• I Drink Your Blood (88 Films)

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: July 10th, 2017.
    Director: David E. Durston
    Cast: Bhaskar, John Damon, Tyde Kierney, Arlene Farber, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Lynn Lowry
    Year: 1971

    The Movie:

    Written and directed by the late, great David E. Durston, 1971’s I Drink Your Blood opens with an ominous scene in which a man named Horace Bones (Bhaskar) leads a cult of acid dropping hippies in a Satanic ritual out in the woods. After they all get naked and listen to a bizarre sermon in which Bones tells them ‘Satan was an acid head’ they realize they’re being watch by a young woman. Even though she was invited by one of their own, Horace is none too pleased and so he sends two of his minions off to chase her through the woods and rape her!

    She escapes the ordeal and heads back to the small town nearby. Here a woman named Mildred (Elizabeth Marner-Brooks) runs a bakery while a kid named Pete (Riley Mills) hangs around with his grandpa (Richard Bowler). The hippie cult heads into town but their van breaks down. After pushing it down a cliff with one of their own inside, they make their way to the bakery in search of food. They’re sold some meat pies and sent on their way. They take over an abandoned hotel in town and, after hunting down and cooking some of the rats they find inside, start partying. When Grandpa shows up, shotgun in hand, to take care of business Horace – the fiend – smashes the old man’s glasses and doses him with L.S.D.!

    By this point, young Pete has had enough. He heads out into the woods, shoots a rabid dog and the injects its blood into the next morning’s batch of meat pies. Predictably the hippies show up again, there’s no other place around to get food, and take the contaminated pies back to the hotel. Most of them scarf the pies right down and before you know it, they’re foaming at the mouth and going crazy! Meanwhile, a bunch of horny construction workers in town to build a dam pick up one of the rabid hippie girls on their way into town, spreading the plague – If things weren’t crazy enough already, at this point they go completely off the rails.

    Originally meant to be titled Phobia, I Drink Your Blood (which doesn’t actually feature any blood drinking) is a veritable masterpiece of trash horror filmmaking. This movie doesn’t screw around. It starts off with that fantastic ritual scene (involving the unfortunate death of a live chicken) complete with nudity and subsequent rape and it just keeps building from there. The hippies are, for the most part, pretty evil and by the time we get to lil’ Petey infecting them all with rabies, well, after what they did to grandpa it’s hard to feel sorry for them – even the pregnant one! Before you know it, rats have been cooked, old people have had bad trips, a hippie has been raped and things get ridiculously gory. Limbs are chopped off, a stomach is cut open and one character’s head is cut from its torso and then paraded around town by a man wielding a machete and frothing at the mouth. It’s fan-fucking-tastic.

    The performances are pretty great across the board. Lovely Lynn Lowry makes her big screen debut here as a mute hippie girl. Even here, early in her career, she shows that unique mix of sex appeal and otherworldly screen presence that has made her a cult film icon. Riley Mills steals a lot of scenes as the unusually enthusiastic Pete Banner. This kid is devious – once he gets his fur up over what was done to grandpa he winds up unwittingly unleashing a pretty nastic plague of sorts. It’s a bit of an overreaction on his part maybe, but hey, the kid gets it done. He’s a blast to watch here, and where a lot of child actors are more irritating then they are entertaining, Mills? He’s just a kick and a half. George Patterson as Rollo, the token black hippie in the film, is also great. The guy is just full of energy, leaping over railings and ripping through those backwoods with manic enthusiasm, but the real start of the show is Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury (credited only as Bhaskar) as Horace Bones. This guy is just flat out evil, grinning like a maniac whenever he gets up to no good, using and abusing his hippie cultists as he sees fit and not above abusing young and old alike if it suits him. He does it all – he wields a sword, he tries to steal a giant snake, he pours blood on naked ladies and he kills chickens. Rarely has the silver screen given us such a despicably awesome bad guy!

    Shot in an essentially abandoned town in upstate New York, the locations here are great. The houses around are ramshackle in appearance and the grubby old hotel is the perfect spot to hide a hippie cult. The plot isn’t particularly complex but it’s ruthlessly efficient and if, at times, it feels a little bit like Night Of The Living Dead with frothing hippies and construction workers in place of shambling corpses, so be it. The gore effects are primitive and done on a low budget but somehow completely effective and the score, heavy on psychedelic and surreal instrumental oddities, is just flat out killer.

