Even though U.S. audience never saw this horror flick until 1971, calling Blood Thirst a ’70s movie is a bit of a stretch. Shot during the mid-’60s in the Philippines, the movie’s creaky pacing, storyline, and vibe are complemented by old-fashioned black-and-white photography. In almost every respect, the American/Filipino coproduction feels like a relic from the 1950s. Judged solely on visual aesthetics, Blood Thirst is enjoyable to watch: Shadowy imagery recalls the work that cinematographer Nick Musuraca did on various RKO movies from the 1930s to the 1950s, including several stylish shockers produced by Val Lewton. Examining any other element of Blood Thirst leads to trouble. The narrative makes very little sense, the fright scenes are ineffective, and even the actors who seem competent are stymied by producer-director Newt Arnold’s limp dramaturgy. The loopy story concerns American detective Adam Rourke (Robert Winston) traveling to the Philippines so he can help investigate a series of murders. Adam collaborates with local cop Miguel Ramos (played by Filipino-cinema stalwart Vic Diaz), and Adam becomes intrigued by blonde nightclub dancer Serena (Yvonne Nielson), even has he dallies with other women. (Considering that he was flown halfway across the globe to stop a serial killer, Adam seems quite easily distracted from his work.) Viewers learn that Serena is some sort of vampire, and that she enlists a misshapen monster to collect victims from which Serena drains the blood she needs to survive. Nearly everything about Blood Thirst feels awkward—for instance, half the dialogue sounds as if was re-recorded during postproduction. Yet the most bewildering aspect of Blood Thirst is the film’s polished look. Since Arnold and his team mastered one aspect of filmmaking, shouldn’t they have been able to achieve at least passable efforts in other aspects?
Blood Thirst: LAME