I Drink Your Blood (1970)

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I hit the jackpot with I Drink Your Blood.  I think it was also called Satan’s Gang in Germany.  What’s with me watching all these X rated movies lately?  This one has some nudity, but it mainly received an X because of its violence.  Either way, David E. Durston’s film is a masterpiece of bloody shocks and horror that actually delivers on all of its promises.

I Drink Your Blood perfectly fits the theme of this here very blog.  The group in this film were definitely savage hippies, not to mention Satan worshipers.  I also think Durston might have been influenced by the recent Manson killings, as were many directors who made films about psycho hippie cults.  However, Satanism is only a minor part of the plot.  The main plot concerns zombies!  Durston was most definitely riffing on Night of the Living Dead, but the zombies in I Drink Your Blood are infected with rabies, and three years later Romero did The Crazies, which is roughly about the same thing, so who’s really influencing who here?

But probably the most glaring observation that Durston pointed out in the entertaining DVD special feature is no characters drank any blood!  The title was made up by executive producer Barney Cohen in order to be shown as a double feature with I Eat Your Skin.  Also, the version I watched was the director’s cut; the movie had apparently been cut up and edited down for different markets, which is a curious thing considering it’s only 80 minutes long.

The ethnically diverse and politically correct group of creeps – lead by a Native American and consisting of an African American and an Asian woman along with a few typical white, long-haired weirdos – are “out for kicks.”  They set up their operation in a small, hick town that looks like it was left behind in the wholesome 50s, get naked, say a bunch of made up Satanic gibberish, spill some animal blood and drop a bunch of acid.  One of their members is the good guy who breaks from the group and one is the adorable Lynn Lowry who plays a deaf mute and “innocently” chops a woman’s hand off.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but the film turns “horror” when a mischievous boy serves rabies-infected meat pies to the hippies, who gobble it up and turn into blood crazed zombies.  In perhaps a slightly ironic twist, the infection spreads to the local hard-hats when they gang bang a hippie girl who is tripping on acid.  It should also be noted that these zombies aren’t hungry for flesh; they’re just crazy and like to kill.

When I Drink Your Blood gets going, it really gets going!  The non-horror scenes of the hippies tripping out and being weird – including hanging their buddy by the waste and slicing his feet up – are entertaining as it is, but then it all gets crazy violent with severed limbs, impalement, decapitations, rabid bites and axe to sword combat!  The blood looks real, which wasn’t typical at the time, as much blood from this era looked more like paint, the acting isn’t too hammy, the color of the film looks really lush and the musical score, although just a bunch of creepy, layered Moog tones, adds to the atmosphere.

This is one for the ages!  How is it not considered more of a classic?  On a completely unrelated note, I wrote this entire review while listening to A Saucerful of Secrets on me ol’ turntable!

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