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The Blood Beast Terror


Title: The Blood Beast Terror
Year Of Release: 1967
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Directed By: Vernon Sewell
Writing Credits: Peter Bryan

Starring: Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng, Wanda Ventham
Taglines:
1. The Blood Lust of a Frenzied Vampire!
Alternate Titles:
Blood Beast from Hell
The Deathshead Vampire
The Vampire-Beast Craves Blood

Review Date: 12.4.11

Shadow's Title: "The Boring Beast Terror"

 

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Characters
Detective Inspector Quennell - Works for Scotland Yard. Currently investigating a strange series of murders where all the victims are young men who have had their blood drained from their bodies. Later he ordered the planet Alderaan destroyed. Oh, wait...wrong movie.
Sgt. Allan - One of the street cops that assists Inspector Quennell with the case of young, dead university students drained of blood. Seems to be a decent chap, never jumping to conclusions and always erring on the side of caution. Probably why he survives the movie intact.
Dr. Carl Mallinger - A University professor who lectures on entomology. He takes to experimenting with moths, which leads to his greatest achievement: the creation of a human/moth hybrid that must drink blood to survive. Yeah, it has its drawbacks, but what have you invented lately?
Clare Mallinger - Professor Mallinger’s daughter, who lives with him in his large house along with their creepy butler. Despite the prim and proper style of dress, she is somewhat aggressive when it comes to young males she encounters, many of whom drop by to hear her father’s lectures.
Granger - The creepy butler that works for the Mallingers. You might think he was hired from some creepy employment agency who specialized in deformities, but this moron got his scars by being careless when feeding the Professor’s pet birds of prey...who apparently don't like creepy butlers.
Frederick Britewell - This dork has arrived from Africa, where he was procuring moth and chrysalis specimens for Professor Mallinger. Having delivered them personally, he decides to stay and accepts Clare’s invitation for a nighttime walk through the woods. Later found dead.
Meg Quennell - Quennell’s daughter. She accompanies him when investigating Mallinger, lending credence to his story of being a vacationing banker. However, even when all the victims to this point have been male, being a blonde and female is a dangerous thing in these movies.
William Warrender - Vacationing with his dad, this dork is staying at the same inn as the Quennells. An entomology enthusiast, he spends his free time capturing moths for his collection. Doesn’t seem too interested in the young, cute Meg Quennell, which shows just how much of a dork he is.
Clem Withers - When Professor Mallinger and Clare flee due to all the dead bodies piling up around their house, they take up residence in a new mansion. One with Clem here as the groundskeeper. Almost immediately, Clare takes a shine to him. Guess who is found dead a short time later?
The Blood Beast - The titular monster, a human-sized man/moth hybrid. Requiring blood to survive, it tends to view everyone around it as food. It disguises itself as a normal human most of the time...but who exactly? Resembles a halloween costume assembled by third graders.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Also known to men as That Time of the MonthThe very first thing we see is a small canoe traversing a remote river. There are three occupants in the flimsy vehicle: two shirtless black men that are doing all of the paddling and one Caucasian dude sitting up front and who is decked out all in white, including a sizable Pith helmet on his noggin. If the dark skinned guys in back did not clue the viewer in to the fact that this was Africa, then the Pith helmet on the cracker is a dead giveaway. So either this is Africa or the white boy is going to launch into a resounding rendition of I Am The Very Model of A Modern Major General at any second. At this point I really don’t know what level of horror I am willing to endure – a cheap 60’s monster flick or something possibly even worse – a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. Given what I know about both options, I’ll go with the monster movie. For now.

Of course, while we are supposed to be in Africa, the surrounding landscape looks nothing of the sort. I dare say that the trees look far more like the type you’d find in Western Europe…say England perhaps. To help the audience suspend their disbelief, the filmmakers have dubbed in a cacophony of birds, monkeys and insects, meant to reinforce the idea that this is the Dark Continent. The only thing missing is the sound of drums in the distance.

Anyway, the canoe continues along the river and eventually stops so Mr. Pith can get out and go stomping through the “jungle.” Along the way he encounters some stock footage animals lifted from other films (and authentic African locations). Eventually, Mr. Pith starts collecting samples of something.

