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.
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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 ***