Okay, as I mentioned a few days ago, I thought I’d bring things more or less full circle by going back to The Great Cinema Coffee Can and draw out a random title. I’m gonna try to stick to that with a few exceptions, and today’s golden ticket is I Drink Your Blood which, to be fair, really needs to be a double feature. Back in the day it was often a drive-in matchup with I Eat Your Skin, and is frequently sold that way on DVD.
Two great tastes that taste great together if you will.
Now, I’ve mentioned I Eat Your Skin before as part of a Timeless Schlock list. This one, as I said back then, has several glaring deficiencies. First, this movie does not do what it says on the tin. No flesh gets et. Second, there’s a good deal of offscreen narration. I always assume this is at least partly to avoid having to pay actors for speaking parts.
Also it was shot in 1964 but took 7 years to find a distributor. By this time it was pretty damn tough to get away with a regional, low-budget flick in black and white. Worst of all, it seems pretty clear that renaming the movie I Eat Your Skin was a cynical ploy to couple the movie with as well as capitalize on I Drink Your Blood, also 1971.
From the title and the body count, you’d think I Eat Your Skin would be awash in the splattery goodness of brains and viscera. You’d be wrong. Shot in black-and-white, it looks and sounds very 60s. And not the Woodstock, cool music 60s. No. This is a version of “cool” only possible from minds that could support trump. It’s a sterile Beach Blanket Bingo kind of style and imagery.
On the other hand, I Drink Your Blood–now there’s a flick! We got a violent Satanic hippie death cult, forced LSD consumption, and rabid dog blood. Yee-haw! So…members of said Manson-esque cult beat and rape a local woman, Sylvia. She survives, and her boyfriend and family seek revenge. Here’s where things get, uh, “interesting.” Pete, Sylvia’s kid brother, goes looking for the cult members with a shotgun.
Instead, he comes across a rabid dog which he puts down. He then sucks up a bunch of its blood into a big ol’ syringe that just happens to be handy, then injects it into the meat pies his mother sells at their bakery à la Sawney Bean/Sweeney Todd. Anyone who eats these Hostess Pies From Hell becomes rabid, complete with fear of water and foaming at the mouth. Shenanigans ensue.
And we’re not talkin’ just any ol’ kinda rabid here. Oh no. We’re talkin’ full blown 28 Days Later style rage 31 years before 28 Days Later was 28 Days Later. And like Shivers a mere 4 years later, this infection can be spread by sex. So yeah, the cultists hack their Barbasol-spewin’, construction worker infectin’, devil worshippin’ way through the town taking no prisoners and giving no quarter.
But enough plot summary. Let’s meet our surprisingly diverse cast. Okay, to be fair, the “diversity” only extends but so far in that the few diverse characters we get are all cult members. First is the ab-tastic George Patterson who joyfully overacts the axe wielding Rollo as he for the most part pursues folks through the woods. Next Jadin Wong literally lights up the screen with self-immolation as she attempts to escaped her fate at the hands of The Big Bad.
Speaking of Beloved Cult Leader, Bhaskar Roy Chowdury delivers a cringeworthy rendering of Horace Bones. Nary a stick of scenery goes ungnawed, establishing him as one more bright start in a glorious cinematic constellation that includes the likes of Torgo and The Master (Manos: The Hands Of Fate 1966), Ralphus (Bloodsucking Freaks 1976), and Paul and Stanley (Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things 1971–apparently a banner year for this kinda thang).
Also of note are the deleted scenes available on DVD. The highlight here is Grandpa’s kitchen table ramblings after he’s dosed with acid by the cult then inexplicably allowed to just go home.
Finally, difficult as it might be to believe, the violence and gore of I Drink Your Blood managed to earn it an X rating in its day. By current standards, the effects are delightfully belly-laughable from the severed “head” right down to copious amounts of blood which looks to have the very same consistency as something that would be right at home on your morning stack of Aunt Jemimas.
SKULLS- 12 (sometimes you just have let art flow over you)