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I DRINK YOUR BLOOD! Prof. Tread is stepping up to the plate to finally defend a film best known for the T-shirt. Well, for the T-shirt and the ad campaign that featured I EAT YOUR SKIN. If you have ever read a zine, watched a trailer compilation tape or been to a horror convention, then you know of what I speak. But how many of you have actually seen the film. Searching around the web, it is not as widely reviewed as one might expect. Even more surprising is the fact that most reviewers hate this film, the claim it 'unwatchable," "lame," and even go as far as to say the only reason to watch I DRINK YOUR BLOOD is "either you know somebody in it, or you're a very big fan of badly-done chopped-off heads and hands." Well, let me tell you, we here at Brains On Film found more than enough reasons to enjoy this 1971 Drive-in Classic and if you don't believe it, read up.

I have a tendency in film reviews to play the role of potential director or producer, to look at the idea of some of these films before they actually started production, to give you, the BOF patron, an idea why these films were made or possibly why it seemed like a pretty good idea or not such a good idea to take the premise and run with it. Let's look at I DRINK YOUR BLOOD through those eyes. Charles Manson and his crazy hippie cult were in the news. Mainstream America, saw Berkeley, California hippies with their bellbottoms, long hair and "free love" plastered all over the nightly news protesting the "police action" in Vietnam. Every small burg had its resident "druggie." The threat of traveling broods of shit-smelling, love-in losers rolling into town and lacing the water supply with LSD, might have been on Mr. and Mrs. Middleclass's mind, albeit it far-fetched, who knew what a charismatic, Manson-type with a Jesus complex might do and more importantly what a follower of one of these pied-pipers might willingly to do "for him."

It is not to hard to see through David E. Durston's eyes on this one, middle American's fear of the unknown and the willingness to see all hippies as capable of "culting-up" and going on cross country killing sprees was a no-brainer to someone who wanted to make an exploitation film and was looking for a little inspiration. I DRINK YOUR BLOOD features your Manson character known as Horace Bones. He's ripped, tanned, long-maned and delivers his lines in broken-English with a thick accent that is neither recognizable nor hypnotizing but Bone's followers don't seem to care as they roll into Valley View, following a night of naked, ritualistic, acid eating which has left a young girl, beaten, bruised and on a full-on 'trip" from all the acid heaped upon her by Horace's followers. Horace, played to the hilt by no-comer, Bhaskar, reminds of this guy that played, dammit, is still playing in this hippie-tastic shit-burger of a band from around these parts called Catawampus. Their mention is a far cry from any sort of endorsement, as for the past 7 years they have spread their brand of patchouli-ridden dope-rock on the mindless masses led by this same sort of "spiritual leader" as Horace Bones, but instead of leading his minions to Satan or LSD, he is happy to have them smoke as much Kentucky-homegrown as possible while they allow him to point his "sex-ray" (his term not mine) at any willing, fresh-faced newcomer to the scene. Newcomers mainly because more girls have fallen prey to his Cannabis Love Generator (his again, not mine) than I can count and have deemed it a 'roach' at best. Sorry about that, but I am trying to draw a picture here. This Horace has to be a leader mainly because of his looks, his rap doesn't mean much, "Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head." Horace espouses. I submit this for consideration. Could Durston's motivation be to make the strongest anti-subculture film ever made? By using the 'fairy tale' device of warning the drive-in viewer of a fate sure to befall any youth who choose to adopt a life of Bohemian travel, drug use, petty idolatry and Satanism, Durston may have been showing his true conservatism.

Our flock is a literal "rainbow coalition" we have blacks, whites, Asian (Jadine Wong, who started in film back in 1939, plays the part of Sadie, a stereotypical Asian Dragon Lady character), a pregnant, unmarried female and more. Durston sought to inform us that no race or social class were beyond becoming victims to the trap know as "hippyism."

Upon the hoard's van trouble, Horace decides that they will holdup for awhile in Pottersville in an abandoned hotel, they are penniless, hungry and dirty, so when Horace mentions to the group that the platter d'jour will be rat, no one seems to mind and the they begin 'the hunt."

