Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blood (1974)

Directed by:
Andy Milligan

"A traditional Gothic Horror makes this film unsuitable for children and some scenes may be disturbing to some members of the public." Whaa? Oh it's you again Iver Film Services, the same people who called the Indian "Laughing Cow" on the back of your Shriek of the Mutilated VHS box. I should have known. In 1872, scientist Dr. Lawrence Orlofsky (Allan Berendt) returns to America from an extended stay in Budapest and fronts three months rent on a new home before telling the landlord to bugger off and leave him alone. His bitchy, pampered, vain wife Regina (Hope Stansbury) has an issue with her skin pigment and must be kept out of the sun at all costs. Maid Carrie (Patricia Gaul), who is loyal to the husband but hated by the wife (and vice versa), has a withered leg and hobbles up and down the staircase in a huge Victoria gown. Carrie's husband Orlando (Michael Fischetti) actually has no legs. And having it even worse than everyone else is Carlotta (Pichulina Hampi), an orphan the family adopted as a child who's now an anemic, jittery, clumsy and retarded old hag because she has spent her entire life as a blood pump. Lawrence conducts experiments on fast-growing, man-eating killer plants in his basement lab. After finding out he's been swindled by local banker Carl Root (John Wallowitch), he plots revenge and then begins an affair with Root's lovely young secretary Prudence Towers (Pamela Adams).

Regina is upset that hubby doesn't want to make love to her anymore and starts killing people with a meat cleaver and drinking their blood because she's actually (gasp!) a vampire. One of her first victims is Carrie's sailor brother Johnny (David Bevans), who stops by long enough to reveal an incestuous secret and get a meat cleaver stuck in his head. Regina also kills an old woman by chopping off her hand, goes after Prudence when she learns of the affair and (when she gets really desperate) chops a real mouse in half and eats it head! Meanwhile, Lawrence is revealed to be (gasp!) a werewolf. His transformations during the full moon can be halted with an injection of a special serum he has created. His wife also needs weekly injections of a formula or else she'll die. No wonder the two of them don't get along!

With its deranged plot, bizarre characters, non-stop overwrought dramatics and technical ineptitude on display in nearly every single out-of-focus shot, this is bargain cinema at its most entertaining and endearing. Truly terrible in nearly every way, from the woefully unconvincing period detail, costumes (designed by the director) and sets to the awful editing and sound-recordings to the cheap grease paint fright makeups and mannequin gore fx. The actors - unpolished as some may be - are actually better than usual, but how budget restraints force them to speed-read through their long, bitter dialogue passages is hysterically funny. Milligan fans are going to love every minute of this. His recurring obsessions; warped, dysfunctional families, some kind of money or inheritance issue, European monsters, etc., are all on full display here,

It runs just 60 minutes and, at just 20,000 dollars, is Milligan's highest-budgeted feature! Some reference books list the film as being made in 1971, but I'm not so sure about that.



CavedogRob said...

Yikes! This is weird. Just just got a copy of Mulligan's early "classic" The Ghastly Ones!

Anonymous said...

Download Blood here

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