The Blood Drinkers (Philippines, 1964)

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‘A cult of undead creatures seek fresh, warm, human blood!’

The Blood Drinkers is a 1964 Filipino horror film – original title: Kulay dugo ang gabi “Blood is the Colour of Night” – directed by Gerardo De Leon (Terror is a Man; Brides of Blood; Mad Doctor of Blood Island) from a screenplay by Cesar Amigo.

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In the US, it was released by Hemisphere Pictures in 1966 on a double-bill with The Black Cat. It has also been released as Vampire People.

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Producer Cirio H. Santiago also directed a couple of horror movies (Vampire Hookers; Demon of Paradise) but is mainly known for his prolific action movie output.

The film stars Ronald Remy, Amalia Fuentes, Eddie Fernandez, Eva Montes, Celia Rodriguez, Renato Robles, Mary Walter, Paquito Salcedo. Ubiquitous Filipino actor Vic Diaz (Vampire Hookers) provides the voice of a priest and narrator.

Plot:

A vampiric aristocrat, Dr Marco (Ronald Remy), is traumatised that his beloved Katrina is dying. So, he travels to a village to take the heart and blood of her twin sister Christine (both played by Amalia Fuentes) in order to save his beloved.

Aided by a hunchbacked assistant, a sexy female vampire named Tanya (Eva Montes), and a flapping bat, he terrorises the local people until a young traveller named Charles (Eddie Fernandez) arrives to fight off evil…

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Reviews:

The Blood Drinkers is an odd film that floats back and forth between being quite campy at times, and quite effective at others. On the one hand you have some really cheesy elements. There’s a extremely fake looking bat that keeps showing up, complete with wires attached. Marco’s dwarf henchman has ridiculous snaggletooth makeup and keeps making silly “ooh ooh” noises … On the other hand, Marco is a legitimately creepy vampire. Many scenes are effectively eerie and there is a fair degree of creative photography on display.” Forgotten Films

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” …there are striking images on display that show the meeting of traditional Gothic vampire films with the modern age (in this case, 1964). There is a power and sense of humor behind shots of Dr. Marco draped in his black cape, while wearing wraparound sunglasses. Even more tongue-in-cheek, but no less beautiful, is a shot of a horse-drawn carriage transporting an ornate coffin, with a cherry red convertible right behind it … an interesting, but flawed, entry in the genre.” Obsessive Movie Nerd

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“Although the editing is jerky and the English dubbing perfunctory, De Leon makes good use of emotive red and blue sequences to punctuate the black and white film. The film also features an interesting fight between the hero and the vampire in which the villain annoys his opponent by constantly rendering himself invisible.” Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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” …the atmosphere is remarkable. It’s consistently thick, heady, dreamy, and mysterious, with a subdued sexuality. Most scenes are shot at night, swirling with fog, bathed with moonlight, speckled with candles. The stone cemetery and tall mausoleum appear often enough to be considered characters. The unobtrusive score flows beneath the film like an underground river. A theremin accents the vampire attacks…” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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” …the visual star of the film is the decision to film large parts of it in black and white that was later on tinted, mostly in quite striking red and blue tones.

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This lends the film a mood of unreality which fits its rather illogical plot-progression and jumpy editing perfectly, lending the air of a dream to flaws that were probably based on mere incompetence or lack of funds.” The Horror!?

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” …some wonderful use of lighting and smoke and what would be a poor budget looks greater than it should. The film has narration throughout from the priest and takes a very Catholic approach to the subject, so there is no attempt at camp or kitsch here. This is indeed a limited script and scenes are clearly lost but The Blood Drinkers is a gem which should appeal to fans of Bava’s gothics or Marins’ Coffin Joe films.” John White, 10k Bullets

“The film is full of baroque, even outrageous touches (an explanation for vampirism and wooden stakes involving the vampirus bacillus (borrowed from Richard Matheson, perhaps?); a suggestion of vampiric fellatio). But perhaps the strangest sequence in the whole film is the moment when Dr. Marco and Katrina are saved by, yes, the power of prayer. The moody black-and-white cinematography gives way to a flood of (somewhat faded), Technicolor (to indicate a return to normalcy), and the two lovers walk through what looks like a botanical garden gone wild, all lush greenery and tropical blooms.” Critic After Dark

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IMDb

 

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Categories: 1960s, Filipino, surrealist, vampire

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