Also known as Blood Seekers and The Horror from Beyond, Blood Thirst was filmed in 1965 in black and white (it was not released until 1971 in the United States). Directed by Newt Arnold in the Philippines, Blood Thirst uses Aztec mysticism to tell a tale about a “vampire” belly dancer Serena (Yvonne Nielson) and her minion, a Filipino club owner whose face becomes hideously distorted when securing victims for his mistress.
The story centers on a Manila nightclub known as the Barrio Club, where women are being systematically murdered. Hot on the trail of these murders is Inspector Miguel Ramos (Vic Diaz), who calls upon sex-crimes expert Adam “out of my jurisdiction” Rourke (Robert Winston) to help him out when he becomes stymied over elements of the case. While investigating, gumshoe Rourke gets friendly with the inspector’s sister, Sylvia Ramos (Katherine Henryk), as well as with the luscious Serena.
The bulk of the tale meanders along, sometimes coming off as confusing and nonsensical, but the final reel reveals the plot, in which it is found that the nightclub owner, one Calderon (Vic Silayan) is the man responsible for the victims, which he “feeds” to Serena so she can retain eternal life and continue dancing at the nightclub.
Silly, bloodless, and oftentimes boring, Blood Thirst clocks in a one hour and 14 minutes, although while screening it the ordeal felt a much longer. The movie’s script lacks any tension or horror, the direction is lackluster, and the actors seem amused by the lines they have to recite. The script has to be a first draft, as there are common mistakes throughout, including exposition through character (which the director attempts to use to evoke a noir-like atmosphere).
Although the film is low budget, it fails to take advantage of its location—the Philippines—and the culture of its people. The most the film shows are some nice props in the background, such as the various blades used by Filipinos (although there is no mention of the arts for such blades, such as escrima, kali, or arnis de mano). The makeup effects for the minion are interesting, but many will find it just comes off as a melted head.
The Aztec mythology is way off, and it would have been interesting instead to have used actual Aztec rituals and ideology to explain Serena’s need for blood, as the Aztecs penchant for blood and is magical properties is well documented. For example, the movie tells of an Aztec sun god, when in the actual mythology there are many sun gods over the ages.
I cannot recommend Blood Thirst. However, the curious would do well to screen this flick either as a rental or as part of a larger collection. Hardcore fans of bad movies, vampires, and perhaps zombies should find Blood Thirst as an odd curio.
Blood Thirst can be purchased as a standalone item or as part of a collection, such as Classic Drive-In Series Horror.