I'm one of those who loves old horror films especially the one's from
England which have their own unique style but let's face it, not all of
them were top notch efforts and I think this clearly is one of those
despite it's sincerity. Story is set in Victorian England where bodies
have been piling up completely drained of blood and Police Inspector
Quennell (Peter Cushing) has taken over the case. He also notices that
the bodies have strange wounds about the face and this leads him to
believe that some sort of flying beast is what's causing their deaths.
What Inspector Quennell doesn't know is that his acquaintance Dr. Karl Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) who's an entomologist has somehow transformed his daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham) into a half human/half moth creature that feeds on blood. Clare has the ability to turn into this beast anytime she feels but she wants a male mate and her father has been very busy trying to bring to life another vampiric Deathshead moth but when he feels that Quennell's investigation has brought him too close they pack up and leave. Inspector Quennell tracks down Clare and Dr. Mallinger to another town but hasn't figured out exactly where they are living until his daughter Meg starts acting strange and when another body pops up this points him in the right direction to end everything!
This less than spectacular effort was directed by veteran Vernon Sewell who was no spring chicken in 1968 and would end up directing only one more film after this but one has to wonder if his age or the reception this film had that prompted that. Hammer Studios was so successful during the 1960's that it led to other studios being created such as Tigon Productions which made this film but it never had any huge hits and went kaput in the early 1970's. One of the big reasons (if not the entire reason) that this film fails to be suspenseful is because of the poor special effects which has Ventham in her moth form appearing in an outfit no different than the one that Susan Cabot wore in "The Wasp Woman" and I never could understand how these creatures could morph into another life form and have their clothes disappear! Wouldn't they be monsters wearing the same clothes like Lon Chaney Jr. did in "The Wolf Man"? I also noticed a few other things that may or may not interest anyone (but...who cares?) like the scene where the morgue attendant (played by creepy Roy Hudd) is having dinner on a slab with a body and if you look closely you'll see the cadavers foot move more than once. I also never did fully understand the reason Dr. Mallinger's scarred servant was so mean to the birds that were kept and for what purpose his death meant but I'm guessing it was to just keep him quiet...for good! It's also safe to say that Billy the bug catcher isn't going to be getting laid anytime soon because it appeared that the bleary eyed Meg was actually interested in him but all he wanted to do was kill bugs. He's about "THAT CLOSE" from being Renfield! The ending also hurts this film and it's hard to believe that some giant moth-creature would just fly into some fire and be killed after being intelligent enough to lure victims to secluded areas. If your a fan of English horror films (like myself) than you'll find this watchable and a good reason for that is the casting of Cushing who's mere presence raises this from junk to passable entertainment. I am recommending this because true horror film fans will find enough here to keep them interested and I have to admit that I'm one of those who's a sucker for these types of films even if it's not from Hammer.
The Blood Beast Terror
Action / Horror
The Blood Beast Terror
Action / Horror
London Inspector Quennell [Peter Cushing] is investigating the deaths of several men found on the heaths. The only witness is said to be insane, raving about a huge creature with wings and horrible eyes, and all of the bodies have been drained of blood and badly scratched. Quennell wonders if the attacker might have been a large eagle and seeks out information from his old friend, Professor Karl Mallinger [Robert Flemyng], an entomologist at the university. Mallinger doubts that an eagle could be responsible for the deaths. What he fails to tell Quennell is that his experiments have transformed his daughter Clare [Wanda Ventham] into a giant, blood-sucking, death's-head moth.When the moth attacks Frederick Britewell [William Wilde], a naturalist just returned from Africa with numerous specimens of moths he has collected for Dr Mallinger, Quennell stumbles upon Britewell's dying body just in time to hear him mysteriously whisper "death's-head." Quennell also finds some peculiar scales around the body in the bushes. Dr Mallinger, who denies ever seeing Britewell before, agrees to try and identify the scales. Quennell returns home to pick up his daugher Meg [Vanessa Howard]. Upon their return, Quennell learns that Britewell was a guest of Dr Mallinger's. His suspicions arisen, Quennell rushes to Mallinger's house only to find the butler dead, several of the mysterious scales lying around, and the house closed up and vacated.After interviewing the maids, who tell him of Mallinger's sudden departure, Quennell learns that Mallinger has moved to the country and he and his daughter follow, taking rooms at a local inn. There, he meets Mr Warrender [John Paul] and his bug-collecting son William [David Griffin], both on a fishing holiday. Meg and William take a liking to each other, and Meg accompanies William on his bug-collecting trips, one of which takes him to the old Miles house, where Mallinger and his daughter have taken up residence and Mallinger is continuing his efforts to create another big death's-head moth as a mate for Clare. Unfortunately, galvanism hasn't worked to awaken the moth, so they hypnotize Meg and transfuse some of her blood into it.On one of his bug-collecting trips, William captures what he thinks is a death's-head moth. When Quennell hears the word "death's-head", he makes the connection to Britewell's dying words. When Warrender and William dredge up the body of Clem Withers [Simon Cain], the gardener at the old Miles house, Quennell puts two and two together. In the meantime, Mallinger has suddenly realized the evilness of his creations and destroyed the male moth. Enraged, Clare turns into mothform and kills her father. William takes his moth to get a confirmed identification from Mallinger, but he is attacked by Clare. Quennell builds a bonfire. Clare flies into it and is burned to a crisp. [Original synopsis by bj_kuehl.]
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July 22, 2016 at 04:08 PM