Peter Cushing takes the lead role in Tigon Film's utterly dire period "horror" piece. DDHE UK R0 DVD.
the 19th Century, people in the English countryside are being horribly
killed by a giant insect. A distinguished entomologist who lives
near-by is acting very strangely about the incidents, and police
inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing) suspects he might be involved.
In the late 1960s, with the popularity of the British horror at an all time high,
producer Tony Tenser founded Tigon Productions aiming to cash in on the
sucess of the Hammer and Amicus horror films, with some even lower
budget entries. Despite occasional sucesses, including the powerful Witchfinder General (1968), the company is usually known for shooting some of the worst exploitation horror movies ever made - Blood Beast Terror
is no exception. Although the plot itself is pretty standard B-movie
fare, seen in everything from American 1950s productions, to TV shows
like the X-Files, it
is the delivery of the story that stands out as exceptionally poor
- the dialogue is terribly hackneyed, there are dozens of daft jumps in
logic, a swarm of unnecessary characters with blatant run-time padding
and a complete absence of mystery and excitement. The ending is
suitably predictable and does nothing to boost the viewer's spirits. A
sad decline for writer Peter Byran who provided the strong script for
Hammer's Plague of the Zombies (1966) and the servicable script to the studio's Challenge for Robin Hood (1967).
Vernon Sewell provides adequate direction at best and does nothing to
built any tension to the story. The reveal of the creature early on
destroys a lot of tension and the special effects are on a par with a
school play. Peter Cushing was in a rut in 1968 - looking after his
wife meant that travel was limited and he could not follow Christopher
Lee into filming for European directors so he was stuck with low budget
British horror, it was not until later in the year that he got the role
of Sherlock Holmes for the BBC, followed by the impressive Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969). Although this meant he did appear in a number of decent Amicus and indepent films, he also ended up in films like The Blood Beast Terror, although to his credit, he gives a good performance. Basil Rathbone was originally cast as the sinister entomologist,
and although it would have been a treat to see a meeting of Holmses, it
would have been a shame to see such a meeting in such a dire film.
Ultimately The Blood Beast Terror
is film so bad as to not even provide some cheesy entertainment for a
late night viewing. Looking more like an amateur project than a studio
film it is among the worst British horror films from the 1960s, and
falls far below even the lowest point of Hammer or Amicus Studios. If
not for the presence of Peter Cushing, it would doubtless languish in
well deserved obscurity.
famous in it?
Peter Cushing - the star of many of the best, and worst, British horror films of the 1960s and 1970s.
Directed by anyone
Vernon Sewell - a lesser known British director who shot a few horror films in the 1950s and 1960s.
Is it scary?
Not at all.
A few violent scenes, some blood.
Who is it for?
Not recommended to
anyone. Low budget British horror fans, and Peter Cushing completists
might want to watch - but don't say I didn't warn you.
Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour. The
print is relatively poor - with noticably faded colours and some heavy
grain and speckling throughout and a lack of detail. Generally better
than a VHS.
English original mono - sounds fine.
Interview with actress Wanda Ventham. Interesting and informative. (26 minutes)
Original Cinema Trailer.
Publicity stills gallery, presented as a video file with no music.
24 page booklet. Extensive background details and notes about the film.