Blood (1973)

  • Year: 1973
  • Released: 01 Mar 1974
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: N/A
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Runtime: 69 min
  • Writer: Andy Milligan
  • Director: Andy Milligan
  • Cast: Allan Berendt, Hope Stansbury, Patricia Gaul
  • Keywords: vampire, werewolf, cannibal, man eating plant,
60% – Critics
60% – Audience

Blood Storyline

Set in the late 19th century, Dr. Lawrence Orlofski (Allan Berendt) arrives at his new house somewhere in Staten Island, New York City with the realtor Mr. Markham (Martin Raymert) to finalize the purchase. A stern, well-dressed, but somewhat rude man, Lawrence insists to sign the papers for a six-month lease of the house to further his “experiments”. Lawrence tells Markham that his wife doesn’t like the daylight hours and that a few minutes in the sun would kill her due to a skin pigmentation. After signing the papers and forcing Markham to leave, Lawrence goes to the back door and lets in his servants whom make up of his legless manservant Orlando (Michael Fischetti), the mentally challenged Carlotta (Pichulina Hempi), and the limping Carrie (Patti Gaul) who care for Lawrence’s wife Regina (Hope Stansbury) who is brought into the house, with a cloak covering her and suffering from burns. Her face is shown and that she is a vampire. Regina needs daily injections of blood to survive and to heal from her wounds.Sometime later, Orlando talks with Carrie who is preparing dinner. They discuss their personal love for each other and having to take care of Regina as well as the plants which have been stored in the basement of the house. In the living room, Lawrence talks about meeting with Carl Root, a lawyer who has been handling the books of the Orlofskis. Regina worries about moving to New York from Europe, but Lawrence assures her that things will take care of themselves. It’s also revealed that Regina and Carrie do not get along for Carrie is tired about Regina’s frequent verbal abuse and she treats Carrie like a slave instead of being Lawrence’s lab assistant. After dinner, Carrie talks with Lawrence about Regina and about Carrie’s injury to her right leg over taking care of the plants and that she might loose the leg. Carrie ventures to the basement where Orlando and Carlotta are tending to the flesh-eating plants. Orlando gives Carrie an injection to counter the infection to her leg from an earlier injury with the plants. While getting ready for bed, Regina and Lawrence argue about their finances and their own well being about being “different” then others.The next day, Lawrence goes to Carl Root’s office where he meets Prudence Towers, Mr. Root’s secretary, and there is an evident attraction between both of them. Just then, Mr. Root appears and ushers Lawrence into his office where Lawrence complains about the money from Lawrence’s late father. It is shown that Lawrence’s real last name is actually ‘Talbert’ and that Mr. Root has been blackmailing Lawrence for protection money involving the death of Lawrence’s father some years earlier in Mortavia. Arguing about the funds, Mr. Root reveals that he sold Lawrence’s father’s house in Mortavia and pocketed most of the money, leaving Lawrence to assault him, leading to Mr. Root to throw Lawrence out.At the house, Carrie’s younger brother Johnny, arrives for a visit after tracking her down. Carrie is happy to see her brother for the first time in years, but is wary about his presence. Johnny asks Carrie to leave with him and not take care of the Orlofskis. Noticing Carrie’s limp, he sees the strange gangrene infection on Carrie’s leg and is angry. Johnny wants to learn more about Lawrence, but Carrie becomes frightened and tells him to leave. Johnny pretends to leave, but soon returns and Regina sees him. She lures him upstairs and asks Johnny questions about himself and his connection to Carrie. When Johnny threatens to go to the police with information about his sister and about her work, Regina murders him by biting out his neck and drinking his blood. She disposes of the body by dissolving in a bathtub with sulfur acid.Some time later, Mr. Markham arrives at the Orlofski house where an elderly neighbor informs him about witnessing incidents she has witnessed and that most of her chickens that she keeps in her back yard have disappeared and expresses suspicion about the Orlofskis. Markham goes to the Orlofski house and when no one answers his knock on the front door, he lets himself in and ventures down into the basement. Carrie and Orlando appear and try to persuade him to leave. When Markham refuses and expresses suspicion about the strange looking plants in the basement, Carrie and Orlando murder him by knocking him out with as shovel and feeding him to the plants.Despite feeding, Regina is still hungry in which she kills a mouse that a spring-trap catches.Lawrence and Prudence go to the cemetery where Lawrence’s father is buried. Lawrence wants to know more about his father and of his father’s research about finding a “cure” to his affliction and Lawrence’s as well which was passed down by bloodline. Prudence tells Lawrence that she looked up some of Mr. Talbert’s work in Mr. Root’s office and tells Lawrence that the late Mr. Talbert went bankrupt over his investments in various companies and that Mr. Root has been stealing money from Mr. Talbert’s accounts. Lawrence wants to go somewhere with Prudence to talk some more about his feelings towards her, but Prudence refuses. Lawrence tells Prudence that his father and Regina’s father arranged their marriage years earlier which Lawrence tried but could not bring himself to love Regina, and only feels contempt for her. As they walk out of the cemetery, they are confronted by a hideous old woman named Petra (Eva Crosby), who is the caretaker of the cemetery. Suspicious about Lawrence, Petra tells him to leave and forces Prudence not to go with him for tonight is the full moon and that Lawrence becomes someone else.Lawrence goes home and when it gets dark, he transforms into a werewolf and attacks the servants. Carrie, Orlando and Carlotta subdue him with an injection. Lawrence learns about Mr. Markham’s visit and Carrie and Orlando show him the plants slowly devouring Markham’s dead body.Mr. Root arrives at Prudence’s house where he asks her about Lawrence Orlofski and about what they talked about. Prudence tells Mr. Root that she is aware he has been embezzling money from clients and quits, revealing that she will be moving to Canada to live with her sister. Root tries persuade her to stay with a raise, but Prudence throws him out. While walking to his home alone in the dark, Mr. Root is attacked and killed by Lawrence in his werewolf form.The next day, Petra arrives at the Orlofski’s house where Regina lets her in. While talking in the living room, Petra reveals she knows about Lawrence’s real name and that he is the son of the werewolf Lawrence Talbert Sr. and that Regina is actually the daughter of Count Dracula the vampire. When Petra tells Regina about seeing Lawrence and Prudence in the cemetery together, Regina murders Petra. Regina then goes to Prudence’s house and kills her too as she sleeps by drinking her blood.Lawrence returns to the house in his human form and wants to leave immediately. As he orders Orlando, Carrie and Carlotta to begin packing and to destroy the plants, Regina arrives back revealing that she just killed Prudence. Finally reaching his breaking point, Lawrence transforms into his werewolf form and attacks Regina who transforms into her true vampire form. As Orlando and Carrie begin to set the carnivorous plants on fire, Regina runs down into the basement and attacks the servants. Werewolf Lawrence continues to attack her as the fire gets out control and spreads all over the basement. Lawrence, Regina, Orlando, Carrie, Carlotta and all of the plants are consumed by the flames.Sometime later, the vacant house is sold having been partly repaired due to the fire. A couple arrives at the house with another real estate agent, named Mr. Sharp, to sign the papers to transfer ownership of the house in their name. The young man claims that he is a doctor looking to settle to continue his “experiments” . The doctor signs his name as Baron von Frankenstein.