With a loud gong, the scene abruptly changes to that of passenger-eye-view of a man driving a carriage. The credits unfold as we ride along with him for a while. Once the credits end, we see that it is now getting dark and the man is navigating his carriage along a dark forested road. He comes to a halt when a horrid scream pierces the air. Like an idiot, he decides to grab his lantern and go traipsing off into the woods to investigate.

Let me tell you right here and now that no good can ever come from investigating a scream in a dark forest. What can you ever expect to find other than trouble? One will never find a rave unfolding in the depths of the woods with copious amounts of booze to imbibe and hot chicks with which to score. Nope, all one will ever find is trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with D and that stands for DEAD.

So this guy wanders into the trees a wee bit and comes across another man laid out on his back, his shirt soaked with blood. He is sporting a vicious wound on his neck and is appears quite dead…but only recently so. As our good Samaritan looks on, we hear a loud flapping sound. He quickly glances around to determine the source of the noise and gazes up in horror as a winged figure descends toward him in the darkness.

I told you. Trouble.

We quickly cut away to a Professor Carl Mallinger conducting a slide show presentation on moths to some students. This must be the most relaxed school in the western hemisphere, cuz nearly all the students are smoking while listening to the presentation. Seriously, if I had ever tried to light up during one of my teacher or professor’s slide shows, I would have been shown the door rather quickly. Then again, this film is set in the late 19th century and it would appear that things were slightly different in those days.

Wait, she's gonna fill all those glasses with that one pitcher? Is this a magic trick or something?Detective Inspector Quennell now arrives and we learn from Granger, the butler with facial scars, that this is Professor Mallinger’s private residence and that he is giving his usual Thursday night lecture to the university students. Quennell wishes to see Mallinger and decides to sit in on the lecture until it is over. Once Mallinger is finished, Granger as well as Mallinger’s daughter appears with drinks for everyone. No wonder the place is packed! These young guys get to smoke and drink! Allow that at college classrooms today and enrollment would be through the roof.

Inspector Quennell wants to ask Mallinger about a recently deceased student by the name of Fisher, who was murdered by “person or persons unknown.” Before he can ply him for information, a scream rings out. It seems one of the young male students has tried to play a practical joke on Mallinger’s daughter by placing a rubber spider on her shoulder. The young woman took one look at it, screamed and then promptly fainted (which is pretty much the same thing I would do…with a desperate cry for mommy added in there somewhere). When the Professor learns of this, he slaps the instigator and tells him to get out.

A carriage pulls up outside driven by Sergeant Allan. He is hear to see Quennell and pulls the other man outside to tell him that there has been “another one”. He even has the body in the back of the carriage. A quick look shows us that it is the same dead guy discovered by that inquisitive fool a few moments ago…only…the poor bastard isn’t dead after all! He lays there, moaning and groaning, a sure sign of being alive. Quennell calls for Mallinger, who takes one look at the young man and sends Sergeant Allan to retrieve his bag from the house. Then he asks Quennell to step back so he can examine the injured youth. With no one looking, he reaches out and does something to the poor sap that does him in for good. Turning around, he informs Quennell that it is too late and that the young man has died. Quennell, unaware that Mallinger has helped speed the unfortunate youth into the great hereafter, accepts his word.

Later at the police station, Quennell and Allan discuss the case over a cup of tea (this is England after all) while the police doctor examines Joe, the frightened carriage driver that discovered the body. The poor bastard has been declared a mental case and will be shipped off to the asylum in the morning. I guess no one believed his tale of a giant winged monster that attacked the now deceased youth.

Quennell decides to interview the carriage driver but the guy does nothing but babble about the creature he saw. Back in the hallway, Quennell wonders if perhaps Joe is the murderer, one with a split personality, but the police doctor says that Joe could not have inflicted the wounds left on the body and invites the inspector to come examine the corpse.

So off they go to the morgue, where in true cinematic fashion, the morgue attendant is enjoying a meal on the same table where one of the dead bodies is stretched out. He even uses the sheet covering the stiff to wipe his fork clean! Hey, at least he’s worried about germs. The strange thing is that when the others arrive and jingle the bell on the other side of the door, the attendant has to grab a huge ring of keys, unlock the door and then pull back a pair of dead bolts in order for anyone to get inside. My question is this: why is the morgue locked up tighter than Fort Knox? Is someone afraid that the corpses will get stolen? Are there really that many Junior Frankenstein’s running around out there with their wannabe Igor sidekicks, just clamoring to get their grubby little hands on a dead body so they can experiment on it?

