Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Queen of Blood (1966)

We were all about space in the 60's. There was the space race, science fiction novels popping up everywhere, and of course, movies and television. Space operas, aliens, stations on the moon, wacky gadgets that never came to be, robots-you name it, we were obsessed with it. Well, you'll find some of that in the Roger Corman/Samuel Z. Arkoff produced film "Queen of Blood", which like Mario Bava's classic "Planet of the Vampires", mixes blood suckers with aliens and space.

I'm sure you remember that we didn't have stations on the moon and whatnot in 1990, but that's the case here. Anyways, an alien spacecraft has landed on mars, and a rescue team lead by Allen Brenner (John Saxon) is out to see it. They find an alien girl (Florence Marly) there, and take her on board. Big mistake, as she's hungry for blood, and after she drains Paul Grant (Dennis Hopper), it's clear that she will feed again...

"Queen of Blood" isn't a classic, but it's fun for what it is. The direction by Curtis Harrington is solid, as he manages to conjure up a tangible atmosphere throughout the proceedings that's reminiscent at times of the aforementioned "Planet of the Vampires", especially in it's sense of pervading dread and horror. I also enjoyed the theremin and moog heavy music on display, which has a sense of kitschy fun to it. And kitsch is exactly what the main draw of this movie is. Every cardboard and paper mache set, every optical effect, and the goofy hairstyle of the queen herself adds to the campy exterior on display.

If there is any flaws with the movie, it's that it takes way too long to get to meet the vampire/alien girl. For a while, it's a lot of talking and shots of cheap sets, with a bit of stock footage thrown in, and while that can be fun, I started to wonder "when does the queen of blood show up" several times. Also, a minor and somewhat selfish complaint, but I wish Dennis Hopper was the lead instead. He's one of my favorite actors.

Complaints aside, this is a fun slice of sci-fi schlock from back in the day, and fans of these kinds of movies should check it out. Now if only we could have space stations on the moon...

Rating: 7/10

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