May 30, 2010 at 5:49 am (6 Heads, 7 Heads, Bloodlust!) (, , )

Bloodlust! – 1961 – United States

Bloodlust! (dig the exclamation), like many others flicks, is inspired Richard Connell’s short story The Most Dangerous Game. Two teenage couples land their boat on a jungle island owned by a rich millionaire. After staying in a dreary manor (complete with human taxidermies), the teens are forced into the jungle where the millionaire stalks them with a crossbow powerful enough to explode marble statues. After the trailer promised “Nerve-shattering thrills!” and “Brutal killings!”, I already decided to like this one.

For such a cheap and artless movie (filmed in 1961, looking like 1941), Bloodlust! creates a strikingly bleak and oppressive atmosphere only brightened (unintentionally) by the teens’ hip lingo. The island is lonely, the jungle is dark, the mansion is decrepit, and the millionaire’s nonchalant violence is chilling. In a particularly eerie scene, a man (another of the millionaire’s quarries) stumbles upon the teens, and mad with fear, attacks. Also, the sparingly used music is very appropriate.

For its time, Bloodlust! is pretty extreme. People are crossbowed, melted by acid, sucked by leeches, and crucified, and the millionaire’s human trophy room (although not gory) is the most gruesome of all. I’d love a stuffed man kneeling and begging for his life in my own jungle castle. Plus, the teens share a few moments of sassy innuendo, which is great fun since the blonde (who practices judo, no less) is adorable.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. Bloodlust! is a fast cheapie for the drive-ins, but with a lot of flavor. It’s public domain fare, so catch it in a variety of DVD box sets.

12/27/2017 Update:

For a 1961 teen movie, Bloodlust! is surprisingly grisly. Gory wounds and severed limbs are depicted, and the human taxidermies are pretty macabre.

The film’s villain is a retired sniper who went crazy while serving in War World II. This is also surprising. Movies of this era rarely characterize veterans negatively.

Betty, the teen judo expert, is awesome.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Mystery! Suspense! Horror!


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