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Bloodlust! (1961)

The Most Dangerous Game redone as a shoddy exploitation film in the style of Teenage Zombies or She Demons – with unmemorable juveniles and a few older hams wandering pointlessly around a cramped island, and a couple of for-the-time gross horror moments still counting for little. The Count Zaroff substitute is Albert Balleu (Wilton Graff), a chubby, goateed ex-museum keeper who developed a lust for killing as a sniper during 'the War' (no mention of which side he was on) and expostulates pompously on his sense of fair play while wearing a smoking jacket. His staff consists of subnormal goons, who all manage to die ugly, while the victims are a bunch of alleged teenagers, notably June Kenney as a blonde who knows judo. Lilyan Chauvin scores second billing without doing much for it as Balleu's unfaithful and soon-killed-off wife. The gruesomeness extends to Balleu's private cave museum full of stuffed and mounted human trophies, a woman drowned in an illuminated fishtank, a severed foot and the flesh of a head and torso (all rubbery) manhandled by a taxidermist, a minion tossed into a vat of acid, another sinking into a swamp and bobbing up covered with leeches, gory crossbow bolt hits, a ranting madman in the jungle and a skeleton crawling with rats. The heroes are so bland and Graff such a ridiculous baddie that it never works up much transgressive charge. It was photographed by Richard E. Cuhna (whose similarly-shoddy horrors were usually a lot more fun), but the auteur was writer-producer-director Ralph Brooke. Dull, if brief.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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