Thursday, November 20, 2014


Thirst Directed By Rod Hardy, Starring Chantal Contouri (1979).
If you woke up one morning and found out you were related to someone famous would you be excited? What if you found out it was Elizabeth Bathory, the infamous bloodsucking countess, you have no control over your lineage and must submit to a vampire secret society, that's the premise of Thirst.
   Anything with Henry Silva or David Hemmings is worth checking out at least once, both have some of the best exploitation films to their credit. Even before the movie gets rolling, the score and atmosphere suck you in like a helpless victim. We get to see Henry Silva dive onto some power lines (it might be my favorite career highlight, enough for the price of admission)!

I was really fried to death, Bullshit or Not?

   Kate (Chantal Contouri) is a just a swingin gal who makes out on a shag carpet with her bottomless mustachioed boy toy, she seems to have the world all figured out. That is until a vampire conspiracy is triggered by her blood drinking cat, the crimson liquid mysteriously oozes from a milk carton, seems like a red flag that things are off kilter, right? Next Robert Thompson star of Patrick peeps in on her from outside the window, is she on hallucinogens or am I? The Brotherhood, a vampire clinic are attempting to brainwash her into assimilating into their secret club. You may recognize the actor who played Patrick the telekinetic mute with cryptically gaunt features, here he plays one of the vampires and this time they let him speak.

me and Silva are gonna do some blow later and share a bacon cheeseburger

   Kate is abducted and taken to a clinic where she finds out her true calling and legacy as someone related to Countess Bathory. Had she been more of a hesher, then Kate probably would've been more stoked considering how many metal bands devote songs to Bathory (Tormentor, Ghost, Bathory, Venom, etc). To the vampire sect, blood is the ultimate symbol of aristocracy and power! Kate is not at all on board with this notion and just wants to forget this ever happened (but it's too late, she's already in their clutches). One nurse tries to feed her a cup of steaming hot artery liquid and she tosses it against the wall as if it's a cup of rancid Sunny D!


   If I were Kate, I would cooperate because as we all know, vampires don't have a reputation for being the friendliest down home folks! Hemmings plays the only sympathetic character, the rest want to condition her into a new role of mindless bloodsucker (they even give her silver fangs to place over her canine teeth--man they thought of everything)!

   The clinic is actually a human blood draining farm where the patients are recycled in the same way the Eloi venture down into the air raid caves and are soon devoured by the Morlocks like in H.G. Wells Time Machine.  

I'm really diggin this new IPhone

   Once Kate discovers that the lethargic and weak patients at the clinic are being drained like livestock for her consumption, she escapes real fast and steals a truck. But there's no escape, I mean it's Australia--nothing but desert for aeons. Kate is a reluctant vampire and feels sympathy for her victims, it's the same scenario that happens to hardcore meat eaters after they visit a real slaughterhouse. They even have a guided factory tour, where they show how humanely the victims are processed into liquid refreshment, it's a nice little bite of social commentary (pun intended). I wonder if the filmmakers were vegetarians because it's a very clever allegory about the disconnection from cattle carcass to juicy steak. The feeding ceremony is priceless, it looks like some of my relatives' 70s weddings photos minus the fangs of course.


   Thirst likes to mess with the audience and unravels your collective paranoia, it makes you feel as if you can't trust anything and that all your surroundings may just be a parallel universe manipulated by a pack of night creatures, it's all very unnerving and deceptively effective. The clinic teases Kate with a fantasy picnic with her boyfriend, but it's only an illusion as they chip away at her resolve. The way her safe house starts to crumble all around her and the extreme white lights that flicker as she's carted around on a gurney, reminded me of Seconds by John Frankenheimer. When we get to her indoctrination/ communion it looks and sounds like an unholy Bat Mitzvha. If you're looking for an effective psychological vampire conspiracy film that's a total blast, check it out! Fandor is currently streaming this title and Synapse carries it on DVD. It's hard for me to believe that this film has eluded me for so long, it's a lot of fun and very original. This would pair up well with Strange Behavior, another Ozploitation favorite of mine about mind control.

FANDOR LINK (get a trial)

You're not on the guest list

Don Post Yankee Candle

I'd like to see her on an episode of The Golden Girls

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