Monday, 13 May 2013

MAY 13, 2013

095 QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966) Directed by Curtis Harrington **

Curtis Harrington is one of those directors whose films are rarely, if ever, totally successful. On the other hand they are usually bizarre enough to be interesting and enjoyable - especially if, like me, you enjoy trawling through the lower depths of exploitation cinema. You just have to look at some of Harrington's film titles to see where he is coming from - DEVIL DOG HOUND OF HELL, THE CAT CREATURE, WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO? , THE DEAD DON'T DIE, - well, you get the picture. Working almost obsessively within the horror genre (except for a period as an assistant to producer Jerry Wald) Harrington was a film fan of the kind that many of us can identify with and, personally, I find it hard to turn down the opportunity to catch up with one of his rarer films. QUEEN OF BLOOD came from the Corman stable - one of several films that were cobbled together by splicing together special effects from cheaply acquired Russian sci-fi films and newly filmed footage featuring American actor with the help of directors like Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Coppola and Harrington. The plot involves a group of astronauts who travel to mars to try and rescue survivors from a crashed alien spaceship. The lone survivor turns out to be a vegetable based life form in the shape of a woman who happens to be a vampire!  The cast is very interesting with b-movie stalwart John Saxon, Judi Merydith, Basil Rathbone slumming towards the end of his career and Dennis Hopper (who had starred in Harrington's first feature, NIGHT TIDE). The film's best performance comes from Florence Marly who gives a genuinely eerie turn as the vampire woman. For those of us who up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland there's a nice little cameo from Forry Ackerman.  Not a particularly good film but an interesting one and  worth seeing if you are a genre fan - particularly for Florence Marly.

Also viewed :

096 I MARRIED A WITCH (1942) Directed by Rene Clair ****
097 THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) Directed by Frank Tuttle ***
098 THE BLUE DAHLIA (1946) Directed by George Marshal ***
099 SWAMP WATER (1941) Directed by Jean Renoir ***


Cerpts said...

Ohhhhhhh the last time I saw QUEEN OF BLOOD I had a "1" as the first number in my age. It used to air frequently, I think, on either Dr. Shock or Creature Double Feature (or both) on UHF. I naturally had forgotten Forry Ackerman appeared in the film but I do recall at the time the film and Florence Marly receiving a lot of coverage in contemporary issues of FAMOUS MONSTERS so that's not surprising. Curtis Harrington was a friend of director James Whale and used to delight in relating anecdotes in interviews including the famous call Whale received in the middle of the night by a perturbed viewer of FRANKENSTEIN who told the director "Well, I can't sleep so I'll be damned if I let YOU sleep!" Didn't Harrington also direct GAMES with James Caan and Simone Signoret? I have that on an old store-bought VHS tape I haven't seen in years; I'll have to dig that one out.

Weaverman said...

GAMES is one of the Harrington films I've never managed to catch up with.
Marly's character must be the most easily disposed of vampire in film history.

Cerpts said...

Oi! Just dug my VHS of GAMES out of the vault and Florence Marly has a cameo appearance at the beginning.