Queen of Blood (1966)

Directed by Curtis Harrington [Other horror films: Night Tide (1961), How Awful About Allan (1970), What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971), Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972), The Killing Kind (1973), The Cat Creature (1973), Killer Bees (1974), The Dead Don’t Die (1975), Ruby (1977), Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978), Usher (2000)]

A 1966 movie starring John Saxon, with appearances from Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper? Is this an undiscovered classic waiting to be unleashed from the vaults it so cruelly was forced into?

The answer, unfortunately, is no. Queen of Blood is, above all else, a rather dull affair, which is a damn shame, as the year previous brought forth a fantastic voyage into space horror, being Planet of the Vampires. What we have here feels not too far removed from Lifeforce, only this is lifeless.

It’s hard to say why the movie is as boring as it is – part of this is likely due to the fact that nothing much happens until the last thirty or so minutes of the film. Much of the movie is dry, but it doesn’t even really help build characterization or anything. It’s just dull and an exercise in tediousness.

Of course, Queen of Blood had potential. The ending is almost okay, but at the same time, it lacked any type of finale confrontation (I mean, technically, one was there, but it was so weak that it barely felt like it should count). A green, humanoid alien, passive 90% of the time, does not a great antagonist make.

Was John Saxon nice to see? Sure, and I got a blast out of that. But this movie just isn’t worth watching, and sitting through it once is difficult enough.

5/10

La lama nel corpo (1966)

Murder Clinic

Directed by Elio Scardamaglia [Other horror films: N/A]

This early giallo (originally titled La lama nel corpo, and seems best to be known as The Murder Clinic) lacks the flair of many others that come later, yet ends up having a pretty fun and ominous vibe all the same.

While the film lacks the style of earlier entries such as Blood and Black Lace (part of this may be due to the fact that this is Elio Scardamaglia’s, the director, one and only film), the film does have a decent amount of suspense, mystery, and, of course, potential suspects, to offer. It was a bit sluggish at the beginning, but picks up nicely around the twenty minute mark.

Unfortunately, there’s not that much in the way of gore, another thing that slightly sets it apart from its peers. The kills themselves are good, at least when we see them on screen, but it’s not at all a gory film, which was a bit of a shame.

William Berger did exceptionally well as a doctor with more than a few problems. He had a solid screen presence, and I rather liked his complex character. Some of the film’s charm too has to go to Mary Young and Barbara Wilson, especially considering that this is Wilson’s sole film, and just the second of only two films Young was in. Given the lack of experience with the both of them, they really brought something to this movie.

The atmosphere could have been a bit thicker than what it ended up being, admittedly. And like I said, the gore wasn’t really strong at all. But still, you have a fun mystery, a lot of suspects, a few twists, a few surprising deaths, so even though this film lacked the class of many giallos that followed suit, I thought that it was well worth watching.

7.5/10