’t let the low budget, terrible dialogue and poor dubbing fool you, The Nights of Terror is a fun, enjoyable, and most of all very decent film, which can easily hang with the ‘big boys’, and is a definite genre favourite of mine.

My Rating: 9/10

An Eye On Horror

Welcome to what will probably end up being a stale waste of my and your time, in the form of a filmatic cancer on e-space (i.e. a film related blog).

Reviews should hopefully start gracing these pages shortly...