I Drink Your Blood (1970)

“Let all the spirits hear. I am the first born Son of Satan. He commands my thoughts. I speak his words. The Book of the Dead! Sons and daughters of Satan. Put aside your worldly things and come to me. Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head. Drink from his cup; pledge yourselves. And together, we’ll all freak out.”

Has a movie ever started better? I don’t think so. I Drink Your Blood will take you prisoner, stab in the stomach with a fork and write on the walls with your blood!

In fact, I watched that opening at last year’s April Ghouls Drive-In Monster-Rama in the middle of the night, surrounded by fog and inebriated on a variety of vices. It was a transcendent moment.

Horace Bones leads a cult that worships Satan and drops acid. A young girl, Sylvia, watches from the woods but is caught, then raped by the cult members before she escapes. She’s found the next morning by Mildred, a baker, and Sylvia’s brother Pete. They get her back to her father, Doc Banner, the town’s veterinarian. And oh the town — it’s been abandoned due to dam project. The hippies break down and decide to stick around.

The only food in town? Meat pies from Mildred’s bakery, which Horace and family take as they set up their home in a house scheduled for demolition. And when Doc comes for revenge, the gang smashes his glasses and force him to take LSD.

So how do you get revenge? Well, if you’re Pete, you kill a rabies infected dog and inject the blood into meat pies, which infects the gang and makes them go crazy. They begin to attack one another as Molly runs away, finding the mill workers, who she ends up having sex with all night long until she bites one of the men.

Horace goes full-on insane, even more insane than the beginning of the film, attacking two of the construction workers. Only Andy from the group is not infected and he finds Sylvia and Pete. Meanwhile, the infection spreads to the rest of the town. 

Banner gets impaled. Horace is stabbed by Rollo, the African-American member of the family. Mildred is barricaded inside her bakery and Andy is beheaded before they get in. The Japanese member of the family sets herself on fire. Everyone other than Mildred, her boyfriend Oaks (who comes to save them), Sylvia and Pete dies horribly. 

Director David Durston worked with producer and CEO of Cinemation Industries Jerry Gross to write and direct this film. He said that “wanted to make the most graphic horror film ever produced, but he didn’t want any vampires, man-made monsters, werewolves, mad doctors, or little people.” The director couldn’t come up with an idea until he read an article about a village in Iran where a pack of rabid wolves infected several villagers, making them insane and homicidal. Dunston found a doctor who had been to the village and that had filmed the evidence. He was further inspired by the Manson family trials.

This is the first film to be given an X rating for violence instead of sex. And while originally entitled Phobia, the name change to I Drink Your Blood and pairing with  1964’s Zombies, also retitled as I Eat Your Skin, proved a potent blend for audiences. The two movies are almost always thought of together.

This film is unafraid to be the exploitation junk that normal people avoid. It’s grimy, filthy and ultimately entertaining as hell. It takes everyone’s worst fears of the hippies and shows you in graphic detail what happens when those fears come true.

Want to see it for yourself? It’s available on Shudder.

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