The Deepest Cuts is a weekly invitation into some of the sleaziest, goriest, most under-explored corners of horror and cult film online. Every title will be streamable and totally NSFW. Whether it’s a 1960s grindhouse masterpiece, something schlocky from the 90s, or hardcore horror from around the world, these films are guaranteed to shock, disturb, tickle, or generally blow your mind.
True surprises are rare for the horror aficionado, but every once in a great while, a film comes along that shows you that they really can do more and go further. I Drink Your Blood is just one of these films. It’s a totally batshit, schlocky masterpiece that must be seen to be believed.
I Drink Your Blood is a sober warning against the dangers of becoming involved with Satanic-LSD-sex cults and of allowing children to meddle with your meat pies. It opens in the midst of a ritual in which the naked, sexy leader of the cult chants “I am the first born son of Satan!” and kills a chicken, draining its blood on one of his (also naked) cohort; meanwhile, a local gal who is caught eavesdropping is attacked (Last House on the Left hadn’t been made yet, so, thankfully, we don’t have to see the gory, rapey details) and left for dead. Her veterinarian grandfather seeks vengeance and visits the perpetrators in their abandoned-hotel squat, where he’s beaten and dosed by the hippy ne’er-do-wells, and his grandson sees it all. When this enterprising young man later encounters and shoots a rabid dog, he gets an idea. If you hadn’t guessed, it definitely involves revenge by rabies. And (as mentioned above) meat pies.
One of the really great things about grindhouse movies of this era is the way they navigate “excusing” the titillating material that would otherwise be considered unshowable in a public setting. This usually took the form of an emphasis on educational value, as in, for example, “nudist” films, which were of course just about showing tits and ass on the big screen – not teaching uptight squares about the wonders of natural living. In the case of I Drink Your Blood, the message regarding avoiding devil-worshipping cults drives the first half of the narrative, but the film then goes to rather absurd lengths to explain the virus’ effect on the victims, making sure to emphasize that one of the symptoms is a fear of water. Does rabies actually cause infected humans to foam at the mouth within minutes, attack everyone they pass in a blood-thirsty rage, light themselves on fire, and chop up their friends’ dead bodies? Maybe not, but who cares?
But this movie isn’t just about the clash between the villains of the counterculture and the pie-making, God-fearing middle Americans; there’s also the problems of promiscuous women, who infect their sexual partners willy nilly, and the dangerously unattached laborers working on the new dam, who are particularly skilled with machetes and pitchforks when infected. One of the more memorable scenes involves the removal of the “good guy” Satanist’s head, which is then wielded like a prize throughout the violence to come, in all its papier mache glory. The effects are pure grindhouse, from the thick, tomato-sauce-looking blood to the awkwardly filmed cuts timed to just miss knife connecting with flesh.
I Drink Your Blood’s success as shameless, splattery entertainment lies also with its minimalist electronic soundtrack, featuring the sorts of sound effects usually wielded for old-timey sci fi ray guns and repetitive, pulsating psychedelia. Added to that are the stellar performances, including from Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, in Native-American-style hippie cosplay and constantly shirtless, and uncredited Lynn Lowry of The Crazies and Shivers fame.
Though we will likely never recapture the drive-in theater experience that brought I Drink Your Blood (alongside I Eat Your Flesh in a groovy, gory double feature) to the big screen, it remains a must-see gem of the grindhouse era.
You can find I Drink Your Blood streaming free on Veoh.
For more insight into the best (and worst) of cult horror classics, check past editions of The Deepest Cuts here.