“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1970 / Director: David E. Durston / Actors: Bhasker, Iris Brooks ... / DVD released 31 October, 2006 at Grindhouse / Features of the DVD: Colour, Director's Cut, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC „
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Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury as Horace
Jadine Wong as Sue-Lin
Rhonda Fultz as Molly
George Patterson as Rollo
Rabies-Infected Satanic LSD-Crazed Hippies! Best horror movie concept ever, or what? This cheapo 1970 horror movie is one of the most side-splittingly funny things I've seen in a long while. I think it was supposed to be serious, though. I mean, LSD-crazed hippie Satanists descending upon a small quiet country town in the middle of nowhere and terrorising innocent locals sounds pretty serious to me.
It was produced by a guy called Jerry Gross, an apt surname considering much of the goings-on.
We start out with dramatic footage of the above-mentioned hippies conducting a Satanic ritual around a bonfire in the nude, late at night in the woods. Their long-haired weirdo charismatic leader, one Horace Bones (I kid you not) gives a rousing pep talk to his followers: 'Let it be known to all the spirits that I, Horace Bones, was born into Hell! I am the first-born son of Satan!' His nekked followers gaze on him adoringly, and he pours some liquid substance into a large goblet. 'Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid-head,' he declares smilingly. 'Drink from his cup. Pledge yourselves. And together, we'll all freak out!' Everyone has a sip, and then they proceed to kill a chicken and pour the blood over a nude middle-aged Chinese lady member of the congregation.
However, another member suddenly spots a frightened teenaged girl hiding behind a nearby tree, who has been watching the shenanigans. 'Who is that girl? Stop her!' cries Horace, brandishing the dead chicken. Two naked male hippies go off in pursuit, chasing the girl through the woods, while another tells Horace 'She's OK, she's just a local girl.' 'Local girl, MY ASS!' Horace shouts angrily. The two nude hippies catch up with the girl and have their way with her. She stumbles home afterwards and collapses in the main road of the tiny (population 40) country town.
We next cut back and forth between scenes of the hippies enjoying themselves the next morning, cavorting about and playing pranks on each other and having a merry old time (mercifully now with their clothes back on), while the abused girl, in a state of shock and unable to speak, is taken home by her little brother Pete and attended by her family. When she recovers and is able to explain what happened, her Granddad tries to confront the hippies but they beat him up and force him to take LSD.
Little brother Pete decides to get revenge for his sister and grandfather. It just happens that he helps out at the local pie shop, which the hippies have taken to frequenting for their lunch. There's a rabid dog in town and Pete decides to shoot it, take some of its blood and lace the hippies' pies with the rabid blood. Well, you can probably just imagine how all that might pan out.
I didn't expect to enjoy this movie at all, never mind as much as I did - from the plot summaries I'd read, it sounded like a pile of crud and really stupid, and, well, it is. But, it is one of the most enjoyable stupid pile-of-crud movies I've seen. During the first few scenes, I thought 'Ho-hum...' but as it went along, it picked up and turned into really compulsive viewing. The acting and the story, as awful and hokey as they both are, actually do keep you watching and the whole thing is quite fun. I really liked it.
Be warned that it's pretty gross, though, what with people getting maimed in all sorts of horrible and graphic ways, limbs being chopped off and so on. One of my fave gross scenes is when the hippies move into an old abandoned rat-infested house and have boisterous fun running through the house gleefully shooting rats while giggling inanely, then put loads of them on long skewers and barbeque them for dinner. Nice.
The characters are actually well-drawn and are played nicely by a random collection of actors and actresses I'd never seen before or since. None of them came across as professional actors, and I think that gave the movie a bit of charm - much like 'Night of the Living Dead' where the actors were mainly made up of friends and neighbours of the filmmaker - so the characters seemed more like real small-town folks and real crazed hippies than polished actors.
I particularly liked 'Horace Bones' - he came across as an authentic deranged Charles Manson type and was quite convincing and gave a wonderfully hammy performance. (Funnily enough, the actor who portrayed him was actually a serious dancer and painter in real life - this was one of only a very few film roles.) 'Rollo', another of the hippies, is hilarious after he becomes infected with rabies and turns into a totally demented axe murderer - his permanently goofy bug-eyed and frothing-at-the-mouth facial expressions have to be seen and it looks like the actor had a lot of fun playing that character.
As you may expect, the direction, production and cinematography are all awful - it looks more like a home movie than a blockbuster. Actually the photography is not too terrible, but the crappy direction makes it look cheaper than it is. The soundtrack consists of tinny 60s-style music and bargain-basement sound effects. The special effects are fairly good for its day - cheap-looking but still pretty gory. I'm not as bloodthirsty as many horror movie fans and found some of the effects a bit yuck for my own liking, but true horror fans may find it rather tame compared to more graphic modern effects.
This is definitely not a movie for children - it's very violent and contains nudity and some simulated sex acts. The movie is rated either X (the original version) or R (a later edited version) in America but apparently it's still unrated in the UK, having been originally released in the UK in the early 1980s as a sort of 'video nasty' and roundly criticised by Mary Whitehouse at the time. I'm not sure whether my copy is the edited or unedited version, but I would guess it's the unedited one, as it's very graphic for both violence and sex/nudity.
Recommended as a late-night's fun viewing with friends (those with strong stomachs - keep the sick-bucket handy just in case!).
Also on Ciao as thereddragon.
A review of just the film. A region 1 DVD costs about £10 through amazon.
This is a classic 1970 grindhouse gore flick. In fact it's so gory that it was the first ever film to be X-rated in America purely because of the violence. I don't think the gore is particularly extreme by today's standards, but there are a lot of dead animals on display. Although we don't see them die onscreen, they're obviously freshly killed. This is unpleasant, but not untypical of old exploitation.