"Have you ever noticed that every time we get a new body in here, the butcher shop down the street has a special on sausage a few days later?"Quennell and the police doctor arrive and look over the most recent body, while the morgue attendant blabbers on and on about his meal. The doctor notes that the dead man was drained of blood via a large wound. The attendant lets slip that the dead man looks like he was clawed up…just like all the others. In fact, he reveals that there have been six such murders so far in recent days with all the victims being men. He keeps talking and making crude jokes, so the other two leave, tired of dealing with him.

The next day Sergeant Allan is leading a group of police officers in a search of the crime scene. Quennell arrives but there is little to report other than the discovery of some small, strange objects that seem to litter the area. Quennell takes a few and heads to Professor Mallinger’s house where he talks to the professor about the possibility of an animal being responsible for the series of attacks and deaths. Mallinger dismisses the idea and is eager for the inspector to leave. Quennell then shows him the curious objects found at the scene of the murder. Mallinger has a visible reaction to them but denies knowing what they are. He suggests that he be allowed to examine them further and goes to take the entire bunch. Quennell pulls back his hand and only allows the Professor to take one before excusing himself and leaving.

Let’s see…doing something to speed along the last victim’s demise and now visibly concerned over what was found at the scene of the crime. I’d say the old professor knows a hell of a lot more than he is letting on and wants to keep something very, very secret.

With Quennell gone, the Professor takes a moment to chastise Granger for his sloppy methods at feeding the pet birds (I’m pretty sure it was an angry bird that clawed up his face…no, not that kind of angry bird), and then descends into the cellar. There he dons a large leather helmet that makes him resemble nothing so much as a 19th century gimp, sans chains and an ass-sore Ving Rhames nearby. He opens another door and enters the chamber beyond, a monstrous cry rising up from something unseen.

Later, Frederick Britewell arrives in town from Africa, asking at the police station for directions to Professor Mallinger’s house. Sergeant Allan is a little suspicious at first and informs the newly arrived stranger of the recent murders. When Britewell says that he is to deliver live animal specimens to the professor, Allan has one of the officers show him the way.

Arriving at Mallinger’s place, Britewell meets the surly Granger and then the professor’s daughter, Clare. The two chat for a bit, sizing each other up like pieces of meat. He lets slip that he has brought live moths from Africa for her father to study. She invites him to a play the following night put on by the students at the local university, in which she has a part. Professor Mallinger then arrives and tries to talk shop with Britewell, concerning a specific chrysalis mentioned in one of the younger man’s letters, but Clare intervenes and whisks Britewell off to his room so he can rest after his long voyage. As the pair leave, the professor seems uneasy at the prospect of his daughter becoming interested in Mr. Britewell.

Later in the lab, Mallinger and Britewell open the cases brought from Africa (I suppose Britewell was the Pith helmet-wearing fool we saw at the very beginning). The professor is very pleased with the cocoons Britewell has delivered, remarking on their size. This prompts Britewell to ask the professor if he is trying to breed a large species of moth. Naturally, Mallinger ignores the question. CLUE! In fact, Mallinger is so engrossed in his new toys that he fails to see Britewell snooping around the lab until the other man is about to open an incubator. Mallinger snaps at him for nearly destroying a crucial piece of work and then immediately apologizes, blaming his outburst on the weather.

If you listen closely, you can hear the ocean from between her boobs.The following evening the students put on their play in Mallinger’s house. Inspector Quennell comes sneaking around and peeks at the proceedings through a window. The play is about some doctor who tries to bring his dead daughter back to life with electricity, the part of the dead girl played by Clare. All she really had to do was lay there and show off her ample bosom. After the play is concluded, she makes plans to go for a little nighttime stroll with Britewell.

She leads him away from the house and into the woods. The horny fool is ready to start planting kisses on her, but she says that he has to catch her first. She orders him to cover his eyes and then she walks off into the brush. A moment later when Britewell opens his eyes, he is horrified to see a monster coming at him in the dark. It cannot be seen very well, but it has two big red compound eyes and large antenna protruding from its head. As it closes in on him he lets out a horrid scream.

