In the summer of 1969, a group of hippie cultists embarked on a grizzly murder spree in Los Angeles, claiming roughly a dozen victims, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate. Symbols and words were written in blood at the scene of two murders. RISE. A black power fist. HEALTER SKELTER.
By the end of the year, former convict and drifter Charles Manson and several of his nomadic “Family” were in custody, and the world reeled at the lurid details of the case: Sex, LSD, politics. A typical day in the late sixties, really, save for all the murders.
Meanwhile, a remote village in the mountains of Iran was beset by rabid wolves, with several people being bitten and turning homicidal. Two unrelated cases, yeah, but as a creative type myself, I can safely say: Two unrelated ideas colliding on the freeway of the mind are how some of the best art is made. In this case, the two cases merged to inspire I Drink Your Blood, a nasty little gem from 1970 that is perhaps best remembered for being the first movie to receive an X rating for violence alone.
I Drink Your Blood was the brainchild of David Durston, who had been contacted by the CEO of a production company to make a movie. Durston wanted to make the most violent horror movie eveah, and he didn’t want no punk ass vampires or anything. The Manson Family trials were much in the news at the time, and Durston somehow heard of the rabies outbreak in Iran. Well, those two ideas came together and BAM, a movie is born.
I Drink Your Blood finds a group of roaming Satanist hippies (including Lynn Lowry…she’s always in some wild shit) crash landing in a small, dying town and taking up residence in an abandoned hotel. While worshipping naked in the woods, they are discovered by a local girl, who runs away. The leader of the cult, Horace Bones, orders the girl stopped. Now, to a normal person like me or you, that means “Kill her so she can’t tell the squares how fucked up we are.” To a few of the tripping cultists, it means “Beat her and up and rape her for good measure. Then leave her alive so she can tell on us.”
The girl survives her ordeal and stumbles home, finally telling her grandfather what happened. I forget his name, but he wore his pants up to his chest, so we’ll call him Highwater. Highwater grabs a shotgun and goes to confront the cultists. They get the drop on him, pump him full of LSD, and make sport of him. Highwater’s ten-year-old grandson Chubs shows up and takes grandpa home. Having heard about rabies, Chubs kills a rabid dog in the woods, draws some of its blood, and injects it into some meat pies for the cultists to eat, because fuck what they did to Highwater, yo.
Anyway, the cultists eat the pies and get sick.
Then the fun begin.
After Horace wigs out and starts killing people, the cultists scatter to the wind. One of them, a chick, winds up in the camp of some construction workers. Drunk and apparently not caring about the far out shit that happened back at the hotel, she lets the construction workers run the train on her, and they all catch teh rabids. Pretty soon, rabid, homicidal maniacs are everywhere, and Chubs and his sister team up with a local shop owner and her boyfriend to survive. In the end, the state police show up and the day is saved. Woot woot!
I Drink Your Blood is, if you ask me, the definitive exploitation, drive-in horror movie. It’s bloody, it’s got boobs, it’s interesting, it’s unique, and it’s pretty well written and put together. There’s even a nod to that Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in Vietnam, so, it’s like, history class. Technically, all the infected people multiplying counts as math class too. This movie’s virtually a high school!
If only my high school had been this dope…