The Blood Beast Terror (1968)

a.k.a The Vampire Beast Craves Blood
Peter Cushing takes the lead role in Tigon Film's utterly dire period "horror" piece. DDHE UK R0 DVD.

The Film

In the 19th Century, people in the English countryside are being horribly killed by a giant insect. A distinguished entomologist who lives near-by is acting very strangely about the incidents, and police inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing) suspects he might be involved.

In the late 1960s, with the popularity of the British horror at an all time high, producer Tony Tenser founded Tigon Productions aiming to cash in on the sucess of the Hammer and Amicus horror films, with some even lower budget entries. Despite occasional sucesses, including the powerful Witchfinder General (1968), the company is usually known for shooting some of the worst exploitation horror movies ever made - Blood Beast Terror is no exception. Although the plot itself is pretty standard B-movie fare, seen in everything from American 1950s productions, to TV shows like the X-Files, it is the delivery of the story that stands out as exceptionally poor - the dialogue is terribly hackneyed, there are dozens of daft jumps in logic, a swarm of unnecessary characters with blatant run-time padding and a complete absence of mystery and excitement. The ending is suitably predictable and does nothing to boost the viewer's spirits. A sad decline for writer Peter Byran who provided the strong script for Hammer's Plague of the Zombies (1966) and the servicable script to the studio's Challenge for Robin Hood (1967).

Director Vernon Sewell provides adequate direction at best and does nothing to built any tension to the story. The reveal of the creature early on destroys a lot of tension and the special effects are on a par with a school play. Peter Cushing was in a rut in 1968 - looking after his wife meant that travel was limited and he could not follow Christopher Lee into filming for European directors so he was stuck with low budget British horror, it was not until later in the year that he got the role of Sherlock Holmes for the BBC, followed by the impressive Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1969). Although this meant he did appear in a number of decent Amicus and indepent films, he also ended up in films like The Blood Beast Terror, although to his credit, he gives a good performance. Basil Rathbone was originally cast as the sinister
entomologist, and although it would have been a treat to see a meeting of Holmses, it would have been a shame to see such a meeting in such a dire film.

Ultimately The Blood Beast Terror is film so bad as to not even provide some cheesy entertainment for a late night viewing. Looking more like an amateur project than a studio film it is among the worst British horror films from the 1960s, and falls far below even the lowest point of Hammer or Amicus Studios. If not for the presence of Peter Cushing, it would doubtless languish in well deserved obscurity.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? Peter Cushing - the star of many of the best, and worst, British horror films of the 1960s and 1970s.
Directed by anyone interesting? Vernon Sewell - a lesser known British director who shot a few horror films in the 1950s and 1960s.
Is it scary?Not at all.
Any violence/gore? A few violent scenes, some blood.
Any sex? None.
Who is it for?
Not recommended to anyone. Low budget British horror fans, and Peter Cushing completists might want to watch - but don't say I didn't warn you.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The print is relatively poor - with noticably faded colours and some heavy grain and speckling throughout and a lack of detail. Generally better than a VHS.
Audio English original mono - sounds fine.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Interview with actress Wanda Ventham. Interesting and informative. (26 minutes)
  • Original Cinema Trailer.
  • Publicity stills gallery, presented as a video file with no music.
  • 24 page booklet. Extensive background details and notes about the film.
AvailabilityAvailable on its own, or in the Peter Cushing Collection boxset.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? An R1 DVD exists, part of the Image Euroshock Collection, although it lacks the interview or booklet from this disc.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut. English language print - American title card.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 30th September 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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