The Film (4/5)
As a teenager horror fanatic I found the video stores of my Southwest Florida community couldn't keep me satisfied for very long, so after renting seemingly every horror title I could get my hands on, I quickly turned to mail order using postal money orders since a checking account and credit cards were years away for me. I would end up finding lurid and explicit horror title from places like Video Search of Miami, Fangoria Magazine's classified, and a catalog called Alternative Cinema, later on I would end up driving up to Video Mayhem in Tampa, but this was during the beginnings of DVD.
One of the titles I ended up picking up just on the description alone was I Drink Your Blood, which I think simply mentioned something about rabid hippies and that was enough to sell me. Of course, the film has survived the test of time over 40 years not just by being a film about a crazy band of rabid hippies, but by being an amazingly, sleazy, and delirious masterpiece of horror cinema...that has rabid hippies.
The film was commissioned by producer Jerry Gross in the early 1970's under the title "Phobia". He wanted something truly disgusting and shocking, and commissioned director David Durston to make such a film for him. The film ended up being all that and more. It ended up taking the X rating and pushing the boundaries of bad taste (in the best possible ways) in the early 70's just as American horror films were just beginning to move into more extreme directions.
The film follows a band of Satanic hippies (the best kind), as they enter a small town and begin to cause trouble. The night before they entered the town, they raped and beat the Granddaughter of a local resident for observing one of their rituals. Grandpa wants revenge, but is too timid to actually take it, when he goes to the abandoned hotel where they set up shop.
Rather, they end up beating him up and dosing him with LSD. That night the man's grandson, Pete walks out into the woods with a shotgun, kills a rabid dog, and uses a syringe to take the dog’s blood. He then injects it into the meat pies of a local baker, the towns only commercial food source. The next day the hippies come to the baker to buy food, and buys the pies. The group end up becoming rabid, and insane. On top of that one of the women in the group, ends up escaping with a group of construction workers, sleeping with them, and turning them rabid.
I Drink Your Blood is such an absolute wild horror experience. I have seen it multiple times over the last 2 decades, and it never loses any of its original power. The opening Satanic ritual of the film is such an awesome way to open the film, and the film weaves through it's running time with moments of over the top shock, sleaze, and violence through to its very end.
The performances for the most part are completely solid, and fitting to the material here. The soundtrack by Clay Pitts strikes the right tone between horror and sleaze the film requires. Durston ends up creating a look for the film that is quite natural, but also creates a solid atmosphere of dirty horror. The pacing is solid, and the film is rarely dull.
Grindhouse Releasing stuns again with a release that looks and sounds better than this film ever has before (of course, Grindhouse is there own competition here). The film is presented 10800 in an AVC encoded transfer. Detail here is excellent, textures are very nice, colors are stable, and well reproduced, and blacks are solid. There is some speckling and minor damage/scratches to contend with but that is to be expected and not distracting.
The audio was presented in a DTS-HD MA mono track in English. The dialogue and score come through nicely and there is nothing to complain about here.
Grindhouse Releasing do tremendous work in the extra department. This is, of course, their 2nd pass on the film so some extras are ported over, but the add to those with style. We get the original DVD commentary from director David Durston and actor Bhaskar. There is a new commentary track with actors Jack Damon and Tyde Kierney. There is a new on camera interview with David Durston. Following up on that we get on camera interviews with Lynn Lowry, Tyde Kierney, and Jack Damon. There is also trailers, radio spots, and galleries. There is also footage of Bhaskar performing something called The Evil King Cobra Dance.
If that wasn't enough to tempt fans on this release there is also I Drink Your Blood's co-feature I Eat Your Skin. An early 1960's Del Tenney feature original titled Zombie. It's not an explicit film, just a fun adventure romp, but it's an interesting addition to the set, and helps to make this set feel even more complete. Now Grindhouse is so in depth with their release that they extras for their extra features so I Eat Your Skin has an interview with the 2nd Unit Director William Grefe. We also get Durston's follow up to I Drink Your Blood a sleazy interesting feature called Blue Sextet, this features some return cast brings back some cast from I Drink Your Blood. There are loads more extras on this release, and on top of that a booklet of liner notes from from David Szulkin, and the first 3000 copies come with a "Horror Hypo".
I Drink Your Blood is an absolutely mad sleazy affair that has been giving an totally lavish Blu-ray release from Grindhouse Releasing. The Blu-ray looks and sounds brilliant, and is loaded up with so many extra features it will take hours to get through them all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.