Along with The Last House on the Left and I Spit On Your Grave, I Drink Your Blood is one of the more controversial exploitation movies of the 1970s. Its story of a Satanic hippie cult on a rabies-fueled rampage clearly took cues from the Manson Family murders. At the time of its release, the Motion Picture Association of America gave I Drink Your Blood an X-rating – not for its sexual content, but for its violence. That put the 1970 release among rare company at the time. In spite of its cast of amateur actors and cheap production values, it remains a shocking viewing experience. And it’s not nearly as bad a movie as one might expect. In fact, it may be ‘so bad, it’s good’.
When a a group of Satan-worshiping hippies descend upon a small, remote town, trouble quickly follows. Led by the enigmatic Horace Bones, the hippies set up shop in an abandoned hotel, harassing the locals. But when they assault a local girl and the town vet, a little boy takes revenge by feeding them meat pies laced with the blood of a rabies-infected dog. As the disease takes hold, the rabid hippies unleash a wave of terror on the townsfolk.
I Drink Your Blood Doesn’t Make Much Sense … And That’s Just Fine
If you’re not sure what someone means when they say a movie is a ‘Grindhouse picture’, just watch the opening minutes of I Drink Your Blood. That’s right, it’s all here. From the grainy picture quality to the choppy editing and eccentric film score, I Drink Your Blood is the epitome of Grindhouse filmmaking. Shock rocker Rob Zombie certainly liked the score enough to sample it. Writer and director David E Durston – by accident or design – fills the movie with idiosyncratic, headshaking moments including a random scene with a boa constrictor. Why someone would even think of spiking meat pie with rabies-infected blood is a stretch in and of itself. And Durston plays pretty fast and loose with the biology of rabies. That abrupt ending leaves you wondering is something got left on the editing room floor.
Writer and director David E. Durston – by accident or design – fills the movie with idiosyncratic, headshaking moments …
A whole lot of schlocky violence complements this eccentric storytelling. Expect severed heads that are clearly props, a scene of self-immolation, and an impaling with a sword. In addition, I Drink Your Blood throws in a couple of Satanic rituals – clothing optional – and a hilarious re-casting of hippies as death cultists. As easy as it is to poke fun at the movie’s cheapness and weird plotting, Durston paces things quite well and always keep it watchable like a car crash. In spite of its title, no actually drinks anyone’s blood.
I Drink Your Blood
For the most part, I Drink Your Blood is a cast of unknown amateur actors. Not surprisingly, SADOS (The Sons and Daughters of Satan) are the best part of the movie. In particular, Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, as ‘Horace Bones’, is every bit as charismatic and menacing as the role requires. Chowdhury’s performance is as close as the movie gets to legitimacy. Some of his fellow cultists – mostly Jadin Wong and George Patterson – bring a bit of flair to their roles. Everyone else in the movie betray their amateur roots. You’ll find plenty of flat, awkward dialogue delivery. There’s more wood here than a hardware store. But like the best ‘bad movies’, it all somehow comes together.
…there is something inherently scary about cults and the dangerous cult of personality of their leaders.
Arguably, the most disappointing part of I Drink Your Blood is its rabies storyline. First, there’s just something inherently scary about cults and the dangerous cult of personality of their leaders. And I Drink Your Blood’s close positioning to The Manson Family murders only further contributed to its exploitative vibe. Here, Horace Bones and his followers are the most interesting part of the movie outside of its violence. But once Durston renders Bones et al. as mindless, rabid zombies, I Drink Your Blood actually gets a lot less interesting. He saps the best characters of their personality. Even in a cheesy exploitation movie like this, Horace Bones had a bit of danger. Too bad the second half of the movie fills itself with hordes of the infected foaming at the mouth.
I Drink Your Blood is the Ultimate 70s Grindhouse Feature
This is exactly what you mean when you say a movie is ‘so bad, it’s good’. All Grindhouse, from start to finish, I Drink Your Blood is an endlessly watchable movie for diehard horror fans. Poor gore effects, wooden acting, completely illogical characters, choppy editing, and an abrupt ending all add to the movie’s charm. Technically, Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury gives the only ‘good’ performance. In fact, I Drink Your Blood is a better movie before the widespread rabies infection. But this is an absolutely idiosyncratic movie that perfectly reflects the time period in which it was released. They just don’t make them like this any more.