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Cult Cinema: Queen of Blood (1966) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1086 days ago on Entertainment - Courtesy of MGM StudiosShortly after mounting his first feature film as a director with the Dennis Hopper starring Night Tide, writer-director Curtis Harrington would spend his next two feature film projects with American International Pictures and producer-director Roger Corman as a director-for-hire.   In a controversial but common practice with lower budgeted science-fiction/horror films slated for drive-in theaters during the mid-60s, Harrington and Corman would rifle through preexisting Russian or Czech sci-fi films and strip them of their special effects shots to be repurposed into whatever new narrative feature they were making ala Turkish Star Wars.  The first of which was Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet in 1965, recut from the Soviet film Planeta Bur followed by Queen of Blood a year later recut from A Dream Come True.Courtesy of MGM Studios Queen of Blood, also loosely based on the screenplay for A Dream Come True as well as borrowing footage from Battle Beyond the Sun, sits nicely alongside the likes of Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires for ultimately being a colorful stowaway killer alien horror film ala It! The Terror from Beyond Outer Space.  Featuring newly shot scenes starring John Saxon, Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper, the film concerns a salvage team of astronauts sent to investigate the crash of an alien spacecraft on the surface of Mars.  Upon their search of the crash site, they discover a green female alien being who doesn’t speak or eat food but whose silent gaze proves irresistible to the male astronauts unaware of their new guest’s vampiric thirst for crimson. While obviously a mishmash of two movies, the third feature of Curtis Harrington nonetheless is a visually striking sci-fi thriller which doesn’t disappoint on the colorful poster, at times offering up nearly as many kaleidoscopic vistas as the aforementioned Planet of the Vampires.  Despite the microbudget, compounded with the costume designs of the astronauts and Harrington’s own skillful framing lensed beautifully by cinematographer Vilis Lapenieks Queen of Blood is one of the prettier looking drive-in cheapies comprised of snippets from other foreign films you’re likely to see.  Acting wise the film sports a too-good-to-be-true cast with John Saxon and the legendary Basil Rathbone clearly having a lot of fun here.  Special attention goes to the Czech actress Florence Marly as the seductive but deadly alien stowaway who despite being covered in green makeup is radiant onscreen.  Word has it Dennis Hopper had a hard time not smirking on camera due to the silliness of the premise but nonetheless at this point was clearly part of Harrington’s new entourage of low budget drive-in filmmaking.Courtesy of MGM Studios  Surprisingly, Queen of Blood became successful enough at drive-ins for Universal Pictures to hire Harrington to do a big studio picture with Games.  Years later, the film even generated an even lower budgeted sequel starring Florence Marly called Space Boy! Night, Neal and Ness around 1973.  Seen now while the film is indeed dated and doesn’t quite have the visual brilliance (or originality) of Mario Bava’s film, Queen of Blood is a fun little number in the cult director’s checkered career and as such is a good old fashioned color saturated 60s space monster movie!--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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