Sunday, October 28, 2012

172. THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR (1968)


Robert Flemyng, erstwhile star of Riccardo Freda's THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1962), returned to the horror genre and his home turf in this wobbly Tigon British film production, balancing the scales against an uncomfortable-looking Peter Cushing, cast against type as a snippy police detective. Kim Newman has cleverly noticed that the plot of this Vernon Sewell-directed film mirrors that of an earlier, superior Hammer film, John Gilling's THE REPTILE (1965) -- both are about men who return to rural England from exotic locales in the company of alluring young women with deadly transformative powers. In this case, Flemyng is a Victorian geneticist who uses a rare form of deathshead moth to generate a vampiric human mutation (Wanda Ventham) he introduces as his daughter. The script is by Peter Bryan, who in fact scripted THE REPTILE's companion feature, Gilling's THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES (1965); as told, the story is both confused and confusing, which, combined with some appallingly shoddy flying effects for the moth girl, make this arguably the worst British horror film of the 1960s. (Most of that argument comes from THE PROJECTED MAN, another film Bryan wrote around this time. Did this guy really write THE BRIDES OF DRACULA?) That said, Redemption's recent DVD and Blu-ray submit the picture to a glorious restoration and sometimes it's enough to bask for 90 minutes in a different time and place in good, if slumming, company. Originally given theatrical release here in the US as THE VAMPIRE BEAST CRAVES BLOOD.

Viewed via Redemption Blu-ray

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