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Blood Beast Terror, The

Entry updated 9 April 2018. Tagged: Film.

Film (1968; vt The Vampire Beast Craves Blood US). Directed by Vernson Sewell. Written by Peter Bryan. Cast includes Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng, Vanessa Howard, Wanda Ventham and William Warrender. 88 minutes, cut to 80 minutes for home video release. Colour.

Scotland Yard detective-inspector Quennell (Cushing) investigates a series of bizarre deaths, mostly of young men who have had all the blood drained from their bodies. He consults Professor Carl Mellinger (Flemyng), whom Quennell seems to have known previously, asking whether the doctor knows of any animal which could do this. Mellinger says he cannot help, but Quennell realizes the deaths seem to occur when Mellinger's daughter Clare (Ventham) is nearby, or somehow connected to the victims. Suspecting the doctor, Quennell follows Mellinger and his daughter incognito to a small rural village, taking along his own daughter Meg (Howard). Meg meets young David Griffin (Warrender); a collector of butterflies and moths; the two stumble on Mellinger's home while out searching for these insects. Mellinger, it proves, is a Mad Scientist who has experimented upon his daughter, turning her into a quasi-human/moth creature that drains the blood from its prey. Quennell arrives just in time to prevent Meg and David from becoming the next victims, by starting a blaze during the fight. The moth-creature is drawn to the light from the fire and burns to death in it, reverting to Clare's form as she dies.

A low-budget affair which attempted to imitate the Hammer Hilms horror productions of the period, The Blood Beast Terror was reportedly Cushing's least favourite film. Though not among his best, it is relatively well made; Cushing may have been overly harsh with himself. [GSt]


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