Shot on short ends, made with costumes designed by director and writer and Andy Milligan, decorated with animal organs for special effects, The Ghastly Ones was made for all of $13,000 in a country estate somewhere in Staten Island. It may as well have been made in another dimension.
Also known as Blood Rites and refilmed again by Milligan in 1978 as Legacy of Blood, this movie is all about Veronica, Victoria and Elizabeth, the daughters of a man who has ordered them to stay for three nights in his home before they learn what he has left to them. I mean, how dangerous can that be? It’s not like his hunchback butler hasn’t already killed two people before the credits and torn a rabbit apart, leaving it in the bed of Veronica with the note, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit.”
What follows are family members and their husbands sliced in two, stabbed with pitchforks, beheaded and even smashed directly in the face with axes. Yes, there’s something here for everyone, if by everyone you mean people who can deal with Andy Milligan films, which have been critically destroyed for years, by people like Stephen King who said it was “the work of morons with cameras.”
It’s also one of the original video nasties, even though that list was made a decade after its release.
You know why I love it? Because the costumes and story say centuries ago while the traffic outside the windows say late 60’s. Because you can hear Milligan end some of the scenes. And because, well, it feels like another world, another place, an escape from this day in day out work work work.