Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: I Drink Your Blood (1970)

I remember finding a shitty-looking black and white photocopied looking clamshell VHS box of I Drink Your Blood (1970) on the shelf of my favourite video store many years ago. I had never heard of the movie, which made it interesting, and the shitty-looking box somehow made me all the more curious about it. It looked like the owners of the video store had made the box themselves – and probably the movie, too. It just looked like an ordinary blank VHS tape with a sticker slapped on it. The sticker just had the title of the move on it – not a fancy designed looking version of it, but simple looking text probably done on a typewriter.

Black and white add for I Drink Your Blood (1970)I figured that I Drink Your Blood (1970) must be some kind of special movie for somebody to have gone to all this trouble. Maybe it was so extreme that no official company would release it. I immediately took it up to the front to rent it

The guy behind the counter looked at it and said, “I’m not sure if this version is uncut or not. Let me know.”

“Okay, ” I said – but had no idea how to even tell if the movie was uncut of not. I had never seen it before. I’d never read about. I didn’t know what was supposed to be in it. How could I tell if something was missing?

I suppose if it had been really obvious, like someone is in the middle of saying something: “Alright man, I’m gonna take this axe and -” – when suddenly there’s an ugly looking cut in the film, and then we’re watching some dude’s horrified looking face as he says ” Whoa, man, why’d you go and do that?! You didn’t have to chop him thirty-seven times!”

Maybe then I would have thought that something had been cut out of the movie. As it was, I just didn’t know. I enjoyed the  movie, however.

A few years later, a friend invited to a bad movie night with some of his other friends. He asked me to bring some crazy movies. So I went to an independent store that had a lot of crazy movies in it. I mean rare bootleg tapes with cheapass photocopied covers, a lot like the one that I had rented years ago. And lo and behold, they had a copy of I Drink Your Blood. This box stated very clearly “Uncut Version – Never Before Seen!” So I rented it, along with a copy of other crazy looking movies, and took them to the all-night-movie-watching event.

Unfortunately, those guys already had so many movies that they wanted to watch, that they never even considered looking at anything that I brought with me. And I had to return the tapes the next day, so I didn’t even get a chance to watch them on my own. I had wasted my money that day, and the store went out of business shortly after that. I never did see the uncut version of I Drink Your Blood.

Now, thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, I own the super-deluxe Blu-ray of I Drink Your Blood, and it contains two different cuts of the movie; the uncut X-rated version, and the director’s cut. The director’s cut is actually a longer version of the movie – but not because there’s more gore and violence. It contains more story. Honestly, I’m not sure which version of the movie is better, so I am thrilled to have them both in my collection.

I Drink Your Blood was one of the first films to be heavily influenced by Night of the Living Dead (1968). Instead of zombies, I Drink Your Blood features people infected with rabies. The effect is similar, but almost more like the fast moving zombies of the distant future (such as in Dawn of the Dead (2004)). 

The villains in I Drink Your Blood, and the first ones to become rabid maniacs, are a group of satanic hippies. This might sound like a ridiculous and campy idea (satanic hippies?!) but at the time the movie was made, some people were actually afraid of hippies. Their music, their fashions, their use of drugs, their rejection of normal society – this all seemed strange and dangerous to “respectable” people. They just didn’t understand hippies, so it wasn’t a big leap to imagine that hippies might worship Satan, or be part of a cult.

And let’s not forget that Charles Manson and his murderous crew were basically hippies gone wrong. And they had just committed their crimes the year before I Drink Your Blood was released. Hippies were definitely ripe for exploitation by the horror genre at that moment.

I Drink Your Blood features Lynn Lowry in one of her earliest film roles. She may have made Lloyd Kaufman’s The Battle of Love’s Return first, but it came out after, so I’m not sure. In any case, she was pretty much unknown when she made I Drink Your Blood. Her part was small, and her character was basically mute, but she really stands out from the rest of the cast. That’s not to suggest that the other actors are bad. I actually think that many of them are quite good, but Lynn Lowry somehow makes the strongest impression. She has a lot of screen presence, and manages to draw focus in every scene that she is in. It’s no surprise that she would go on to legendary cult status, thanks to films like The Crazies (1973), Score (1973) Shivers (1975), Cat People (1982) – and this one, of course.

Lynn Lowry dropped out of film and TV acting for about ten years in the mid 1990s, but since 2005 she has appeared in more than a hundred movies – many of them independent horror and other other genre films. Here’s hoping she makes another hundred.

I Drink Your Blood (1970) is legendary #NotQuiteClassicCinema that every fan should see at least once. I’ve already seen it three or four times, and I will look forward to many more. It will always be a welcome sight on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Cult (2007)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD cover art for Cult (2007)Cult (2007) by #JoeKnee

w/ #TarynManning #RachelMiner

While researching a local cult, four college students uncover the existence of a supernatural power that may take their lives…and their souls.

“Once You’re In, There’s No Getting Out!”

#Horror

#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

I picked up a DVD of Cult (2007) in a bargain bin somewhere, and I must have watched it, but… coming across it on my shelf, I had no memory of it whatsoever. So, even though it’s a little more recent than a lot of the movies I choose for this honour, I decided to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

I could try to describe the plot, but that would only give me a headache. Basically, a bunch of students decide to do a project about a weird cult that had a big murder suicide incident a few years back in their home town. Their professor seems a bit concerned about this, and says “Let me know if you find anything like…”

“Like what?” the head girl, Mindy, says.

“Just let me know if you find anything.”

Well, what are the odds that this project is going to unearth some weird secrets, perhaps having to do with this very student, Mindy’s past? And what are the odds that this attractive female professor is going to turn out to be seeing Mindy’s father – and therefore have inside information about this student’s past? And why is this student so determined to keep digging into this cult, even after one of her friends, and fellow students,  is mysteriously murdered in the shower (one of the faint highlights of this movie, by the way) -and that her death was seemingly somehow predicted by a book that this Mindy is reading?

Confused? I know I am. And I watched the movie (twice, apparently).

So what’s the verdict?

Cult (2007) is Trash. There was no terror, in my opinion. Perhaps somebody, somewhere would have found this movie scary or suspenseful, but not me. There is a bit of gore. Several of the female cult members (and maybe people who are possessed by cult members? Or maybe just controlled by the cult leader?) stab themselves in the eyes as a tribute to Kwan Yin, who was blinded and murdered by her father many years ago in China (or something like that).

Cult seems like a movie with trashy sleaze potential, especially when a bunch of female cult members, wearing some kind of funky white lingerie, gather around to performa a ritual of some sort, but sadly, it’s all just foreplay for eye-stabbing. And if you stare at this movie long enough, you might just be tempted to join in.