The scream is heard by Quennell, who is walking a short distance away. He hauls ass through the trees, but while he is trying to locate the source of the screams, we see the dark figure of the monster bent over a prone Britewell, seemingly feeding at a wound on the poor bastard’s neck. He moans as the creature sucks his blood. Hearing Quennell approach, the beast flees. When the inspector finds Britewell, the guy is in bad shape. He spits out the words Death’s Head before Quennell tries getting him up and to a doctor.

As this is transpiring, Granger is looking on from a hiding spot. He then flees back to Mallinger’s house. We also see Clare hurrying through the woods, as if trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible.

Back at the house Clare asks Granger if he has seen Britewell, but the butler says that he has not. Quennell takes the injured Britewell to Mallinger’s house as well. I suppose that is the closest place where medical attention could be found. Mallinger looks at Britewell and pronounces him dead. When Quennell asks if Mallinger knows the dead man, the professor claims to having never seen Britewell before in his life.

Quennell passes on Britewell’s last words to his superiors. Despite having leave scheduled for the following week, the inspector decides to cancel it and stay on the case.

At Mallinger’s place we see Granger wandering around a room that has sheets over all the furniture. He picks up what looks like a pool cue and begins heading down the stairs to the cellar. Partway down the stairs a bird flaps into view and attacks him. He screams and we also hear the cry made by the monster. Now, the brief glimpse we just got of a bird attacking Granger made it clear that it was normal sized bird of prey. Not some human sized monster with wings. Yet the monster cry we hear implies that the butler is being attacked by the monster and not just a normal, every day bird. As Granger screams, we see Professor Mallinger watching through a grated opening.

Elsewhere, Quennell is preparing to see his daughter Meg transported to the house of some relatives. He tells Sergeant Allan that he will be back in a couple of hours and in the mean time, he would like Allan to find out about the most recent victim – his name, where he came from, his business and such. Allan doesn’t need to investigate and relates how Britewell came to the police station asking directions to Mallinger’s place and how the young man had brought animal specimens to the professor from Africa. Realizing that Mallinger lied to him about not knowing Britewell, Quennell orders the carriage driver to make for Mallinger’s place. His daughter will just have to come along for the ride.

They arrive at Mallinger’s house, but no one answers the front door. Telling Meg to stay in the carriage, Quennell states his intention to go check around back. No one answers the back door, either, so what does he do? Why, he produces a pocketknife, jimmies the lock on a window and lets himself inside. Hey! Ever hear of a warrant, pal?

"How many times have I told you to not pick at your acne?"Inside he finds the house empty. Walking around, he calls for Granger the butler, but there is no answer. Eventually he makes his way to the cellar and through the mysterious door we saw Mallinger pass through sometime earlier. Beyond is a small dirty room with numerous human bones littering the floor. Retracing his steps, Quennell sees something on the cellar floor and collects it in an envelope. Returning upstairs, he does some more snooping and finds the clawed up body of Granger, stuffed into a cabinet. He wastes no more time in running back outside and ordering the carriage driver to return to the police station. Meg isn’t happy about missing her train, but he tells her she can catch one the next day.

At the morgue, the police doctor informs Quennell that Granger did not die like the other recent victims. The morgue attendant makes another wisecrack while eating his food, then Sergeant Allan shows up and tells Quennell that Mallinger’s cook and housemaid have been located and are ready for questioning. Upon interviewing them, Quennell learns that Mallinger paid his entire staff a month’s wages to close up the house and leave by morning. Both feel that there was something fishy going on, as Mallinger was hardly ever seen. They don’t know where he has gone, but do know that the carriage driver took him and his daughter to the train station.

At the train station, the baggage handlers easily recall Mallinger and the fuss he made over some of the small boxes with which he was traveling. When asked if they know where Mallinger was going, both recall the shipping labels they affixed to his luggage: Upper Higham. Quennell reports his findings to his superior and makes plans to travel to Upper Higham with Meg, under the guise of being a bank manager and his daughter on holiday. He leaves Sergeant Allan behind to keep an eye on the case at that end.

In Upper Higham, Mallinger and Clare have set themselves up in new digs, the latter quickly scoping out the local population of young, virile, sweaty males…most notably Clem the groundskeeper.

