BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
It is the first film to receive an X rating solely for its violent content. I Drink Your Blood is also a masterpeice of the drive-in. Its debut on blu-ray, thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, is an important one. It is not to be missed.
Writer/director David Durston (ABC’s Tales of Tomorrow) first tried LSD under his doctor’s care. In the 1950s, America knew little about the drug and other than tabloids claiming LSD saved Cary Grant’s private life, it remained swimming in the underground. Durston admits that the great thing about his brief experience on LSD was that, unlike with alcohol, he didn’t black out. He remembered thinking he was a gumball machine selling fruit-flavored gum and he recalled being sad because the people in the subway only wanted spearmint. The opening it created in his mind as he walked the streets of New York City would never be shut, though. He was a successful Broadway director, but the counter culture was about to explode and take him along for one hell of a ride.
With the assistance of exploitation producer and CEO of Cinemation Industries Jerry Gross, he managed to combine LSD and the current headline champion Charlie Manson with The Night of the Living Dead and created something that granted both men access into B-movie immortality. Durston called his film Phobia. The producers, who wanted a more exploitative title, released it with the misnomer of I Drink Your Blood thanks to a marketing joke from their advertising man. They wanted the film to be coupled with a drive-in picture about cannibalism. Durston wanted it to be seen as a serious film. With the lead-in picture being titled I Eat Your Skin and an X-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America thanks to their on-going war with Gross, a serious title for Durston’s flick just wasn’t going to happen.
Except it did.
I Drink Your Blood is a masterpiece of blood-soaked horror. Durston, who has done a lot of wonderful things in his career, is known today solely for what he refers to as “that damn horror movie” and can’t believe its longevity. The flick, made when he was 40, has gone on to influence an entire generation of filmmakers and the fans can’t ever get enough, some – myself included – will drive over 3 hours to see it in a drive-in theater. Thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, horror fans can run themselves rabid with repeat viewings now that the film sees its blu-ray debut, complete with a spectacular new high definition restoration of the original, uncensored director’s cut. Simply put, this release is to die for.
Rabid, drug-infected hippies on a blood-crazed killing rampage! What’s not to like about that description. Wait until you see it. Only then will you understand the sheer genius of the film. Full of a great sense of energy, I Drink Your Blood flips the script on B-movies due to its thoughtful cinematography, its rapid edits, and a well-rehearsed ensemble of unknown actors. The film has been mangled by censors and by critics – although some, most notably Kevin Thomas from the Los Angeles Times and filmmaker Joe Dante, immediately recognized its spark. It continues to command the senses.
The cult classic stars Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury as Horace Bones, the Manson-like cult leader of the satanic cult that invades a small town and, ultimately, gets thwarted by Jack Kierney, a little boy who wants to be a vet when he grows up, Jack Damon (Rollerblade Warriors) as the off-and-on-again hero, the silent but deadly Lynn Lowry (The Crazies) as the mute hand-severing hippie, and burlesque dancer Jadin Wong as Sue-Lin who sets herself on fire after exposure to the rabies-injected meat pies. Hell, even the rats – with one starring in Ben and the other becoming Willard – get a chance to shine. And, just so you know, all those letters written to Durston protesting all the on-screen animal deaths were all for naught. No animals were harmed during the filmmaking.
Thanks to this release of the deluxe uncensored director’s cut of I Drink Your Blood – which also features the film’s original double-billing opener of I Eat Your Skin – you can re-create that drive-in feel that once promised its audience TWO great blood-horrors to rip out your guts with! Happy feasting, Horrorhouds and Gore-illas!
MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 83 mins
Director: David E. Durston
Writer: David E. Durston
Cast: Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Jadin Wong, Rhonda Fultz
Tagline: Grindhouse Releasing Presents.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's no-one left in Valley Hills because of your damn dam!"
Theatrical Distributor: United Artists
Release Date: December 1970
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 11, 2016
Synopsis: A group of hippies wreak havoc on a small town and a young boy, whose grandfather and sister were attacked by them, decides to get even, with deadly results.
Home Video Distributor: Grindhouse Releasing
Available on Blu-ray - November 22, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.67:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Grindhouse Releasing offers a seriously great product with their deluxe two-disc handling of I Drink Your Blood. This spectacular 1080p transfer preserves the film qualities of the original release with a more saturated color and deeper level of blacks than previously seen. While there is some damage to the print, it is at a minimum and can be overlooked. Lines and edges are improved and the practical effects are revealed in all their technical brutality. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.6:7, viewers can watch the censored 83-minute version or the 87-version which features more characterization and an inside look at an LSD trip. The sound is solid with its 1.0 DTS-HD MA mix, but – as the electronic score is a strange, pulsating one – be prepared to turn the volume up and down.
There are two commentaries included with the new release. The first one, with director David Durston and star Bhaskar was included with the DVD release, but the second one is all new and features stars Jack Damon and Tyde Kierney talking about the film, its director, and the legacy they still celebrate and are asked questions about.
"Grindhouse Releasing’s deluxe 2-disc Blu-ray set not only presents the ultra-violent, uncensored director’s cut of the film in a new hi-def transfer but also includes two more vintage exploitation films in their HD debut: Del Tenney’s I Eat Your Skin (1964) and Durston’s long-unseen, X-rated psychedelic shocker Blue Sextet (1969). Packed with new bonus features, including interviews with the actors involved in the movie, Grindhouse Releasing’s blu-ray is the ultimate edition of a notorious classic drive-in movie to own. A limited run of 3,000 copies of the Blu-ray will include the official “I Drink Your Blood Horror Hypo” – an actual syringe that fans can use - is a fun addition to plopping down the dough for this limited release."
The limited edition also includes the film in colorful deluxe packaging, complete with a slipcover, great new artwork, a seven-page-booklet with liner notes by David Szulkin, and, of course, the fabulous toy hypo.
- The I Drink Your Blood Show (29 min)
- Extended Durston Interview (60 min)
- I Drink Your Blood 2004 Reunion (35 min)
- Cinema Wasteland Q& A: Durston and Lowry (17 min)
- Cinema Wasteland: Interview with David Durston (4 min)
- I Eat Your Skin (81 min)
- I Eat Your Skin Interview (19 min)
- Blue Sextet, with optional commentary from Jack Damon (90 min)
- Haus Des Blutigen Schreckens (16 min)
- Die Satansbande(24 min)
- Deleted Scenes
- Bios & Filmographies