“I Drink Your Blood” (1970)
Studio: Jerry Gross Productions
Starring: Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Riley Mills, John Damon, Tyde Kierney, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks
Directed by: David E. Durston
Running Time: 83 min.
Synopsis: A group of satan-worshiping hippies end up getting rabies and terrorize a small town.
I Drink Your Blood was one of those films I waited years to see and when I finally saw it I was very pleased. I first heard about it in 1989 when I read a description of it in The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies. When I first saw the title I thought it was a vampire film, but then when I read how a crazy hippy group gets rabies and start killing people, I had to see this film. Finally in the early 2000’s I found the movie on DVD and was glad I finally got to see the film.
The movie is about a hippy group that worships the devil who wander into a small town that is practically abandoned and start to raise hell to the few of the population that live there. A local girl watches one of their rituals, but gets caught and a few men in the group rape and beat her. The grandfather of the girl tries to the run the group out of town, but he is no match for the seven of them. They beat the old man up and make him take LSD. The old man’s grandson, Pete, comes and gets his grandfather and returns him home. He realizes they did something to him by the way he was acting. Pete starts to think up a way to get revenge on the evil group.
Pete happens to find a rabid dog in the woods and shoots it dead. He then takes the blood from the rabid dog and puts it into meat pies and gives them to the hippies. The group then goes crazy and starts to kill each other, but some set out into town and raise havoc there. One of the girls in the group meets up with a crew of construction workers who are working on a dam for the town. She ends up infecting all of the men. Now there are tons of crazies running around the town terrorizing whoever is left.
The film is a cross between the Manson family and Night of the Living Dead. The hippy group themselves are inspired by the Manson family with their dominating leader, Horace, who is very Charles Manson-like. Once the hippies and the people in the town get infected by rabies the film is more reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead with the people running mad all over town and the people who are left try to board themselves up in their houses.
I Drink Your Blood has a very interesting and great story. The conflict between the hippies and the Grandfather and his family is done very well. Before the hippies even become crazy with rabies, they are all bastards. They come off as peace-loving people but are out to cause chaos in the name of Satan. They even treat each other badly, especially Horace. Who knows what they would have been capable of if they didn’t eat the meat pies? Would murder be on their agenda without them being mad? I would think so.
The hippie group is very unique as well. Horace is an Indian hippy leader, that has two white guys, a black dude, an Asian woman dressed in Asian garb, and three other women, one is sex-crazed, the other is pregnant, and the last one is a mute, who is played by horror movie vet, Lynn Lowry. So, they are a band of different races and cultures, which makes them more interesting. All of the characters in the group are good with Horace being the big stand-out, who is played by Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury.
The rest of the cast is good as well. One of the other standouts is young actor Riley Mills who plays Pete. He is the one that started all this mess by putting the rabid blood in the meat pies, which he only meant to make the hippies sick and not go crazy. Mills kind of reminds me of Danny Bonaduce when he was in The Partridge Family. There is even a deleted scene from the film that has Pete trying to turn himself in to the police, but the cops just laugh and do not take him seriously. The scene was cut because of its comedic tone and the producer wanted to keep the film serious.
The film also has great atmosphere with the abandoned town being a great backdrop. The movie has a great feeling of isolation and that there is no one to run to when danger strikes. The town where they shot the film, Sharon Springs, New York, was actually abandoned in real life and the director of the film, David E. Durston, had full reign for using many of the empty buildings that were in the town. There is also a great element of suspense with the scenes with the hippies. You are not sure what they are going to do next and the suspense gets ramped up when they become rabid.
The movie was actually given an X rating at first, not because of sex and nudity, but because of the violence. Some parts were cut out so it could receive an R rating. Now the film is presented in its uncut form on DVD and after looking at some of the gore effects I did not think they were that bad or at least for them to get an X rating. Herschell Gordon Lewis made more gory films than this one. There are a few scenes where a few body parts get cut off like a foot, hand, and head, but are still not that gory as other films I have seen that were made around the same time this film was.
I Drink Your Blood is one of those great campy drive-in grindhouse horror films that whets your appetite for some cool entertaining 70’s schlock. The movie is worth watching if you have not seen it yet. It has been out on DVD for a while and has some great extras on it, which includes interviews with the director and some of the cast members. It also has deleted scenes, outtakes, photo galleries, and an alternate ending to the film. Go check out I Drink Your Blood and you will not be disappointed.