Saturday, October 24, 2015

I Drink Your Blood (1970)

          A gonzo gorefest that occasionally achieves mesmerizing levels of awfulness, and yet also generates a mild, slow-burning sort of tension despite its best efforts to operate solely on the level of over-the-top shock value, I Drink Your Blood seems to bear a heavy influence of George Romero’s horror classic Night of the Living Dead (1968). Like that picture, I Drink Your Blood is a low-budget exploitation flick about a plague spreading across the boonies, turning everyday people into monsters. Unlike that picture, I Drink Your Blood is campy and ridiculous, thanks to amateurish direction, inept acting, and rotten dialogue. Also dragging the picture down into the muck is an overreliance on bloodshed and dismemberment, all rendered in full color for the “enjoyment” of the audience. I Drink Your Blood is tacky in the extreme. It is also, however, mildly amusing, though probably not in the manner the filmmakers intended.
          The picture opens with a small group of cultists performing a ritual in the woods at night. Most of the cultists are naked, except for a zaftig young woman who wears a patterned muumuu, and the leader of the cult is Horace Bones (played by one-named Indian actor Bhaskar). Intense and muscular, Horace wears long hair and a headband, making him look as if he hails from the Dakotas instead of Madras, and he spews his lines through a thick accent. “Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid-head—drink from his cup, pledge yourselves, and together we’ll all freak out.” Sadly, the whole movie can’t maintain that level of counterculture excess. The die for the picture is truly cast when two of the cultists break from the ceremony to chase and rape a young woman whom the cultists catch spying on them; immediately afterward, another cultist explains that the young woman was an invited guest, and Horace throws a hissy fit. Does any of this make sense? Of course not.
          And so it goes throughout  I Drink Your Blood. The cultists drive along a country road in their panel van until engine trouble stops them, and then for kicks, they push the van over a cliff into a ravine, even though one member of the cult remains inside the van, napping. Those crazy kids. Later, the cultists invade a small town, claiming an abandoned house as their temporary residence, even though it’s filled with rats. Cue a cheerful “rat hunt” montage, which concludes with a queeny cultist presenting a sword on which he’s skewered several rats so he can cook a shish kabob at that evening’s barbecue.
          But wait, it gets weirder.
          One of the businesses in the small town is Mildred’s Bakery, which specializes in meat pies. Naturally, Mildred (Elizabeth Marner-Brooks) is a hot twentysomething. Mildred’s little brother, Pete (Riley Mills), goes out into the woods one night, shoots a rabid dog, returns to the scene later with a giant syringe so he can extract the dog’s blood, and then injects the tainted plasma into meat pies that Mildred sells to the cultists. Faster than you can say “rabid cultists,” the mischievous hippies become foaming-at-the-mouth cannibals. At its apex, I Drink Your Blood depicts the spread of rabies extending to other people in the area, prompting the strange image of several hard-hat-wearing construction workers chasing after victims while wielding machetes. (Machetes?) I Drink Your Blood is gloriously dumb, and the filmmakers’ desperate attempts to violate good taste are so feeble as to almost seem endearing.

I Drink Your Blood: FREAKY

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