Bloodsuckers (1971)

Even without knowing the full story of this film’s apparently rather troubled production—all I really knew was that the film sat on the shelf for years before getting distribution (apparently filmed in 1969, limited release in 1971, wider release in 1976)—it was obvious more or less from the get-go that something wasn’t right about it. Something about the excessive voiceover and the even more excessive editing suggests something having gone wrong behind the scenes, and a bit of reading indicates something sure as hell did: seems the money ran out before shooting was finished and director Robert Hartford-Davis was fired from the production while the company tried to patch together something from what they had. The director insisted his name be removed from the credits, and with good reason: whoever did assemble the end result didn’t exactly do a great job of it, so the director wouldn’t want to be blamed for the thing. Then again, what did Hartford-Davis really leave them to work with? Story: an assortment of Oxford University folk head to Greece in search of an associate of theirs who’s got in strife, falling in with some enigmatic woman who turns out to be a vampire. Sort of. The film posits an interesting view of vampirism as a kind of sexual aberration (in a terrific scene with Edward Woodward I must sample the shit out of for musical purposes) rather than a supernatural occurrence, although I got the feeling it was unable to completely accept its own theory. It’s the sort of thing that could’ve been good but, frankly, even considering the film as it stands probably wasn’t what it was meant to be, I don’t think it was ever exactly going to be a great film and it was probably in the wrong hands right from the start. DVD Verdict hilariously calls it “a Hammer movie made by actual hammers”, which kind of makes me wonder what Hammer might’ve done with it… even in 1969 I think they might’ve at least made something decent from the material.

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