Long Live “I Drink Your Blood”

PDVD_275This is one of my all-time favorite exploitation movies.  It really has it all–a good sampling of exploitation tropes, quirky casting decisions, and lots of graphic footage.  If the exploitation bug has bitten you only recently, this is a good film to start with.  It was also one of the first films to be rated X for violence, not sex.

The crux of the film is that the van of nihilistic satanist hippies–how likely is that?–breaks down in a small town, our merry bunch make pests out of themselves.  A young kid in the only moment of greatness in his life decides to lace their food with rabies-infected dog blood as revenge for the beatdown–and acid–the hippies gave Grandpa.  The hippies eat the bad food, which has an odd interaction with the copious amounts of acid they’ve already taken onboard, and they emerge as mindless, zombie-like monsters who, despite their mindlessness, have the uncanny ability–bordering on on a superpower–of finding the nearest blade and going after the others of their group or townsfolk.  The only thing to do is to put them down like the mad dogs they are.

This film comes and goes on YouTube.  It was there a couple years back, then removed.  It was posted again in late April 2013, but was removed less than a month afterwards. It has recently (26 April 2013) been again reposted in its entirety.  But it has been reliably available at Daily Motion. The version below appears to be nearer the 86-minute director’s cut, as opposed to the 77-minute version that’s also out there:

The second half of the movie, the hippies as mindless zombies half, is “a blatant a blatant bid to ride Night of the Living Dead’s cult coattails,” in the words of Joe Kane. Being derivative does not make this flick any less enjoyable, thankfully.  But not everyone seems to have thought so. When this film appeared as a double feature with Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, Craven’s son was teased in school.

Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford say of this film, I Drink Your Blood is the pinnacle of the blood horror movie.  It’s fast, unrelentingly violent, and sexually explicit, dishing out a new shock every few minutes.”  All true, but what I like about this film is that it is a kind of exploitation “sampler.”  Consider all these tropes: the then- (and in some places, still-) current stereotypes of country bumpkins (“hixploitation“), as our small town residents are not at all prepared for the trouble our satanist hippies bring with them.  Then, there are our hippies themselves,  as the film relentless describes them as being a dangerous subculture.  It’s also obviously exploits the recent Charles Manson murders, as pointed out by both Landis and Clifford and Kim Newman.  Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, playing the hippies’ leader “Horace Bones” plays up the unpredictable nihilism that reminds us very much of a more comprehensible version of Charles Manson.

Jadin Wong getting a blood facial
Jadin Wong getting a blood facial

We also see exploitation of Asians in the presence and behavior of the character of Sue-Lin, a silent, malevolent Asian woman.  Her presence and demise by self-immolation is unnecessary to move the story forward; her death exploits images that were then not too distant memories of the war in Southeast Asia of silent Buddhist monks making the same decision.  The most peculiar casting decision is Jadin Wong as the aforementioned Sue-Lin.  Wong, who would have turned 100 years old this year (she passed away in 2010 at age 96) was already a mainstream star, having gotten her start in show business at a young age, and entertained troops in Europe during World War II.  Wong was a pioneer of Asian-American women in entertainment, but only made ten movies as an actress.  Her real mark was as an agent for younger Asian-American actors and actresses for nearly a half century.  In 2004 the US House of Representatives and President George W. Bush recognized Wong for her 70+ years in show business and her cultural contributions.  All this does not add up to Wong taking a role in a low budget exploitation flick.

By this point, I’m way over-thinking this movie, so it’s probably best I end here.  This is an excellent exploitation flick that has a bit of everything in it, and is worth 83 minutes of your precious time.

This post was modified: removed dead YouTube link and added a line about IDYB coming and going on YouTube. (28 May 2013).

8 thoughts on “Long Live “I Drink Your Blood”

  1. Yes, yes, yes, this was a fun watch for me and a friend a few years back-I remember us laughing ourselves sick, but not because we were ripping on a bad film, but more from sheer enjoyment. 70’s horror flicks definitely “went there” in ways that movies hadn’t before and haven’t since.

    1. I agree entirely, Ryan. I find “I Drink Your Blood” pretty well constructed for a zero-budget film. They certainly don’t make ’em like they used to. But it gives me plenty of fodder to write about here!

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