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Blood Movie Reviews

A deranged but enjoyable plunge into the hateful universe of Andy Milligan

Though one of the more notable directors to come from Minnesota, you will not very often hear Andy Milligan mentioned in the same breath as the Coen brothers. In his book Danse Macabre, Stephen King refers to Milligan’s first horror film, The Ghastly Ones (1968), as “the work of morons with cameras,” and furthermore that a film of that sort is the “staged equivalent of…’snuff’ movies.” In truth it is difficult to defend Milligan’s work on artistic and aesthetic grounds. The inept cinematography makes his grotesque horror stories look like home movies gone horribly wrong. Simple concepts like lighting and framing are alien to Milligan, whose films can feature whole sequences of confused darkness. The chief pleasure for any cineaste checking out Milligan’s work might then be to laugh at its failings; in other words, to enjoy it as “so bad it’s good” cinema. Being a pretentious asshole, though, I believe that this attitude can often arise from an unwillingness to engage with a film on its own terms. More specifically, it seems to be that traditionally “bad” cinema is usually dismissed for its failure to correspond with one’s fixed idea of what a film (or a specific genre, in this case horror) should be. If someone believes these films are bad, their opinion is certainly valid. I’m merely suggesting that the opposite opinion is equally valid, and that traditionally “bad” films can offer a legitimate alternative to classically “good” cinema.

With that rambling intro out of the way, I will attempt to defend my own enthusiasm for what I’ve seen of Milligan’s work. Blood is only my second Milligan viewing after my positive experience with The Ghastly Ones. This film, though more technically proficient than that earlier work, is still light years away from the studio gloss we’re accustomed to (or even from the threadbare stylistics of Jess Franco). I find Milligan’s naiveté behind the camera to be fascinating and educational, in this respect. Completely ignorant of proper filming and editing conventions, it’s as if he is forced to invent his own concept of cinema. In reality he was apparently inspired by the avant-garde films of Andy Warhol, so his ignorance may have been willful. If I’m also to be frank, I’d much rather watch a shoddily filmed story of vampires, werewolves, and family dysfunction than the more respected film experiments of Warhol.

