Friday, October 25, 2013


The best line in this space vampire B-movie comes at the beginning, when a girl extricates herself from the make-out embraces of her horny boyfriend; his articulate attempt to get her back in the car: "Don't be a drag—you know how you flip me!" It's mostly downhill from there, and it's certainly downhill for the girl who immediately runs into a middle-aged man wearing sunglasses at night (although with the terrible day-for-night cinematography, it always looks like high noon) who kills her with his telekinetic stare—no pupils, just the whites of his eyes—then uses a mechanical pump to empty her blood into a vial. You see, the man (Paul Birch) is actually an alien from the planet Davana (it keeps sounding like he's saying Havana) and he's trying to collect blood to save their dying race. Periodically, Birch opens up a closet door and communes telepathically with someone on the home planet. He even tries to send a Earthling through the closet door (apparently also a teleportation device) but that experiment fails. Birch uses his telepathic powers to get a doctor (William Roerick) to give him a transfusion, then hires the doc's nurse (Beverly Garland) to be a live-in caretaker. He already has a valet (Jonathan Haze) who hasn't got the slightest clue what's going on, yet still makes meals for Birch who never eats a bite. Another alien from Davana (Anne Carroll) arrives, but promptly gets an accidental transfusion of blood tainted with rabies and dies, which triggers the climax in which Birch unleashes a flying monster to kill the doctor, then chases after Garland with her cop boyfriend (Morgan Jones) coming to the rescue.

Most critics are kind to this film, and it does have its moments: the first shot of the flying monster (kind of a spider-bat hybrid) got a bit of a shriek out of me, but unfortunately when you see it in action, it looks like a rather pathetic little toy on a string. The blank eye effect (pictured above) is creepy. The acting is pretty good, with Garland in particular giving it everything she's got. Corman regular Dick Miller (at right, seen to best effect as the star of A BUCKET OF BLOOD) has an amusing scene as a vacuum cleaner salesman who winds up drained and tossed in the incinerator. Haze is moderately attractive in a Neanderthal way, strutting around in a grungy white tank-top and a chauffeur's coat. The last 15 minutes are suspenseful and the last shot is particularly effective, but the low budget hurts the mood of the movie; everything is too bright and suburban to sustain a mood of dread. [DVD]

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