Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Queen Of Blood (1966)

I watch all flicks produced by American International Pictures religiously, cause I always hope to find another, obscure gem. Obviously, you have to be nuts to watch all of them – without even saying that some are practically untraceable – as in this low budget fantasy land there’s been done so much trash as you can imagine. However, with a cult figure of Curtis Harrington ("Night Tide") as a director and pope of exploitation - Roger Corman as an executive producer, you start to wander unwittingly about "Queen Of Blood"... what is it gonna be? When you're through, it occurs that this piece of cheap film baking is not that great as we expect, but will definitely find it’s fans. "Queen of Blood" is not a picture I particularly liked, but it’s sci-fi thriller inclinations will be appealing enough for other obscurity diggers.

As we know, Roger Corman was a great asset player as far as the set production was concerned. He used to buy the rights to science fiction films from Eastern Europe and then just cut’n’pasted all useful effects in the editing room in order to make his own productions less expensive and fast as in bullet factory... and he was really fast! Given this for granted you will know how he managed to pull off such a great cinematography in "Queen Of Blood" – when you see those paper rockets and grotesque outer space background, just think how many of his disciples were given the same stuff to incorporate into their movies. Well, it’s not an important thing anyway as we watch these blobs mainly for pure fun.

Still, we face a story here! It’s 1990 and the scientists of "International Institute Of Space Technology" just received a S.O.S. signal from an alleged alien ship, hence they promptly send their elite astronauts for help. Among this cream there are two brave characters played by Dennis Hopper and John Saxon – second one is much more confindent in his role as Hopper seems kind of lame. At firts they localize only one dead body on Mars, but a following mission spots a green-skinned, alien female on Phobos (make-up comes off a bit when camera zooms).

They ty to hydrate and feed poor thing to help her meet the standards of cultural conversation (everything for the science!), but she chooses to hypnotize them with spectacular x-ray eyes and suck their blood instead – in couple of days two astronauts wind up dead. They tie the vampire up, but her magic powers are better than this and she finally breaks free to fulfill her destiny by spreading a bunch of jelly eggs all over the ship… which - as we discover in the end - are the only hope for scientists to find out something more about the alien race as the space vampire herself bleeds to death from a nail scratch wound...

A screenplay is bullshit and acting very unconvincing, but it doesn’t blow the project totally, cause at least gothic horror mood is great. Unfortunately music works against the suspense and somehow the climax is nonexistent… after all you cannot shake off the feeling that you’re watching a blatant ripoff of Bava’s "The Planet Of The Vampires" (which is much better by the way). What can I say, folks? Watch it, if you really have to. Otherwise, leave it alone!