|The Blood Beast Terror|
|Directed by||Vernon Sewell|
|Produced by||Arnold L. Miller|
|Written by||Peter Bryan|
|Music by||Paul Ferris|
|Cinematography||Stanley A. Long|
|Edited by||Howard Lanning|
|Distributed by||Tigon Film Distributors|
The Blood Beast Terror is a 1968 British horror film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng and Wanda Ventham, released by Tigon in February 1968. In the United States it was released by Pacemaker Pictures on a double-bill with Slaughter of the Vampires under the title The Vampire Beast Craves Blood. The film is also known as Blood Beast From Hell and Deathshead Vampire.
In October 2019, the U.S. magazine Little Shoppe of Horrors (#43) published a major article on the making of The Blood Beast Terror. Over nearly 30,000 words, author John Hamilton discusses the genesis of the film, the difficulties during production, and the impact of post-production interference. As well as an in-depth and exclusive interview with Vernon Sewell, Hamilton includes comments from Tony Tenser, Stanley Long, Howard Lanning (editor), and star Glynn Edwards.
In 19th century Britain, a series of grisly murders are taking place in the countryside near London. The victims are good-looking young men, between the ages of twenty and thirty, and all have had their throats torn open and their blood drained. The witness of the latest murder, a coachman named Joe Trigger (Leslie Anderson), is driven insane when he catches a glimpse of the mysterious killer.
Investigating the deaths are Detective Inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing) of Scotland Yard and his assistant, Sergeant Allan (Glynn Edwards). Because Joe keeps ranting about a horrible winged creature with huge eyes, Quennell hatches a theory that perhaps a homicidal eagle is on the loose. At the scene of the latest killing, several shiny scales are discovered.
The two latest victims were students of the renowned entomology professor Dr. Carl Mallinger (Robert Flemying), who lives nearby with his beautiful daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham) and their scar-faced butler, Granger (Kevin Stoney). When Quennell brings the scales to Mallinger for identification, Mallinger behaves suspiciously and tries to take all of them. Quennell describes his theory about a killer eagle, but Mallinger dismisses it outright. Quennell is unaware that the entomologist has a pet eagle, which is tormented by the sadistic Granger.
Explorer and naturalist Frederick Britewell (William Wilde) returns from Africa with some moth chrysalids for Dr. Mallinger and the handsome young adventurer soon becomes a victim of Clare, who is the real murderer; Clare is a "were-moth" and transforms at night to drink the blood of young men. Britewell becomes her latest victim after watching her in an amateur horror play performed by some of her father's students (which seems to be a spoof of the Hammer Frankenstein genre), but lives long enough to exclaim, "Death's head!", to Quennell before he dies. Both Mallinger and Clare claim not to have known Britewell when questioned by Quennell.
Quennell's superior suggests he takes a holiday and delegate the case to Sgt. Allan, but the Detective Inspector refuses. He reveals his intention to send his daughter Meg to stay with some relatives in Sussex until the investigation is over. As they leave for the railway station, Allan informs Quennell that Dr. Mallinger did in fact know Frederick Britewell, prompting Quennell to perform an immediate search of Mallinger's home. He finds that the scientist and his daughter have left for Upper Higham. He also discovers a cellar filled with human bones and Granger's corpse.
Quennell informs his superior he will be taking leave after all: he and Meg go to Upper Highham incognito as a vacationing banker named Thompson and his daughter. There they meet a young bug collector who shows him the proudest exhibit in his collection, a Deathshead moth, and Quennell discovers that Mallinger is also incognito as a "Dr. Miles" staying at a nearby estate. Can he stop Mallinger who is attempting to create a male were-moth to be a mate for his increasingly bloodthirsty daughter?
- Peter Cushing as Inspector Quennell
- Robert Flemyng as Dr. Carl Mallinger
- Wanda Ventham as Clare Mallinger
- Vanessa Howard as Meg Quennell
- Glynn Edwards as Sgt. Allan
- William Wilde as Frederick Britewell
- Kevin Stoney as Granger
- David Griffin as William Warrender
- John Paul as Mr. Warrender
- Leslie Anderson as Joe Trigger
- Simon Cain as Clem Withers
- Norman Pitt as Police Doctor
- Roy Hudd as Smiler
- Russell Napier as Landlord
- Robert Cawdron as Chief Constable
- Kenneth Colley as James
- Beryl Cooke as Housekeeper
- John Hamilton, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, Fab Press, 2005 p 115-116
3. Little Shoppe of Horrors #43: ‘the making of The Blood Beast Terror’