It's a sort of cross between Last House on the Left, Blood Feast and Night of the Living Dead. A very small Satanic hippy cult decides to hang out in a practically deserted town (a nearby construction project has driven away most of the inhabitants). They rape a girl and then force her grandfather to take LSD. In order to get revenge, the girl's young brother injects the hippies' meat pies with blood from a rabid dog (brilliant idea!). The hippies develop rabies, of course, which manifests itself by making them foam at the mouth and develop an insatiable thirst for human blood.
There isn't much here that you won't have seen elsewhere (unless this is the first horror film you've ever seen). But the film carries it off with more than enough panache to make it work. It's no classic - it's too cheap to have the hordes of rabid hippies and construction workers it needs to have the panicky intensity of Night of the Living Dead - but as part of a drive-in double bill it must have worked quite nicely. It's more interested in grossing us out than in scaring us, and although there are glimmers of suspense it's never really scary. And the 'good' characters are so bland that it's very difficult to have much concern for what happens to them, but that's OK. I'd suggest that watching a film called 'I Drink Your Blood' for the plot and characterisation would be a bit silly.
The embattled townsfolk aren't very good actors, as is fairly typical in these cheap, regional US horrors. Likewise, a couple of the incidental hippies are a bit wooden. But there are some exceptions. Lynn Lowry is very striking as a deaf-mute hippie (probably more down to her slightly creepy but profoundly sexy elfin look than her acting - she's also in David Cronenberg's Shivers, and is the only cast member I'd seen elsewhere). George Patterson overacts like a maniac as one the hippies, giving exactly the kind of performance the material needs. And Bhaskar, an Indian dancer (Indian as in Asia, not Native American), is fantastic as Horace Bones, the better-than-Manson cult leader. He has real screen presence and obviously relishes every stupid line and gory moment.
The film is only 80 minutes long, but even so, the first half hour is very padded, as it slowly sets things up. The initial satanic orgy scene is fun (the Manson Family inspired a lot of cheap exploitation films looking for some easy notoriety. This is probably the best 'killer hippy cult' film I've seen. It's certainly the best 'rabid hippies' film I've seen, but I've only seen two). But after the opening there's a lull, and things only perk up when the hippies start foaming at the mouth and chopping people up.
But once the violence starts it doesn't really stop until the film does. There's some limb lopping, and a decapitation that looks quite good for the budget. But considering its gory reputation, the film is surprisingly mild, certainly compared to other gore directors of the time, like Herschell Gordon Lewis. Unlike most gore films, this feels like the director actually cares a bit about the plot. There's a story to be told here, rather than just a string of gory episodes. Sadly the ending is a bit of a let-down - it was changed at the insistence of the producer. The DVD I have includes the rather more intense original ending.
It's obviously not meant to be taken all that seriously, but it's not a comedy horror in the way that, say, The Gore Gore Girls is. There's a tendency to assume that cheap old horror films are only there to be laughed at. I Drink Your Blood is a far cry from the witless 'hyuck hyuck his arm done come off' rubbish churned out by the likes of Troma in recent years. It's trying to freak out its audience by filling the screen with intense (for the time) gore scenes, while keeping enough of a twinkle in its eye that it feels more grown up than a lot of similar films. It's also quite conservative, in that the hippies are the bad guys right from the start (seemingly just for the fun of it), while our sympathies are meant to be with the honest, hard-working folk of the town. This is a surprising feature of a lot of exploitation, which was generally aimed at an audience of teens, and so could be expected to take the side of the kids. I guess it just goes to show that the counterculture in 60s America wasn't as universal as you'd think from watching old clip shows like The Rock n Roll Years.
The director, David Durston, obviously had some talent, and it's a pity he didn't make many more films. But that's so often the case with this kind of thing. It kind of looks forward to the nihilistic horrors of the 70s but visually is still a 60s film. The music is slightly ahead of its time, all minimalist electronic stabs (no doubt because that was a very cheap way of doing a soundtrack). The editing is weak, with the flow of the story being disrupted a couple of times (one or two scenes seem to be missing, and not everyone is accounted for at the end).
But there's enough strangeness in the way the hippies have been cast to make this interesting. It doesn't go the usual way that killer hippy cult films go - there's not a lot of nudity or sex (we don't see the rape at all), and nor do we get any lame trip sequences. It treats its rather bog-standard plot with more care than is usual, and ends up being a lot better than you'd expect. It's not a classic, but for the discerning fan of 70s horror it's well worth a look.
I Drink Your Blood
Actually wasn't sure at first if this was a comedy.
Basically about Hippy Zombies.
A group of Satanist set up home on the outskirts of a hick town. They rape a local girl in a satanic rite and her Granddad goes after them with his shot gun but they jump him and feed him led. He goes nuts. The girls' brother then decides to get even with them by being clever (you know it's going to backfire). He offers a truce but feed them pork pie filled with blood taken from a Rabid dog. Barmy I know.
They of course turn into crazy blood crazed zombies and go on a spectacular killing frenzy.
Unspectacular really because of the awful acting and the victims spraying blood everywhere. There are legs and arms being hacked off everywhere and I knew I was wasting my time hoping it would get any better.
The acting was bad, the dialog badly written and the whole plot was barmy. I really did laugh in parts.
The rape scene however is disturbing and offensive. Nothing new in this film just boring and dull, all been done before and done better.
Some extras on the DVD such as interviews with cast members etc. but by then I had lost interest completely
At an hour and a half long it's about 90 minutes too much!