Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Blood Beast Terror, Frankenstein meets the Moth Woman

Fan's of the British TV series "U.F.O." will find 1968's "The Blood Beast Terror" most enjoyable.  In Gerry Anderson's "U.F.O." Gabrielle Drake (as Lt. Gay Ellis) and Wanda Ventham (as Col. Virginia Lake), two very shapely heroines, provided much sex-appeal as they saved Earth from alien hordes.  Just before that show hit the telly, Ms. Ventham starred as the creature in our feature today.  So, as far as monster moths go, if "Mothra" didn't shock you, and that stupid Richard Gere film left you wanting, the lovely Wanda Ventham will tantalize you in a movie which Peter Cushing called his worst film ever.
The plot: We have a mad scientist (etymologist), Dr. Mallinger (Robert Flemyng...a last minute replacement for Basil Rathbone) who is really into flying insects.  As he gives his usual dull Thursday night lecture to his university students at his home, two men are killed by a giant moth creature in the woods by his mansion.  As the lecture ends, the evil doctor's beautiful daughter (creation), Clare, brings in some refreshments and cleavage.  Inspector Quennell (Cushing) responds to the killings and brings the corpses to Mallinger's house where they are pronounced dead.  A closer examination of the poor schmucks reveals weird facial wounds and a loss of large amounts of blood.  As the Inspector turns up more clues, his attention turns to Dr. Mallinger, who seems to be hiding a great deal.   
Meanwhile, Clare is pressuring Mallinger to continue his experiments.  The moth woman is becoming a nuisance as she begins to eat Dr. Mallinger's guests.  Feeling the heat, our elusive etymologist flees to his mansion/laboratory in the country, hoping to shake the curious Inspector. Clare's ability to wait for the experiments to conclude wanes and presses the mad doctor to hurry his pace.  Unfortunately for the gardener and many other tourists in the village, the experiments are not moving quick enough. As Clare feeds on more unfortunates, the doctor asks for a young woman's blood as the last stage of creating...well...whatever he is creating in the lab.  Clare abducts the Inspector's beautiful daughter (Vanessa Howard), and now the Inspector must race against a very speedy clock to save his daughter before the doctor can unleash unimaginable horror on England.
Exactly what is the doctor creating in his lab?  Why is Clare so eager to see the experiment's completion?  Will the Inspector be able to save his daughter from a most gruesome fate?  Peter Cushing and Robert Flemyng were grouches regarding their roles in this film, but both do a terrific job.  Wanda Ventham as the beautiful Clare is captivating (...until she turns into the monster, of course).  Not a classic as many of the Hammer horror films of the same period, but fun, nevertheless. Available on Netflix, "The Blood Beast Terror" is a terrific film to experience during a rainy week-end afternoon or evening.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy every appraisal you post. I have fond memories of this one and agree with your analysis wholeheartedly.