Starring: Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Lynn Lowry, Jack Damon
“Let it be known that Satan was an acid head.”
The Sons and Daughters of Satan, a group of Satan worshipping hippies traveling through a nearly abandoned town, are conducting a ritual in the woods where they nakedly consume LSD and worship Satan. They are being secretly watched by a local teen, Sylvia, who is soon exposed by one of the hippies. Their leader, Horace Bones, has her beaten and raped. Later, she is found by Mildred, owner of the local bakery, who takes the traumatized Sylvia back to Pete, her younger brother, and Banner, her grandfather.
With his shotgun in tow, Banner plans to get revenge for Sylvia, but the hippies overwhelm him and force him to consume large doses of LSD. Pete realizes it is now on him to get revenge for his family and encounters a rabid dog, which he shoots and kills. He puts its infected blood into meat pies at the bakery, which the hippies purchase and eat later that day. Soon they are infected with rabies and begin an orgy of violence among themselves that includes murder, chopping off limbs, etc. By the next day, this spreads to a construction crew, most of whom have had sex with an infected hippy, and makes its way throughout the town. Banner is killed and they flee to the bakery, teaming up with Mildred. Mildred, Pete, and Sylvia try to escape in Mildred’s car, but they are soon surrounded. Will they make it out alive?
Basically the Titus Andronichus of ‘70s exploitation movies, I Drink Your Blood was one of the first films to get an X-rating from the MPAA due to violence, rather than sex or nudity. As a result, the early theatrical prints were badly cut and tended to vary from city to city. Originally called Hydrophobia (difficulty swallowing that presents itself in late stage rabies), it was retitled I Drink Your Blood to be a double-feature companion piece to I Eat Your Skin (an inferior voodoo tale).
Writer and director David E. Durston only made a handful of other films, including venereal disease panic film Stigma (1972), and I Drink Your Blood is his masterpiece. Inspired by George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the low budget gore films of H.G. Lewis, and the real life events surrounding the Manson Family, I Drink Your Blood may be imperfect, but it is far more than the sum of its parts. The plot can only be described as balls to the wall outrageous. The film’s only big name actor, Lynn Lowry (from Romero’s The Crazies), saws off a hand and carries it around with her. A pregnant woman stabs herself in the stomach rather graphically. There’s also some real animal violence, unfortunately, when a chicken’s throat is cut and some rats are barbecued. And of course there is rape (only implied), Satan worship, enforced LSD poisoning, and revenge via rabies-laced meat pies.
I’ve heard a lot of talk that this film is overrated, but I have to disagree. Revenge is a major staple of exploitation cinema, regardless of country or decade, and where else - aside from Titus Andronichus - do you find revenge, as a dish best served cold, in the form of pies? Rabies is also underused in horror cinema in general and though it isn’t portrayed entirely accurate here, it is wildly entertaining and full of flesh ripping, gut churning gore.
Featuring rabid zombie-like creatures, a morality tale about the evils of drug use, and a classic revenge plot, I Drink Your Blood has it all. It may not be perfect - there are heaping doses of poor acting, silly dialogue, plenty of distastefulness, and questionable cinematography - but it is one of the gems of ‘70s grindhouse cinema. It comes highly recommended and there’s a great uncut DVD with plenty of special features.