The Film: I Drink Your Blood
The Principles: Starring Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Jadin Wong, Rhonda Fultz, Lynn Lowry and George Patterson. Produced by Jerry Gross. Directed by David E. Durston.
The Premise: A vicious gang of Satan worshipping hippies roll into a small town and start tearing shit up. The Manson family inspired cultists rape a local girl and when her grandpa confronts them he’s dosed with some LSD and totally wigs out. These events disturb his young grandson so much he feeds the hippies some meat pies baked with the blood of a dead rabid dog to get back at them. The tainted snack turns them all into a crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth pack of lunatics who begin killing, chewing on and infecting everyone in their path.
Is it any good: This is an exploitation classic from the golden age of grindhouse cinema that is a ton of fun from beginning to end, equal parts zombie flick, devil-worshipping drama and anti-drug message movie that’s all rolled into one angel dust laced joint of a seventies psychotronic masterpiece. It’s a distasteful, sleazy, grimy, poorly shot, excessively violent pile of trash containing quite a bit of gratuitous nudity, but what do you expect from a film produced by a man named Jerry Gross? Bambi?
Rabies and hippies go together like peanut butter and jelly when it comes to pure cinematic insanity and director David E. Durston cranks the volume up to eleven on an obviously limited budget with this Times Square/drive-in delight. The splatter quota is met and exceeded with scenes containing repeated stabbings, be-headings, and dismemberments as the group of deranged Satanists attack the town folk with axes, swords and even an electric carving knife. Imagine Night of the Living Dead on bath salts!
On the acting front I have to give a big shout out to the bug-eyed Indian actor/dancer Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury and his frenzied performance as the rat-barbecuing cult leader “Horace Bones.” He would make Charles Manson feel uncomfortable. The rest of the cast is attractive and reliable, but Chowdhury really aims for the stars with his tweaked-out style and delivery. Also, sexy Lynn Lowry (The Crazies, They Came From Within, Cat People) shows up as a deaf-mute girl.
Is it worth a look: I would think that a film about Satan worshipping hippies with rabies sells itself, but if you still have your reservations I can assure you it is one entertaining watch. I had the pleasure of attending a midnight screening a week ago at The Cinefamily that was hosted by CHUD’s very own Joshua Miller and it was a total blast. A well worn 35mm print was shown and it felt like everyone in attendance was transported from present day West Hollywood to a 1970 Times Square grindhouse for a little while, only without all the bums, hookers and junkies. Well, maybe a few here and there, but who was counting?
Random anecdotes: This is the first film to be rated X by the MPAA based solely on violence. As a result theaters already playing it were threatening to pull the film, so the distribution company granted the theater owners permission to cut the violence themselves in order to keep showing it. Due to this agreement, director David E. Durston says there were hundreds of different “versions” of his film due to individual theaters editing their own reels.
It was originally titled Phobia - but the distributors insisted that the film needed to be a double feature with the 1964 zombie flick I Eat Your Skin so the name was changed to I Drink Your Blood.
Cinematic soul mates: I Eat Your Skin, Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies, Invasion of the Blood Farmers, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Rabid and Quarantine.