Blood Beast Terror
aka The Blood Beast
from Hell / The Deathshead Vampire / Vampire Beast Craves Blood
terribly cheap Tigon production about a giant man-killing moth, starring
Peter Cushing is what we have here. Dr Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) lectures
to local university students about his favoured line in lepitoptera - moths.
The dead body of a student turns up one morning and the inquisitive police
inspector (Cushing) investigates. With a Thames tributary desperately trying
to pose as an African river during the opening prologue, one quickly realises
not to set one's hopes too high in anticipation of the truth behind The
Blood Beast Terror. Extreme close-ups (attempting to cut out the non-African
background) of a monkey and a parrot (!) to suggest the exotic African locale
fail to raise the expectations any higher. When Mallinger returns to ol'
Blighty and sets about breeding a new family of moth, his scar-faced butler
is kept busy keeping any curious visitors away from his master's work.
Unfortunately for Mallinger's sex-starved daughter (Wanda Ventham) this also
keeps away any potential suitors. And good job too, because simply by bringing
electricity into the equation, Dr Mallinger creates a giant super moth (a
kind of proto-Mothra). Problem for the locals is, this moth needs tasty human
flesh to survive.
Cushing's police inspector
is a confident character and the horror veteran's performance smartly brings
him to life. Comedian Roy Hudd pops up at one point as a comic relief mortuary
attendant eating his dinner at the feet of a corpse. The film loses any pace
and tension it manages to muster early during the running time, when the
story relocates to an idyllic country retreat. Here, the poor lighting and
dull sets never convince as a country cottage but look everything like a
cheap studio. With its read plastic eyes, black mask and antenna, the mutant
moth resembles (Japanese superhero) Ultraman more than any bug, and
so leaving the competent actors fighting against budget to salvage any
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