Blood Beast Terror, The
Director - Vernon Sewell
Cast - Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng
Country of Origin - U.K.
MSRP - $14.95/19.95
Distributor - Kino
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Film (3/5)
The Blood Beast Terror is a film that reminds me a lot of the early horror fare that originally got me transfixed on the genre as a child. It is a film much like Horror Express, and it's ilk which would have been a late night horror staple, less of a video store rental, and more of something you would catch on a local horror host program. When I was watching the Blood Beast Terror last night, all I could think of was the Peter Vincent character in Fright Night, and the movies he participated in that screened during the course of his show. The Blood Beast Terror would be one of those films.
It is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, I highly doubt you will find a single horror fan who will declare this film an absolute classic of the genre, and yet this film feels like an interesting relic of the British horror Golden age. Blood Beast Terror never quite reaches the heights of a Hammer or Amicus film, but it surely feels like a nice B film to one of their own established classics, and let's be honest how can a film about a transmutating giant moth be without it's own entertaining merits?
The Blood Beast Terror stars the legendary Peter Cushing as Inspector Quennell, a police investigator who is called in to research a series of strange murders that are all linked by the fact that all the victims have been drained of their blood. His investigation clues him into to the fact that the insect world may play heavily into the murders, and he turns to entomologist Professor Mallinger played by Robert Flemyng. Professor Mallinger it turns out falls into the mad scientist category of monster movie professors, and has been running experiments on his daughter, turning her into a moth/human hybrid. She has been luring young men away to secluded places, only to reveal her insect side, and drain them of their blood once they are alone. Quennell catches onto this, and attempts to stop the pair, only to have them escape into the country. However, Quennell being a dedicated officer of the law, follows them with his daughter in tow, and with the assistance of a local butterfly expert manages to catch up with them. Unfortunately, not before they manage to kidnap his daughter. The stakes now at their peak Quennell must move quickly to save his daughters life from the Blood Beast Terror.
The Blood Beast Terror has a few things going for it, namely the moth-monster is pretty darn cool, and is probably the best thing about the whole film. Since the film is rated G, don't go in, and expecting a blood and guts affair, however, when the monster is on screen there is fun to be had. Secondly, there is Peter Cushing. I will admit he is in my top 5 favorite actors of all time, so maybe I'm a bit biased, but he is one of those actors where every moment he is on screen he makes a movie watchable, and that definitely applies to his role in Blood Beast Terror. Also, the film has a nice leisurely pace that I tend to like for films of this ilk. Yes, I would definitely have appreciated some more action here and there, but it was a nice quiet atmospheric police procedural 60's monster film, and I definitely enjoyed it for what it was.
Overall, it's not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is definitely an entertaining little slice of British horror campiness, and well worth at least 1-2 viewings. Peter Cushing is immensely watchable, and there is an amazingly fun monster at the center of it all.
Kino/Redemption have presented the Blood Beast Terror in a truly fantastic 1:66:1 AVC Encoded 1080p transfer. Since Kino's first Blu-ray's they have done amazing work in HD, and they have brought Redemption's catalog into HD with absolute class and style, and each title no matter how large or small seems to get the best treatment available, and a film like Blood Beast Terror is no different. The level of detail on display in this transfer is simply excellent with decent grain and filmlike textures. The black levels are inky and deep, and flesh tones are accurate.
Kino/Redemption have presented the Blood Beast Terror with a nice LPCM Mono track in English that definitely befits the material. The music, effects, and dialogue are mixed well, and are completely audible throughout without anything really drowning out the others. I did not hear any audio anomalies such as pops, cracks, or hissing on my play though of the Blood Beast Terror.
Kino/Redemption have included the trailer for Blood Beast Terror, and other Redemption titles. They have also included a stills gallery. Not much to write about here folks.
A flawed, but interesting side note in 60's British Horror film history. It never quite attains the heights of a good Amicus or Hammer horror picture, but it does have it's charms, and is definitely worth a watch or two. Recommended.