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A FUN film, this grind house relic is complete trash, but it has energy, imagination and lots of gore! 

The Package 
     I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (original title: PHOBIA) is probably best known for playing on a double bill with the 60’s cheapie I EAT YOUR SKIN (original title: VOODOO BLOODBATH), advertised with the unforgettable tagline “2 Great Blood Horrors to Rip Out Your Guts!” courtesy of its producer/distributor, exploitation legend Jerry Gross.  I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, however, has stood the test of time, which I EAT YOUR SKIN most definitely has not!
     Writer/director David Durston was already something of a veteran--of episodic television and a few low budget features--when Gross contacted him to create a non-traditional horror film that would “outdo” NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  Durston complied with a script inspired in equal parts by Charles Mason and the late-60’s LSD explosion.  Still, anyone looking for social significance in this anything-for-a-kick exploitation fest—the first film ever to receive an X-rating from the MPAA solely for violent content—will be sorely disappointed.
     One bizarre footnote to this movie’s history is the fact that (as related by Durston in his DVD commentary) when the movie was slapped with an X-rating, rendering it unplayable in most non-porno theaters, the cheapo distributors, rather than cutting the film to comply with MPAA standards, asked theater projectionists to make their own edits.  What resulted were literally hundreds of different “cuts” of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, meaning the only definitive version I know of is the limited edition ’02 Box Office Spectaculars DVD, now out of print.   

The Story 
     A band of Satan worshipping hippies move into an old house on the outskirts of a small rural town.  Led by the charismatic Horace Bones (played by the famed Indian dancer Bhaskar), they commence making trouble, but when they give LSD to the grandfather of the precocious Pete (FAMILY AFFAIR’S Riley Mills) the latter retaliates by injecting rabid dogs’ blood into meat pies and selling ‘em to the hippies.
     Bones and his cohorts devour the infected meat pies, go nuts and savagely turn on one another, literally raving and drooling.  Those of the band who survive the initial slaughter then hit the town; an infected woman has an orgy with a number of randy construction workers, making for several new additions to the homicidal maniacs running loose in the area.  Eventually, however, the National Guard is called in to, in a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD inspired finale, shoot all the infected people...along with quite a few who aren’t! 

The Direction 
     You’ll be forgiven for nodding off during the first half hour or so of this film, as David Durston’s filmmaking isn’t particularly inspired.  It does, however, gain momentum once the infected meat pies are eaten, with a superbly delineated atmosphere of growing dementia bolstered by an outrageously maniacal performance from Bhaskar (who sadly passed away on 9/4/03...apparently mere days after viewing a copy of the IDYB DVD!).  The explicit gore FX were leagues ahead of their time, and still pack a punch today, even if the severed hands and heads on display do look a mite fake by modern standards.  The music is shrill and often nerve jangling, at one point sounding like nothing so much as a siren...a LOUD one!  I’m not sure this contributes in any meaningful way to the atmosphere, but I did say at the outset that this film is far from perfect.

Vital Statistics 

Cinemation Industries/Box Office Spectaculars

Director: David Durston
Producer: Jerry Gross
Screenplay: David Durston
Cinematography: Jacques Demarecaux
Editor: Lyman Hallowell
Cast: Bhaskar, Rhonda Fultz, Arlene Farber, George Patterson, Riley Mills, John McCook, Alex Mann, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Richard Bowler, Jadine Wong, Tyde Kierney, Iris Brooks, Bruno Damon, Mike Gentry, Lynn Lowry

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