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DVD Review: Bloodsuckers (1970)

Bloodsuckers I make no excuses for my love of 70s British horror movies  - so when I encounter one that stars Peter Cushing, Patrick Macnee (fresh from The Avengers), Patrick Mower, Edward Woodward and Imogen Hassall as a female vampire - well, it's too good to be true.

And unsurprisingly, Robert Hartford-Davis' Bloodsuckers (also known as Incense For The Damned) is too good to be true. But not as bad some people claim - including the director himself.

The film is a "what might have been" and quite obviously released without being fully realised - the voiceovers and abrupt changes of scene are enough to tell you that this was pasted together in something of a hurry. Hartford-Davis disowned it and it didn't actually get a full release until 1976. None of this bodes well for the potential viewer. But don't write it off just yet - it does have its merits.

The story itself is one. Patrick Mower is Richard Fountain, an Oxford Don in Greece researching a book. A group of friends go on the hunt for him, shocked that a trail of unsolved murders lead back to Fountain's trail. Eventually they find him, in the presence of a female vampire (Imogen Hassall). She is killed (or so they think), he is rescued - but too late -  he's a vampire too (but they don't know it).

That - with the cast available - should have made a cracking film. But it doesn't, it just makes an interesting film. The scenery shooting in Greece is fantastic, the story keep ticking along nicely, but it all seems to end a little too quickly. And you feel short-changed - both with the amount of screen time you get from the big names and the fact that you know, deep down, that this could have been a really great movie if the money men at Titan had dug a little deeper into their collective pockets.

But they didn't - and we're left with a film that the Brit horror brigade (myself included) will enjoy as a quirky period piece, but more casual viewers will see as a forgettable slab of old horror.

Extras on the DVD:

Original cinema trailer
Deleted psychedelic drug scene
Still photos


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