Bloodlust! (1961) Review: The Most Dangerous Rip-off
“The foulest passion of them all!”
Synopsis: A crazed hunter kidnaps people and turns them loose on his private estate, where he hunts them for sport.
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I actually liked Bloodlust! far more than its IMDB rating might suggest. Though there are many adaptations of The Most Dangerous Game out there, this one does surprisingly well considering its obvious budget limitations. It even went so far as to add in a few twists on the story, which I appreciated. It got the MST3K treatment back in the ’90s – unjustly, I feel. While Bloodlust! definitely has its weaknesses, it’s actually a decent little flick, and much better than the stuff the robots usually mock.
The plot is essentially The Most Dangerous Game with teen protagonists. But the filmmakers did add some flair of their own. The women don’t face being hunted, but rather are threatened with being companions to a man who has murdered their boyfriends – and we get a chilling preview of their fate thanks to “wife” Lilyan Chauvin. The hunter (Wilton Graff) not only enjoys hunting human beings, but also stuffs and displays his trophies, which is a whole new level of macabre. Though none of the teens are as self-sufficient as Rainsford from the original, they are fairly intelligent and actively work to secure their freedom, which is also a pleasant change from most horror movies.
Despite the shoddy camerawork and uneven special effects, I felt the movie did a good job of keeping tensions high. Wilton Graff as the hunter was suave and threatening (and very Vincent Price-esque), and the intrinsic horror of the situation was always present. While it’s true that most of the characters are a fairly one-dimensional and the acting doesn’t really rise above, it’s rarely distracting. The movie would probably have faltered more if it were longer, but at a 68 minutes, the pacing is quick enough to keep the audience entertained.
In the end, Bloodlust! is on par with (if not better than) standard drive-in fare. It isn’t a classic by any means, but it’s a decent take on a familiar story. I liked it enough that I’d definitely be interested in watching it again, which is more than I can say for a lot of the other cheap, quick movies from the time period.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
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