Now we come to the point where we learn the true foundation for all of 19th century science. The one basic procedure upon which all discoveries of the era were founded: zapping dead frogs with electricity. Seriously, in every movie set during this time, scientists are always zapping a dead frog for some reason. Wanna learn about muscular problems? Zap a dead frog. Need to figure out something about brains and neurology? Zap a dead frog. Hell, I’m sure long before viagra and cialis came along, the quick fix for droopy schlongs involved zapping a dead frog – what was done with the frog after zapping it is something I don’t wanna know.

Anyway, we see Professor Mallinger in his new lab engaged in important research. Yes, he is zapping a dead frog. Clare enters and complains about having to move to this wretched place. Mallinger gripes at her for disturbing him and reminds her that she knows perfectly well why they had to move. The two banter back and forth and I must say, the two seem less and less like father and daughter and much more like business partners in a failing endeavor. She seems to be waiting for him to accomplish something and is getting impatient. He tells her to leave him alone so he can get it done quicker. As she goes, he warns her to stay in the house and not go outside. This she does, but still manages to spy on Clem from a window.

"Yes, I'd love to eat your muffin...er...I mean, I'd love a muffin with this soup."Elsewhere, Inspector Quennell and daughter Meg have checked into the inn where they will be staying. He chats with the innkeeper and subtly inquires about Mallinger, but the other man has never heard of him. A Mr. Warrander and his son William are also guests at the inn and over dinner we learn that young William is a budding entomologist. He’s known as Billy the Bug Catcher amongst his friends. I suppose that is better than Billy the Buggering Bug Catcher or Billy the Bug Buggerer. Upon meeting Meg, the young man is obviously smitten.

The next day young William is stomping about the woods, waving a net around in his attempts at catching butterflies. This may be the 19th century, but I know a geek when I see one. Meg is close by picking flowers…or berries…or something. Who cares? Anyway, she prevents him from catching and killing one specimen in particular. He mumbles something about “girls” and races off deeper into the woods.

Not far away, Clare Mallinger is tending to her plants when she sees William bumbling into view, followed by Meg. The dork has caught another moth, but before he can bottle this one up, Clare rushes outside, confronts the pair and after releasing the moth, runs them off.

In his lab, Professor Mallinger is monkeying around with his scientific doodads. Amazingly enough, it does not involves zapping dead frogs with electric current. It does involve building up and storing an electrical charge into a jar that features a metal hook protruding from it. Once he is satisfied that the jar has enough electric juice, he takes it to another room where a large cocoon hangs from a low archway. The creature inside resembles a moth. Mallinger touches the jar’s metal hook to the creature, transferring the electric charge, but there is no immediate visible result.

Clare enters and demands to know when “it’ will be done. Mallinger says two, maybe three weeks. She reminds him that he has said this before and asks if something has gone wrong. He says yes, the electric charge is not working. The creature needs nourishment – blood. Human blood to be precise. Human blood from a young girl to pinpoint it. Clare gets this strange look on her face, as if she has the perfect candidate it mind.

We now see Meg leisurely walking down a country path. Clare rolls up on a carriage and apologizes for her rude behavior the previous day. The two chat and Clare learns that Meg is not a local, but is on holiday with her father. Clare invites Meg to take a ride with her and the young woman agrees. Bad decision.

The next thing we see is poor Meg strapped to a table and having her blood drawn. Fortunately, she is unconscious, or else she’d likely be screaming. Hell, I know I’d be screaming…especially given the fact that a six-foot moth person was hanging from the ceiling a few feet away. Mallinger is transfusing the blood to the creature, which is finally showing signs of life. He then stops the procedure and hypnotizes Meg into leaving, returning at the same time the following day and remembering nothing of the whole affair.

So Meg wanders back to the inn in a daze where her father has been justifiably worried. She passes off her absence as being the result of a long walk and begs off dinner in order to hit the hay early.

One minute your're makin' out with a total babe......but when the morning comes and those beers wear off...look out!The next day Clem is chopping wood and burning big piles of leaves. Clare comes along and the two embrace. It seems she has been busy winning over his affections. Afraid of fire, she pulls him away into the trees where they find a secluded spot and begin to kiss passionately. While they are still lip-locked, Clare transforms into a hideous beast, the same one responsible for all the previous murders.

