In Spain, this was known as Una gota de sangre para morir amando (A Drop of Blood to Die Loving), in France as Le bal du vaudou (The Voodoo Ball), in the U.S. as To Love, Perhaps to Die and in the UK as Clockwork Terror and Murder In a Blue World.
It’s director and co-screenwriter Eloy de la Iglesia’s take on a future world that at times may feel very 1973 but also feels way more 2022 than we may want to admit.
The director was a member of the Spanish Communist Party and his films reflect his beliefs, bravely work in his feelings on his homosexuality and often feature violent forms of social protest, all of which caused him massive issues as he battled the censors of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
Anna Vernia (Sue Lyon) is a dedicated nurse, dating Dr. Victor Sender (Victor Sorel), a doctor who uses electro-shock therapy on violent criminals to make them better citizens. This is necessary, so he believes, as they live in a city constantly dealing with crime, including what the police believe is a sadistic homosexual man killing gorgeous young men.
As a family settles in for the evening and plans to watch A Clockwork Orange — look, if you’re going to be ripping off or making your own version of a movie, go all in! — they’re soon attacked by a motorcycle gang who assault the mother and father, finally killing them before leaving their son alive. One member of the gang, David (Chris Mitchum), disagrees with the other members, so they attack him and expel him.
Meanwhile, Anna is collecting pop art — Alex Raymond original art, a copy of Lolita which is ironic as Lyon played the lead in Kubrick’s film — when she isn’t acting as that serial killer everyone is looking for, using a scalpel to murder men after sex, becoming inspired to murder by their post-coital heartbeats. David sees her disposing of one of her bodies and begins following her as she disguises herself and wipes out an underwear model and a young gay man.
David has befriended her guard dog and makes his way into her home, blackmailing her and using the money to buy a motorcycle. His old gang attacks him and leaves him for dead, which takes him to the hospital, where Victor plans on using his techniques to redeem him. Anna decides that this can’t happen — she feels something for him — so she kills him after reading Poe to him as her would-be lover Victor’s patients lose their minds.
I love how this movie somehow combines the ancient future of the 70s with the trapping of giallo. This is a strange and wonderful film that I plan on going back to several times.
The Cauldron Films release of Murder In a Blue World has a 2K restoration of the Spanish producer’s cut from the negative in a 1080p presentation. It has a newly edited interview with Mitchum, a dubbing feature, a video essay by Dr. Xavier Aldana Reyes and commentary by Kat Ellinger. You can get this from MVD.