Blood Thirst

Blood Thirst

Horror | 74 Mins | Released: 1971
Director: Newt Arnold
Starring: Robert Winston, Katherine Henryk, Yvonne Nielson, Vic Diaz, Vic Silayan, Eddie Infante, Bruno Punzalan
Our Rating: 4
Black & White

The plot of “Blood Thirst,” scripted by N.I.P. Dennis in his only listed film credit, is frequently nonsensical, involving a South American belly dancer, played by Yvonne Nielson, who has uncovered an ancient Aztec secret for eternal life, involving regular blood transfusions. To this end, she has enlisted the aid of a Filipino club owner whose visage turns monstrous when he is stalking his prey.

Movie Notes:

Blood Thirst, also known as Blood Seekers and The Horror from Beyond, is a black-and-white horror film directed by Newt Arnold and shot in the Philippines. It tells of an American detective investigating a series of vampiric murders linked to a Manila nightclub.

Blood Thirst was filmed in 1965 but not released in the USA until 1971, where it mostly played the grindhouse circuit.

Vic Diaz vs the Bubblegum Monster
by Andrew Leavold from Brisbane, Australia – 1 November 2007
From the clothes, hairstyles and black and white film grain it looks like Blood Thirst was filmed in the Philippines by an American production company around the mid Sixties, but wasn’t released until 1971 on the bottom of a double bill with British vampire movie Bloodsuckers (1970). Even in 1971 Blood Thirst would have seemed like an anachronistic curio – quaint, and for the most part uneventful, until the ludicrous ending’s payoff where we see the film’s chewed bubblegum-faced monster. Then, and only then, can I say: baby, all is forgiven.

Chubby Vic Diaz (and let’s face it, it’s not a Philippines B film without the seedily lovable Vic) plays Inspector Ramos, a Makati policeman on the trail of missing hostesses from the Barrio Club, a downbeat tourist trap run by the suspicious Senor Calderon. When the girls turn up hanging upside down and drained of blood from cuts on their arms, he sends for his old friend from the States, a cop named Adam Rourke who, as a New Yorker, is obviously used to seeing ritual murders. Posing as an “Ugly American” on a writing assignment, he goes undercover at the Barrio Club, asks one too many questions, cracks jokes like a proto-Arnie while shooting a would-be assassin, and turns out to be an ill-tempered ladies man with his eye on every Caucasian-looking woman in Manila. Just like every sleazy Hawaiian shirted white guy on a Philippines hayride.

His eyes settle on both Inspector Ramos’ adopted sister Sylvia, who resists Rourke’s questionable charms until she can no longer stand it, and on the Barrio Club’s featured attraction, the exotic dancer and blond Peruvian bombshell named Serena. It seems her beauty is more than skin-deep: it’s vein-deep, and may be the still-beating heart of a blood cult of Mayan or Incan origin – or older, we’re never quite sure – in which Golden Goddesses are kept eternally youthful with the blood of club hostesses. The Golden Goddess theory may explain, though not fully, why Serena looks more Swedish than Peruvian, but definitely won’t point to where she’s stashed her stewardess uniform for Scandinavian Airlines.

And so to the “horror” element: a blood cult, a bubblegum faced monster waving a knife at a young girl strapped to an altar. And…that’s pretty much it. It’s an odd film reminiscent of an undercooked episode of Hawaii Five-O minus the pineapple, that’s more interested in its mystery angle than the gore or supernatural elements. It also feels empty, and not just plot-wise – Blood Thirst is the only film I can recall that makes a city of over 10 million people seem uninhabited. Still, it’s an interesting 73 minutes, more for what it is than what it does: a cheapo spook-show which predates the John Ashley/Roger Corman deluge of Philippine horrors by several years. And, to be fair, it’s not every day you see a monster clobbered to death by an undercover cripple’s fake leg.

Adam: There’s a killer on the loose… a homicidal maniac with delusions of ancient history. Now, can I use your phone?