Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Blood Beast Terror (1968)

Director: Vernon Sewell

Writer: Peter Bryan

Composer: Paul Ferris

Starring: Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng, Wanda Ventham, Vanessa Howard, David Griffin, Glynn Edwards, William Wilde, Keven Stoney, John Paul

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Blood Lust of a FRENZIED VAMPIRE!

Plot: A scientist, working with genetics, creates a creature that is capable of transforming back and forth between a giant Death Head moth and a beautiful woman. The creature masquerades as his daughter when she is in her human incarnation and feeds on the blood of her victims when she is in the moth form.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

A giant moth as the monster in a pseudo-Hammer horror?  Sign me up.  Oh, wait, don't.  It's not nearly as much fun as it seems like it 'could' be. The acting, led by the amazing Peter Cushing is great as you'd expect with a British cast in the 60s.  The Gothic setting, clothes, locations et al do a great job of setting the look and tone of the picture.  What hurts it in a big way is the pacing.  They really try to make it seem like there's a lot in the span of about 90 minutes but I'm certain a second viewing will uncover several moments and perhaps entire scenes that could be trimmed or excised altogether.  It's not a bad film but it's shy enough from being a good one that it almost begs you to watch and compare it to most any of the Gothic Hammer horror pictures of the era.  It was made by Tigon British Film Productions, their first, who would go on to make the excellent WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) and outstanding THE BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW (1971), among others.  It's on Netflix streaming at the moment and it's one of the sadly few 60s horror movies they have.  Is it worth watching?  For Peter Cushing fans it's a no-brainer (rumor has it he's said it's his worst picture on several occasions).  There is a neat Burke & Hare-esque stage play in the film that would be neat to have seen back then (as in the 1800s).  It takes up an extraordinary amount of running time and it barely adds anything to the story but it's also one of the most entertaining parts of it. 

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