Bloodlust! (1959) reviews and overview

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[Total: 3   Average: 3/5]

bloodlust

He hunted humans for the sheer sport of killing… and made his island paradise into a Hell on Earth!’

Bloodlust! (also known as Bloodlust and Blood Lust) is a horror-thriller feature film co-written, co-produced and directed by Ralph Brooke. The  Cinegraf Productions movie stars Wilton Graff (Pillow of Death; Valley of the Zombies; Who Killed Doc Robbin), Lylyan Chauvin, Robert Reed, June Kenny and Joan Lora.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 01.12.47

Filmed in 1959 the feature was picked up by Crown International Pictures and released on September 13, 1961. Crown later re-released it in 1970 as a double feature with Blood Mania.

The film’s cinematography was by Richard E. Cunha (director of Giant from the Unknown, She Demons, Missile to the Moon and Frankenstein’s Daughter).

Bloodlust3

Plot:

Two couples (Robert Reed, June Kenney, Joan Lora, and Eugene Persson) are on a boating trip when they come across an uncharted island. The four investigate and find themselves in the clutches of Doctor Albert Balleau (Wilton Graff), whose hobby is hunting both animals and humans.

Bloodlust 1961 Wilton Graff

After learning about the terrible secrets of the island from the doctor’s wife (Lilyan Chauvin) and her boyfriend (Walter Brooke) as well as an investigation, the group tries to escape only to be thwarted by Doctor Balleau and his henchmen.

Bloodlust victim

Balleau’s wife and her lover are slain and stuffed, while the men are forced to participate in a The Most Dangerous Game-style hunt, with their girlfriends soon joining them. The hunt includes Balleau’s sailor henchmen, the danger of quicksand, leeches and hidden traps, as well as the madman’s deadly skill…

Bloodlust restored Film Chest DVD

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

Bloodlust! is no big deal, really, but it is reasonably well made for a quickie drive-in horror film, and it should reward those who come to it with a forgiving attitude. Wilton Graff does a respectable job as the villain, and in particular, makes the most of the speech in which he tells how a stint as a sniper during World War II left him addicted to the thrill of hunting humans.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“It’s cheap, it’s unoriginal and it’s pretty hokey […] Things are spiced up a little bit with leeches, a pit of quicksand, a vat of acid, a few bloody moments (a man shot with an arrow in the stomach, an impalement, etc.) and an ending that is somewhat unpredictable, but it’s not really enough to save it.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Not the best adaption of this man-versus-man standard, mind you, but certainly not the worst; in fact, some might even be hard-pressed to put this one in the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ niche. Granted, there are some pretty outrageous moments, snippets of dialog, as well as over-the-top performances […] But on a grade ‘B’ flick level, these flaws are invariably forgivable…almost expected…” Cinema Head Cheese

Bloodlust acid bath gore

” …delivers satisfying late-night chiller charm that is surprisingly daring for an overlooked sixties schlocker unjustly derided as a campy disappointment if it is even remembered at all.” Culture Crypt

“With the exception of a few hardy souls interested in seeing “Mike Brady” star in a horror film, Brooke’s Bloodlust! has no real target audience, no real entertainment value, and ultimately, no real reason to even be seen.” Examiner.com

” …the hunter is too busy knocking off his own henchman, and the teens keep finding a way to elude him by sneaking back into the mansion, and rather than thrills and chills, ennui and boredom set in. A great villain might tilt the scales, but I find Wilton Graff just plain dull.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

Bloodlust tree of death

“Although some of the supporting cast are somewhat O.T.T. (chief offender: Troy Patterson as a drunken sea captain), the key players are solid and engaging, in spite of their paper-thin characters. While the film is not a patch on The Most Dangerous Game, it moves fairly briskly and is far more competently executed than many low-budget equivalents found nowadays.” The Spinning Image

Bloodlust! is certainly nothing special and the entire thing is pretty silly, but it makes for a mild diversion […] But it’s still a low-scale melodramatic time that contains minimal excitement, the expected “shock” scenes, some dumb dialogue (like Graff’s speech about his “bloodlust”), and a finale that actually turns out to be not so bad in a cornball sort of way.” The Video Graveyard

“The big problem with Bloodlust is that the Great White Hunter fella isn’t very imposing.  Instead of hunting well-trained military men like in most Most Dangerous Game rip-offs, the villain in Bloodlust hunts goofy teenagers; which pretty much diminishes his air of menace.  On the plus side, Bloodlust is pretty graphic for the time.” The Video Vacuum

” …even once the film finally moves into its horror segment, the soundstage-heavy and full-frontal filmmaking deadens a lot of the limited amount of tension the film has […] Nonetheless, Bloodlust! has more than one jaw-dropping moment, and not all of them are due to unintentional humor or inane dialog.” A Wasted Life

Choice dialogue:

Johnny: “Of all the girls in the world I had to get mixed up with the daughter of a Judo expert.”

Blood-Lust-Blood-Mania

Double-billed with The Devil’s Hand (1959)

The movie was released on DVD as a double feature with Atom Age Vampire on March 20, 2001, and later released on DVD as another double feature in 2002 with The Amazing Transparent Man.

Bloodlust DVD

Cast and characters:

Wilton Graff … Doctor Albert Balleau
June Kenney … Betty Scott (as June Kenny)
Walter Brooke … Dean Gerrard
Robert Reed … Johnny Randall
Eugene Persson … Pete Garwood (as Gene Persson)
Joan Lora … Jeanne Perry
Troy Patterson … Captain Tony
Lilyan Chauvin … Sandra Balleau
Bobby Hall … Jondor
Bill Coontz … Insane Man in Woods
Harry Wilson … Trophy [uncredited]

Filming locations:

Screencraft Studios, 8470 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

68 minutes
Black and white – a colour version was released online in June 2020
Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1
Audio: Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Related:

Hunting Humans: The Influence of The Most Dangerous Game – article

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