I Drink Your Blood (1971)

Rating: B-

Dir: David E. Durston
Star: Bhaskar, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Riley Mills, George Patterson

When a group of hippies invade a sleepy little town and start abusing the residents, they don’t know what they’re in for. In revenge, local kid Pete (Mills) infects their meat pies with rabies, and before you can say, “Isn’t the incubation period actually three to eight weeks?”, they’re frothing at the mouth and attacking anyone in sight with axes, swords or teeth.

This 1970 drive-in classic was originally titled Phobia, until renowned exploito-producer Jerry Gross changed the name and put it out with I Eat Your Skin on a double-bill – the trailer, also on the DVD, is wise to reveal nothing about Skin. Blood, however, contains enough gore for both of them, albeit at the Herschell Gordon Lewis level, and there’s a definite Manson influence (the infamous killings happened just the previous August), with “PIG” written in blood on the body of one victim. Scarier yet, however, is Pete and his syringe of rabid blood; he knows exactly what rabies is, but infects the hippies anyway. One deleted scene shows Pete trying to confess to the police, then deciding not to bother; he’s likely the most sociopathic pre-teen since Billy in 2000 Maniacs.

Kudos to Fangoria for a release (originally a mail-order only limited edition from Grindhouse) packed with extras and easter eggs, such as the I Eat Your Skin opening. Durston, in his 80’s, is sharp as a tack both on the commentary and interviewing colleagues, and it’s amusing to see Bhaskar, now an elderly gentleman in glasses rather than a psychotic hippie; sadly, he passed away in 2003. All this greatly enhances a film whose reputation likely exceeds it, and that’s now about as offensive as a puppy. Still, if you’ve a soft-spot for drive-in flicks, you’ll certainly find plenty to amuse here.