The Blood Beast Terror (1968) - I love a good old fashion monster movie, and certainly this was old fashioned, made in 1968 and starring one of the all time horror greats Peter Cushing as Detective Inspector Quennell an intuitive police inspector who solves the mystery of multiple deaths where the victims blood has been drained. Okay now I used Peter Cushing and victims with blood drained in the first paragraph, but don't jump to that conclusion. There are no two pronged wounds on the necks of the dead people. Instead there are multiple wounds, lacerations that appear to be the marks of someone attacked by a beast. So you just let that silly notion based on years of Peter Cushing experience go. No this is is not the avenging hunter, in a way it is more like the thought provoking genius of Sherlock Holmes, without the genius part that is. In Holmes films there is a mystery to be solved and only the name detective can see the clues that lead to the killer. unfortunately for the viewers of this film the mystery and the clues are in front of us and all too easy to decipher.
The synopsis is that men are being killed and each time they have slashes on their faces and their blood has been drained. The Inspector Quennell looks into it and because several of the young men have been associated with Dr. Carl Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) a local scientist and teacher he questions the good doctor. The behavior of the doctor immediately puts the inspector and anyone viewing the film on edge. He is rude and short tempered with a definite desire to not answer questions. The obvious anti investigation attitude by the doctor makes it clear he is somehow involved so the mystery just becomes the how. Since he is an entomologist we can already in the first twenty minutes of the film guess at a culprit. It is this kind of poorly executed foreshadowing that really brings this movie down. There is no revelation when the whole story comes out and that is disappointing.
Even more disappointing is what comes next where again when trying to foreshadow the script reveals that Dr Mallinger's daughter Claire (Wanda Ventham) is somehow involved in the murders, especially given away by her leering eyes and the films musical choices. When the Doctor and his daughter leave town the stupid decision of Quennell to follow them is highlighted by the decision to bring his daughter with him while he pretends to be under cover. I suppose needing a damsel in distress could be a reason for her being there but considering that the inspector is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room it is such a poor decision. It's not like he could not have gone alone. Then the final irritation really has to do with a script that felt the need to have comic relief through minor characters that although might have been endearing in 1968 was awful in today's age. This form of writing which can be seen in every summer action blockbuster out this year, where characters in the middle of a serious and darker story are put through some sort of comedic scenes that are there to release tension. Think most of Simon Pegg's Scotty in the latest Star Trek films, where really the majority of the role is to be the comedic buffoon. In this one they had a couple minor characters who whole purpose was comic release.
When the plot finishes in the most horribly forced way the viewer is left wanting more, more solid plot more solid writing etc. So in the end this film can't be recommended but listen I am being hard on it because it has absolutely no subtext. The science fiction plot is telegraphed and the writing is less than stellar. It is a harmless film over all but just not enough to hold interest.