MAY 19 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : I DRINK YOUR BLOOD
WRITTEN BY STOMPTOKYO.COM
My, what an unpleasant little movie.
I Drink Your Blood was half of a double bill of "2 Great Blood Horrors to Rip Out Your Guts!"released on an unsuspecting drive-in public in 1971 by the aptly-named Jerry Gross Organization. The other Great Blood Horror was, of course, I Eat Your Skin. Seeing these two titles juxtaposed in a newspaper ad were revelatory to my 13 year old mind; What a great idea, I thought.
Well, come on, I was 13. What was the filmmakers' excuse?
We open on the nightly ritual of your typical hippie devil-worshipping cult (credo: "Satan was an acidhead."), as they stand around naked, preparing to sprinkle fresh chicken blood over a similarly naked woman (and as the stalwarts at StompTokyo have pointed out, nudity in the very first scene of a movie is a sure sign of trouble ahead). A "local girl" observes, transfixed, a mere two or three feet away, and somehow remains undetected, until the Pregnant Hippie Chick spots her. Local Girl is then chased down by nude devil worshippers - one of the very few effective sequences in the movie, and far too short to be of any use.
We will note that once again Dr. Freex is using cutesy labels like Pregnant Hippie Chick and Local Girl for the dramatis personae - I Drink Your Blood does not provide a cast list, and the general tenor/quality of the film is not such that it would inspire caring much about such niceties as names, except in cases where the name is repeated over and over again until it is bludgeoned into your cerebellum. Let us carry on.
The next day the cult's van breaks down, and to show their youthful joie de vivre, they shove it into a ravine with one of their members still inside, asleep. Ah, what fun-loving hippie devil worshipper hi-jinx! They then find themselves on the outskirts of Pottersville, with a sign that states "Population 40,000"... with the 40,000 crossed out and "40" scrawled beside. Seems the town is practically deserted due to a nearby dam being built. The cult's leader, Horace (snicker) decides this is a perfect spot to stay awhile.
Except that this is where the "local girl" came from, and only this morning she staggered into town, beaten up and dosed to the gills on LSD. Nobody seems to make a connection between her condition and the arrival of the cult - who alternately explain themselves as either a rock group or a theatrical group. But then, of the supposed 40, we see only Local Girl, her annoying younger brother Pete, their Grandpa (the local veternarian), and the woman who still operates the town bakery at the behest of the men building the dam. I think her name is Sylvia, and we will call her that, as during the course of the movie we will constantly hope that she will try to make a statement like Sylvia Plath and kill herself, but to no avail.
The cult takes up residence in an abandoned hotel, beginning their stay with an orgy of rat-hunting, leading to one of the more memorable images: the cult's Token Black Dude (TBD) standing on a fire escape, holding aloft a bunch of dead rats and shouting, "Hey man! Look at my rats!" Local Girl comes out of her acid coma and tells Gramps what happened. Gramps wanders over to the hotel, shotgun in hand, and commits the error so many people have in films of this caliber: although holding a full-choke shotgun, he gets nose-to-nose with Horace, and promptly gets the stuffing kicked out of him, and (of course) dosed with LSD.
Pete does not take too kindly to this, and uses Gramps' vet equipment to drain the blood from a rabid dog and inject the blood into the meat pies the cult eats the next day. Well, it was a long strange trip, but we finally have the setup for our little horror movie. Rabies apparently only takes a couple of hours to set in, and (an offscreen voice informs us) fills you with a craving for raw flesh. So a slew of bloodthirsty, insane hippies are roaming the land with various utensils of destruction.
According to Mike Weldon, I Drink Your Blood was cut extensively to get an R rating, and some pretty ham-fisted editing it was, too, as things get rather incoherent from here on out. Somehow, some construction workers at the dam get infected, too, effectively tripling the number of rabid loonies with axes walking the streets. From what's left of the sequence, it could be assumed that the workers found the rabid Sexpot Hippie in the woods and had their way with her (hmmm... seem to recall a similar sequence in Cronenberg's Rabid.....) and now are paying the price. Or maybe we should follow the film's logic and assume they just magically caught it.
No, no, something is missing, because Local Girl and Pete are, for some reason, running away through the woods with Hick, the only cultist with a shred of decency. They come upon the Pregnant Hippie Chick and tell her she has rabies. In the film's most (well, only) disturbing moment, she kills herself and her unborn child by pounding a wooden stake through her own belly (she's also the best actress in this mess. Pity.). It was very discomfiting finding a genuinely horrifying moment in an otherwise dishwater-weak movie.
Local Girl, Hick and Pete also run into the TBD with an axe. The TBD, however, is stopped cold by the fact that they're standing in a stream - ah! of course! HYDROphobia! The rabid guys are afraid of water!
So of course our nominal heroes run back into town, as far away from the stream as humanly possible.
Sylvia has boarded herself into the bakery, Night of the Living Dead style, and through sheer cowardice, allows Hick to be killed. She opens the door, too little, too late, as the rabid zombies pile in, destroying the bakery (and revealing that the back wall was only a thin piece of paneling. Oops.). In an all-too-rare clever touch, Sylvia keeps the rabids at bay with a common garden hose, while everybody piles into her car...which, because this is a crap film, will not start. Luckily, the state police arrive and shoot everything that has a foaming mouth. Sorta makes you wonder what the authorities would do in such a situation in the Real World.
Dr. Oakes, who has the thankless task of being the only intelligent person at hand, opines, "At least the poor bastards are out of their misery. Death from hydrophobia is an agony." What an uplifting final line! Such closure! As the credits roll, we see Pete walking in a field. This is a mistake, as this allows us time to realize that all this carnage, bloodshed, and misery (especially our misery) is due to Pete, so we wait and hope to see him run into the Mute Rabid Hippie Zombie (whose fate remains unexplained), another mad dog, or, at the very least, to be struck by lightning. No such luck. The little dickweed gets away with it.
Adding to the lamentable quality of the film are the many unanswered questions, like, Where's the dam? Why is an older Asian woman, complete with Suzy Wong outfit, traveling with the cult? What the hell accent is Horace trying to pull off? Why don't people just follow the stream to the next bastion of civilization? As far as that goes, why the hell doesn't someone just pick up the phone and call the cops? Another nail in the cinematic coffin is the reprehensible mondo easy gross-out: all those dead animals - the chicken, the rats, the goat carcass the zombies are carrying around at the end - are real.
I Drink Your Blood, due to the cutting, eliminates the only possible reason for watching such a flick: violence, and lots of it. Oh, there's plenty of gore thrown around, but we're denied the money shots. We always see the aftermath of the violence, never the occurance, and we can be sure they were there - so bad are the edits, that the soundtrack skips like a CD fished out of the mud.
Under such circumstances, there are really only two reasons to watch this movie - either you know somebody in it, or you're a very big fan of badly-done chopped-off heads and hands.