    Note: On this release you’re given the choice of watching the original X-rated theatrical cut of the film or the reconstructed director’s cut. This disc also includes the four deleted scenes (removed at producer Jerry Gross’ request) including the original ending that wasn’t ultimately used that are put back into the director’s cut viewable separately. These are neat to see – more footage of grandpa tripping, some footage with our hippie cultist and his square girlfriend, a scene where Pete tries to turn himself into the cops and the alternate ending that you really should just watch for yourself. Optional commentary is available over the scenes if you decide to watch them separately that gives them some context and explains their origins.


    88 Films brings I Drink Your Blood to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer on a 25GB disc with the feature taking up roughly 20GBs of space. This appears to be the exact same transfer used by Grindhouse Releasing for their Blu-ray release (reviewed here), the tech specs are identical. The disc even includes the Grindhouse Releasing logo before the main menu loads – this is essentially a port of disc one of their Blu-ray. Some minor scratches show up here and there and some small white specks but it’s nothing serious, and it’s never distracting. For the most part, the image is quite clean and very nicely detailed. The scenes that take place out in the woods at night understandably don’t show this off as well as those that take place outside in broad daylight with better lighting but by and large this is a really strong presentation. Skin tones look nice and natural, there are no issues with compression artifacts and the picture is free of any edge enhancement. There’s good depth and texture present here and the color reproduction is pretty much perfect. Black levels are nice and deep as well but the image is free of crush and demonstrates pretty strong shadow detail in some of those dimly lit interior shots that take place in the hotel. No complaints here.

    Audio chores are handled by a DTS-HD Mono track in English with optional English subtitles. Dialogue stays clean, clear and plenty easy to follow and the aforementioned score, that crazy, wonderful score – it sounds great. When those stings are used they really punch out at you but manage to do this without sounding artificially boosted or unnecessarily loud. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to complain about and there’s better depth here than you might expect to hear.

    Extras, all of which are ported over from the aforementioned Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray (though not all of the extras from that release are found on this disc), start off with an audio commentary featuring director David Durston and star Bhaskar himself (available on both cuts). For those who haven’t heard this before, it’s a pretty great commentary with Durston in particular quite keen to tell his side of the story in relation to how and why this film came to exist. He talks about casting the picture, the shooting locations, the gore effects and using trained rats in the film (noting that none of them were harmed even if it sure looks that way in the movie). He also talks about the film’s distribution history and theatrical play and tells a lot of great stories about its origins. Bhaskar doesn’t have as much to say but also chimes in, talking about what it was like on set, some of the co-stars he appeared with in the picture and his thoughts on the film. It’s pretty interesting stuff!

    Also included here is an audio commentary available only on the X-rated theatrical cut by stars Jack Damon (who played Roger) and Tyde Kierney (who played Andy), recorded December 22nd, 2015. They talk about the shooting conditions, noting that it was hot the entire time except when they shot the opening nude scene when the temperature dropped a lot! Brandy and Vitamin C came into play and saved the day for various participants in that regard. They discuss the dangers of leaping down a hill, working with the aged Richard Bowler who was an experienced stage actor, Bhaskar’s training as a dancer and what has happened to some of the cast members since the movie was made. They also talk about what it was like working with Durston as a director, how grown up ten year old Riley Mills was on set, the locations used in the film, thoughts on Durston’s original script, their thoughts on Lynn Lowry, how the giant snake seen in the movie unfortunately died a few weeks after the movie was made, producer Jerry Gross’ tendency to go for sensationalism and more.

    There’s also a featurette included on this disc that documents the film playing with I Eat Your Skin as part of a double feature put on by Grindhouse and Exhumed Films that took place in Pennsylvania at the Mahoning Drive-In no October 2, 2015. This piece runs just under six minutes and it features some footage of the screening, a look at the drive-in itself as well as input from various attendees including a couple who were attending for romantic reasons as I Drink Your Blood was the first movie they watched together.

    Menus and chapter selection round out the extras on the disc – and there are a few Easter Eggs here too, like an old industrial film on rodent and insect control and a nine minute video recording of Durston visiting an aged Bhaskar where they reminisce about their work on the film.

    88 Films packages this release with some very cool reversible cover sleeve art and an equally cool slipcover. Inside the case alongside the disc is an insert booklet containing a text interview with Lynn Lowry conducted by Calum Waddell that covers her career in cult and horror pictures including, but certainly not limited to, I Drink Your Blood.

    The Final Word:

    I Drink Your Blood holds up incredibly well, a no-holds barred epic of nasty, exploitative horror that is as ridiculously entertaining now as it has ever been. 88 Films Region B encoded disc offers UK fans a nice, uncut release of the film with some solid extras and a nice presentation.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!