Honestly, tell me that you didn’t see that one coming. It was fairly obvious that she was the monster/killer. They way she lured poor Britewell into the woods and seemingly vanished while he was attacked, the way she is always eyeing the young males around her, her fear of flames and spiders – all a dead giveaway. No, my concern at this point is poor Clem. The poor SOB is in the middle of snogging what he thinks is a gorgeous babe when she transforms into the fugliest broad in six counties. Seriously, that usually happens the morning after an epic beer drinking binge, but never halfway through the first kiss. I can only imagine the years and years of therapy this poor bastard is going to need…that is, if he survives the encounter.

Like any sane man, when confronted with the fact that he is kissing the fugliest chick around, Clem lets loose with a horrid scream. Then again, the fact that a hideous monster might be biting into his neck could be reason enough to wail like a proverbial banshee. Professor Mallinger hears the cry and comes running. Alas, he is too late. All he finds is Clem’s body and the sound of flapping wings echoing through the treetops.

At the inn, young William Warrender is in the common room, looking over the butterfly and moth specimens he caught that day. Inspector Quennell and Meg sit nearby. William makes an off-hand reference to the Death’s Head moth, which grabs Quennell’s attention, seeing as how those were the last two words the late Mr. Britewell managed to gurgle forth before he expired like last month’s milk. William explains that the term Death’s Head refers to the pattern on the moth’s wings, which are made up of tiny little scales. Quennell asks to see and is shown a specimen through a microscope. Guess what they look like? Right! All those strange objects found near the scene of the murders and the object Quennell found in Professor Mallinger’s abandoned cellar…only those were much larger. The inspector decides it’s time to maker a call…er…send a telegraph, and leaves.

Over at Mallinger’s new place, the professor is chastising Clare for feeding on Clem. We learn that Clare is not his daughter, but a creature he created in the lab. He has been working on a new creature – a male of the same species to be her companion, but realizing that all Clare has done is spread death everywhere she goes, I guess the old boy has enough sense to realize that a male and female are bad news for the Human species. We’d be nothing but food for them. He decides to destroy both of his creations. He grabs a jar of some liquid and tosses it on the nearby male (which is still hanging from the ceiling in its cocoon). The creature instantly goes up in flames as if it were a Ford Pinto. Naturally, this does not sit well with Clare, who transforms into her Moth shape and attacks Mallinger.

Elsewhere, Meg and William have decided to take a walk together and comes across the elder Warrander, who is sitting by the river, fishing. He thinks he has snagged the line on something and calls his son to help. The two pull on the line and what should pop out of the water? Why, it’s the pale, cold body of the Clem. Of course, being a young female, Meg has to scream at the sight as if she just sat bare-assed on hot coals.

Back at the inn, Quennell is relaxing when Sergeant Allan arrives. He has brought the reports that Quennell telegraphed and asked for. He looks them over and they detail the backgrounds on the late Mr. Britewell and the elusive Professor Mallinger. He sees a connection – both men were scientists who studied entomology. He then shows Allan the scales previously collected and outlines his theory that either by design or by accident, Mallinger has created a giant moth that feeds on human blood.

"Yep, he's dead. Too bad. Tell me...do you like sausages?"Allan is skeptical, but is called away by the landlord to look over the body recently pulled from the river. When he sees that the wounds on the body are identical to those of the men murdered earlier, he calls in Quennell. The landlord explains that the body is that of young Clem, a local gardener. He also explains that Clem worked for a Mr. Miles and that Meg and the Warranders have gone to his house, possibly to see his butterfly collection. Quennell realizes that this Miles is most likely Professor Mallinger. He and Allan rush out, headed for the house in question.

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

It’s dark and we see Meg slowly walking alone through the woods. The blank look in her eyes means that either Mallinger’s hypnotism has kicked in and she is returning as instructed, or she just attended an Amway seminar.

At the Miles/Mallinger place, Clare is turning away young William Warrander, who has come to see her “father” and show him the Death’s Head moth he caught that day. Upon hearing this, she decides to accompany him on his return walk. Meanwhile, Meg has made her way back into the house where the sight of Mallinger’s body snaps her out of her hypnotized state. She screams, grabs a lamp and runs. Predictably she trips at one point and drops the lamp, which breaks on impact and starts a fire.