Durston introduces our hero-family when we learn that they young girl that was pursued during the opening ritual lives with her little brother, Pete and her Grandpa, who is a veterinarian We are aso introduced to a local lady who runs a bakery in the town, which has been nearly deserted because of a dam which is being built. This again is some sort of political statement for the times. Tennessee, as well as other states, had their share of debate about dam building, power plants and the like and obviously Durston had some feelings about the use of public land to bring power to rural communities. Durston was playing to the Southern Drive-in audience. Fear of hippies, dams and infiltration were more common to most working class Southerners than Communism and the Vietnamese. Although it is no mistake in the casting of Jadine Wong to exploit the anti-Asian hate/fear of the war-torn early seventies and her death scene will appeal to your memory of a famous scene immortally captured on film from the same time period. When Grandpa shows up with a shotgun to "discuss" the doping of his granddaughter he is beatdown and drugged as well, and so it goes. Pete, the younger brother decides to take matters into his own hands and with the help of his grandfather's veterinarian embalming equipment, drains the blood of a rabid dog, injects in into the meat pies at the bakery and invites the herd to indulge, and that they do.

From this point in the film, we are given, one violent act after another to ingest, as rabies has quickly befallen our Satanic stoners. In a bizarre twist construction workers are also part of the mix as they become part of the foaming mouth band of insatiable, blood lusting Old Yellars. Initially given an X-rating, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD exists in various forms as far as scenes which are excluded. The dam builders, in the Japanese cut, rape or just plain fuck, one of the infected hippies and even subject her to a shower to try and cool her down, thus, ending up with the infection. This obvious no-no to rape or sexual deviancy once again is Durston's plea to not fall prey to indecent living. He also explored this in a later film, STIGMA, most notable for starring Phillip Michael Thomas, who mumbled his way through numerous seasons on Miami Vice, as a VD infected dude spreading his love around. David Cronenberg, touched on the same theme in the Marilyn Chambers sleepy effort, RABID.

Water or fear of, becomes the main plot device and a garden hose becomes the film equivalent of a flame thrower. Eventually the 'authorities" show up and wipe out the frothing Garcia-worshippers and their damned, dam building Neanderthal buddies, but no before we are given possibly one of the strongest anti-abortion statements ever delivered via exploitation films as our curly-haired preggers takes her own life as well as the life of her unborn baby by seeing the error of her ways, realizing it is too late, and thrusting a wooden stake into her bulbous belly. Yowsa, this scene alone should grant I DRINK YOUR BLOOD a place on the mantle among sleaze classics. Strong and effective, like a shot of cheap bourbon, the message comes through...if you play this hippy shit, then you pay, dippy shit. Durston effectively revisits the fairy tales of old to warn America's youth to be leery of Satan, drugs, false-idols, bad clothing and sex or pay the price of a chubby kid filling up your meat pie with Rabies and the feds fucking your shit up. Oh yeah, keep your damned dams to yourself as well. To view I DRINK YOUR BLOOD as merely another horror film is to miss the point of Durston's work, but now you know, watch it again.

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD is available uncut from a couple of our favorite video dealers, CINEFEAR and WITCHING HOUR VIDEO who also will sell you one of those damned T-shirts. Tell them I sent you!

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She is pregnant.

Now she ain't.

Rabid construction dude.
Hippie chicks sure were cute.

Horace Bones, our Manson character.

These hiipies were not the car customizing kind.

Gramps gets off on the LSD.

Brolied rat, boiled rat, baked rat, rat soup, rat pilaf...

Petey gets all scientific on these meat pies.

Foam, the tell-tale rabies sign.

The sexy, rape scene from the Asian print.

The not so sexy shower scene!

I don't think he is looking for a tree.

Dragon Lady Jadine Wong.

Study your history....

Okay, now I like this shot.

What would you do?

Horace Bones, just for the ladies.

Horace gets the blade.
Brains On Film 2003