In the case of both Milligan films I’ve watched, the chief pleasure is actually derived from the screenplay. Milligan was both a misogynist and misanthropist, and his real-life mean streak serves as the lifeblood of his stories. If there is a married couple in Andy Milligan’s work, you can be sure that they despise and/or abuse each other. If they’re happily married, they won’t remain that way for long. The wife and husband in this film (Dracula’s daughter, Regina, and Dr. Lawrence Orlofski, a werewolf) maintain a strained relationship. Regina is convinced that Lawrence is in love with his assistant, Carrie. She says that she loves him, and pleads with him to make love to her. After he refuses, she tells him to go to hell. His deadpan response: “We’re there already.” In these tales of dysfunctional relationships, the Gothic trappings (a violent werewolf attack, gory hatchet murders, and giant carnivorous plants) are mere window-dressing. Milligan’s real interest lies in espousing his hateful world view. These horrific elements mostly serve to make the films salable.

At a running time of 57 minutes, Blood hardly has time to overstay its welcome, though many bored internet reviewers would disagree with me. I enjoyed the darkly humorous barbs traded by the film’s loathsome cast of characters. The shoddy make-up and set dressing also lend the film a unique, handmade charm, as if you’re watching an elaborate home movie made by your deeply disturbed grandpa. For instance, the film is set in the late 1800’s, yet the protagonist’s house (Milligan’s own in real life) clearly has modern plumbing and light fixtures. The actors perform their hateful dialogue with such relish, though, that you can easily forgive these oversights. Likewise, many of these roles are played with such deliberate camp that sophisticated make-up jobs would almost feel wrong.

There is plenty else to chew on here, such as the fact that Dr. Orlofski (is this a reference to Franco’s Dr. Orlof?) is really named Talbot (i.e. Lawrence Talbot, Universal’s tragic wolf man); the hierarchy of abuse in the Orlofski household; and just how the hell those carnivorous plants benefited Regina in any way (they supposedly help to treat her vampirism). Since I’m not getting paid to write this I’ll leave those thoughts for another day.

Quite possibly, Andy Milligan’s Gothic masterwork

A perversely entertaining attempt at a Gothic horror yarn, filled with Universal-style old-fashioned monsters and laced with graphic gore to appeal to the grue-hungry ’70s crowd, BLOOD is yet another in a long line of Gothic chillers to be directed by trash auteur Andy Milligan. Milligan’s films were always of the lowest budget and BLOOD, like most of them, contains long passages of dialogue and inactivity and is technically rough around the edges, with atrocious editing in places. Yet Milligan puts a quality into his films which makes them oddly appealing. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but here he somehow injects the same vibe as Paul Naschy did into his own Gothic horror movies, a surprising watchability factor considering the limitations of the budget and actors.

BLOOD is very much an entertaining film in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. Although it does drag in places with long stretches of dialogue, earnest performers and a short running time go a long way into making it palatable. Most of the characters are one-dimensional clichés and the unknown actors put their all into the performances, especially the women playing the old hag (with boot polish dirt) and the other playing the crazed Carlotta. Allan Berendt has a definite resemblance to Bela Lugosi and takes the lead of the commanding Doctor Orlovsky, who spends his time caring for his sick wife by giving her a special serum, and romancing the beautiful young girls he finds in his life. Atmosphere and music are adequate, and the film makes a valiant attempt at a period setting that very nearly comes across.

However, Milligan, being a horror film director, concentrates on giving the gore-seeking audience what they want by focusing on bodily deformity and mutilation. The opening sequence shows the hideously gruesome face of a diseased old hag and is wonderfully spine-shuddering stuff. Throughout the next hour and ten minutes, numerous victims are led into the film to be gorily dispatched in unconvincing but inventive ways. All very tacky, but oddly appealing footage.

You really get your money’s worth from the monsters and creations in this film. Not only is the chief character Lawrence Talbot (as in Lon Chaney Jr) a cheesy werewolf who occasionally goes on the rampage, but he’s married to Dracula’s daughter who definitely hasn’t given up her bloodsucking ways. A match made in Hell if ever there was one. The double-monster content means that a titanic showdown is on the way and it doesn’t disappoint on that front, although the climatic battle is a little shorter than I had hoped for but certainly fiery enough. Other fun elements to add to the horror brew include a bunch of carnivorous plants living in the cellar, who continuously make weirdo noises and suck people’s legs off. Then we have a servant whose legs have been amputated and who walks around on his knee stumps and another serving girl whose leg has turned into a deformed mass of shapeless putty – pretty outrageous. Although BLOOD will never win any awards for originality or skill, Milligan’s creativity and the indefinable quality the film possesses makes it worth viewing.

Vampires,werewolves and killer plants.

Andy Milligan’s “Blood” has everything:werewolf who happens to be an amateur scientist and his vampire bride,legless butler and his frustrated wife,enormous man-eating plants thirsty for human blood plus some sort of serum from the roots.”Blood” is one of the most professional Andy Milligan’s horror efforts,but it’s still not competent enough.The plot is delightfully absurd,the editing is awful and the location sets are obviously modern.The characters are truly hateful and frustrated and the mood is strangely hypnotic.The acting is surprisingly good but the gore effects are abysmal.Overall,”Blood” is a delirious piece of zero-budget cinema that trash fans everywhere need to see.6 killer plants out of 10.