Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Blood Suckers (1970)

Original title: Incense for the Damned

AKA: Freedom Seekers

Director: Robert Hartford-Davis

Writers: Julian More, Simon Raven

Composer: Robert Richards

Starring: Patrick Macnee, Peter Cushing, Alexander Davion, Johnny Sekka, Madeleine Hinde, Edward Woodward, William Mervyn, Patrick Mower, David Lodge, Imogen Hassall, John Barron

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Hideous witchcraft rituals cast their spell!

Plot: A group of friends search for a young English Oxford student who has disappeared whilst researching in Greece. They are shocked to find that, wherever he has been, certain unsolved murders have taken place. Not believing that their friend could be the perpetrator of such acts, they press on with their search, finding him under the spell of a beautiful Vampire, whose blood-sucking methods include the use of sado-masochism. Believing they have killed her, the group return home, unaware that their friend is now a Vampire.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? By the power of Satan's horned donger....NO!

This took me three attempts to get through all 80 minutes of it.  I can't blame it on the cast; they all do an admirable job.  The Greek location shooting was nice.  It does take a long while before our troupe discover what's been going on.  Once we're back in England (the final third of the picture) it drags.  We know something's up with Richard (the man Derek (Macnee) and pals are looking for) at this point but we're not sure what. His big speech at the university is great and from that point on it picks up quite a bit with the chase.  One of the problems is tha it's at night and the print is dark, not allowing us to see much except shadows.  Otherwise the print is OK for fullscreen.  Wide would have been preferable, of course.

It's clear that Macnee (above left) was brought in to sex things up for the kiddies.  There's a blood orgy and more nudity in this picture than you'd expect (which helps) but ultimately it's routinely dull.  It'd probably take another viewing with toothpicks keeping my eyelids open to find out the precise reason but it's not worth revisiting.  I'm probably being more generous than the film deserves but then it's got Macnee, Cushing and Woodward which, alone, make the compelling case that if you're fans of these cats, you're gonna want to see this regardless of what anyone says.  It's the first half of a Something Weird Video double feature DVD with BLOOD THIRST (1971) along with two fistfuls of trailers, shorts and intermission goodies.  Even if the other movie sucks these SWV DVDs are welcome on my shelf just for the extras.

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