Quennell and Allan arrive, rush inside and help Meg to her feet. Allan stomps out the fire while Quennell takes Meg to the carriage. About this time a horrible scream arises in the distance, which we know to be young William Warrander being attacked by Clare. Quennell and Allan rush off again. This time they see the beast as it attacks the youth. Allan fires his pistol overhead, which scares the Clare-Moth away. They check on William, who seems to be ok. Apparently, the Clare-Moth had yet to sink her fangs into his neck.

Allan takes a few shots at the Clare-Moth as it flies around, but cannot hit it. Quennell realizes the one sure-fire way to kill a moth and quickly takes a lantern and uses it to ignite a large pile of dead leaves. Soon the fire is raging and in true moth fashion, the Clare-Moth is attracted to Yeah, she was really smokin' hot alright.the light and flies right into the flames. As the creature burns we get a slight glimpse at the human form it once wore and then it’s nothing but smoldering ashes.

“What are we going to tell them, sir?” Allan asks. “They’ll never believe this at the yard.”

“They’ll never believe it anywhere,” Quennell replies.

One last shot at the smoldering ashes. Roll credits.

By the way, seeing as how he was proven correct, in that the murderer was a giant flying moth person, I wonder if Joe the carriage driver will ever be released from that mental asylum. Probably not.

The End.

Review


WTF? What the hell kind of ending was that?! I just sat through this film and that was the final confrontation? Seriously? That’s what I get for investing nearly and hour and half? Where to start…

It’s easy to see why many might think this film was produced by Hammer studios. You’ve got a late 19th century setting, star Peter Cushing and it was made in the same decade that saw the bulk of Hammer’s releases. However, this particular film was from Tigon British Film Productions who, along with Amicus Productions, tried to get in on the horror movie action that Hammer has so obviously perfected. Both produced numerous horror films in the late 60’s/early 70’s with Amicus specializing in the anthology horror film. Many of these movies are considered classics and are eagerly sought on home video today, where the sight of Hammer staples like Cushing or Christopher Lee (often in the same film together), further lends support to the idea that these were Hammer productions.

Yeah, she was really smokin' hot alright.Alas, while Hammer films are known for their rich atmosphere, this film fails to evoke a similar feeling when viewed. Despite the period setting and costumes, one feels more like they are watching a historical drama rather than a gothic horror story. Much of this has to do with the story itself…it’s deadly dull at worst and slow at best. There is very little in the way of monster action. The few attacks by the titular Blood Beast are usually represented by the agonized scream of the victim echoing through the woods and then a dark form bent over their prone form. A scant few seconds at best. It’s not until the end that we see the beast more clearly and that moment is somewhat of a let down. And don’t even get me started on how utterly un-climactic the ending is.

Without much monster action, the film presents itself as more of a mystery and follows the efforts of Cushing’s character as he attempts to piece together the disparate clues and determine exactly who or what is responsible for a recent spate of murders. This being 19th century England as viewed through 1960’s cinema, this investigation is about as exciting as watching the grass grow. Polite conversation follows polite conversation and not much really happens, transforming the film from horror outing to a wannabe Jane Austen novel. That said, the dialogue and character interaction at least help propel a glacial plot and if one focuses on that, one might find the movie going by faster than expected.

Overall, this movie can be boring as hell or mildly interesting, given your personal tastes. Monster lovers had better not get too excited and lovers of 19th century gothic stories might not get the same level of atmosphere as seen in other films. I’d say watch the movie at least once, but don’t expect a classic.

 

Expect To See:
Crazed Killers - Somebody or something is killing young men, draining them of their blood, but who...or what could it be? A madman? A flying monster? Dracula?
Forest Hijinks - Almost every exterior shot in this film is set in or near the woods. Thus, there is plenty of action occurring amongst the trees…though not that kind of action.
Giant bugs - While the oversized moth here is not a gargantuan monstrosity like Mothra, it's still much bigger than its normal-sized cousins. It's also much, much hungrier.
Monsters - Not one, but two human sized moth creatures that feed on human blood. One just hangs around all day while the other actively pursues fresh food.
Science - Once again, an idiot scientist does something just because he can. This is how we end up with horrors like blood drinking monsters, atomic bombs and Dancing with the Stars.
Violence - While several people meet untimely ends, most deaths occur off screen. We only get one last "yeaargh" of a scream and then we see a clawed up body a bit later.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 6
Smokes: 3
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 3
Cups of tea consumed: 2
Times Mallinger slaps someone: 2
Times Mallinger loses his cool: 5
Stock footage shots: 4
Total gunshots fired: 7
Characters committed to insane asylum: 1
Audience members committed to insane asylum: undetermined

