“SURRENDER TO AN UNHOLY, INSATIABLE EVIL.”
Category: Religious/Occult, Sci-Fi, Vampire
Directed by: Rod Hardy
Written by: John Pinkny
Starring: Chantel Contouri, Shirley Cameron, Max Phipps, Henry Silva, David Hemmings
Music: Brian May
Cinematography: Vincent Monton
In anticipation of the upcoming Patrick remake I busted out my Aussie Horror boxset to rewatch it and realized I never even watched one of the movies in there. I was pleasantly surprised to see this ozploitation film take a cool twist on the often stagnant vampire subgenre, especially back in the late 70’s. Not only is there the vampire aspect, there’s also occult and sci-fi elements. The well off Kate Davis (Chantel Contouri) is out of the blue kidnapped by the sanguine seeking Hyma Brotherhood. Apparently she is the direct descendant of serial killer and supposed vampire Countess Elizabeth Báthory and the organization wants her to join them and have a royal union between vampiric families.They run a highly organized and well funded laboratory where they harvest blood from a”farm” of drugged human hosts. Despite polite suggestion from Dr. Fraser (David Hemmings), Kate’s not super into this lifestyle so she’s given hallucinatory drugs and psychological suggestion by some bitchy doctor whose name escapes me (I watched this last week and I have shitty memory). I can’t really go any further without ruining the movie.
This was shot in the 70’s so it obviously looks dated and the sound editing isn’t perfect but the production is pretty good regardless. The acting is good across the board, Contouri provides us with a strong, believable main character. This isn’t just a typical horror flick, there’s not a ton of gore or being chased by the boogieman, this is paced kind of slow and focuses mainly on Kim trying to deal with and escape the situation she’s been dragged into. The ritual and hallucinatory scenes are really well shot. There’s a cool scene where Kate is tripping balls and her house is falling apart around her with some kind of creature trying to bust its way in.
I really liked how director Rod Hardy and writer John Pinkey decided to take a vampire movie and make it there own. Sure there were other movies about underground vampire organizations but most of them came after this. The thought of vampires being a rich, organized secret community following some crazy ritualistic philosophy with all sorts of scientific degrees is a more unique concept than most of the vampire movie crap that’s come out in the past few years.