02 Min – What was that? Is this The Gong Show?
04 Min – Somebody get a giant can of RAID, quick!
05 Min – Is everyone in that room smoking?
29 Min – Worst. Play. Ever.
38 Min – Angry Bird.
40 Min – Warrant or no warrant, he’s going in.
64 Min – At least they were only kissing.
69 Min – The fresh catch of the day. Yikes.
78 Min – Like a moth to a flame...er...wait...
79 Min – Hold on a sec! That’s it?!! That's the end?


Shadow's Drinking Game: Since so very little happens in this film more than once or twice, I had to get creative when it came time for the drinking game. So, every time someone uses the word "sir" when speaking to another character, take a drink. This should help liven things up considerably.

 

Images Click for larger image

"...I'm very good at integral and
differential calculus; I know
the scientific names of being
animalculous..."



"For the life in me, I cannot figure
out where those tissues samples
disappeared to."


"That there, sir is shit. What I have
in my hand is Shinola.
See the difference?"

 
"That Sanders guy will have
nothing on my secret 23 herbs
and spices recipe for fried Eagle."

"No, I don't think your idea to open a
chain of Kenton Fried Eagle
restaurants is very good."


Is Nicole Kidman hiding in that
room somewhere?


 
Proof that cheap weight loss
clinics are best avoided.

 
Okay, who didn't put the lid back on
the ketchup before putting it away?

"Ever since Rowling came along we
get at least one idiot a day asking
for platform 9 and 3/4."


"Cool, they have a copy of The
120 Days of Sodom
."

"All this needs is a butternut
squash puree and dinner
is served!"

Early concept work for the character
of BUG from the
Guardians of the Galaxy
movie.

That is the cheapest Kamen Rider
outfit I have ever seen.

"So, what do you think of my
costume for ComicCon this year?"

"Wait until I get this new Skaven
army painted up, then we'll see
who's laughing at the game store!"

"Someone turn the heat down,
I'm roasting!"

 

Immortal Dialog

Quennell asks the Joe the carriage driver exactly what he saw.

Joe: "‘Wings, sir! I saw wings, sir! Horrible wings, sir!"

Shadow’s Comment: Yeah, I wasn't overly fond of that Paul McCartney project, either.


Mallinger and his daughter discuss the dietary requirements of his latest experiment.

Mallinger: “It needs nourishment.”
Clare: “Blood.”
Mallinger: “Yes. Blood. Human blood.”
Clare: “Blood of a young girl?”
Mallinger: “That would do perfectly.”

Shadow’s Comment: Sheesh, why can't a plate of bangers and mash do the trick?

 

Keep In Mind
  • Asking that someone "raise the gas" had an entirely different meaning in the 19th century.
  • It's okay for police detective inspectors to bring their children with them on important cases.
  • Throughout history, coronors have always enjoyed taking a meal while on the job, surrounded by corpses.
  • Butlers are always creepy.
  • Cupboards are the best place to hide a dead body.
  • Hypnotism is a required skill for entomologists.
  • Moth people are only slightly less flammable than gasoline.



This Film & Me

I had never heard of this film until just a few years ago. The idea sure sounded good, and I sure do like Hammer studios-style horror films, so what could be so bad about it? UGH! The first time I saw this movie was after I bought the DVD. Despite the lack of monster action in this film, I was really surprised at how fast things moved along. I can't say that I think the film is a classic, but I can't call it crap. Let's just say that it was entertaining enough for me to not lose interest.

Shadow's rating: Five Tombstones



The Good

  • Peter Cushing!
  • Decent period atmosphere
  • Cute girls
  • Adequately paced

The Bad

  • Almost zero monster action
  • Very little seems to happen in film

The Ugly

  • Bad monster suit
  • Final confrontation with monster is a total let down
  • Too many unanswred questions about monster's origins

 

 

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