I’m not sure how I’ve managed to avoid reviewing this one – not only is David Durston’s I Drink Your Blood a balls-out example of full-goose-bozo drive-in cheese, but it became half of what was inarguably the greatest drive-in double-feature ever exploited when Jerry Gross paired it with Del Tenney’s Zombies (1964), aka I Eat Your Skin.
You know you’re in for a good time right outta the gate as the flick opens with a big ol’ naked-hippie Satanic ritual in the woods, led by oddly-accented Horace (played by “Bhaskar”). Proudly proclaiming himself to be “The first-born son of Satan,” Horace slits the throat of a chicken and drizzles the blood all over the naked breasts of Jadin Wong, who looks a little long in the tooth for such a scene but hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. As the cultists share a cup of spiked punch, Horace says “Satan was an acid-head!”
Unbeknownst to our faux Satanic Manson Family, Sylvia, a young lady from the nearby small town, is spying on the ritual. When she lets out a yelp, Horace freaks out. Andy, the “good” hippie Satan-worshipper, says the “local girl” is with him. Horace gives Andy what for, saying “No strangers on the scene – local girl my ass!”
The hippies chase Sylvia and we cut to the next morning, where we find Mildred and her little pal Pete loading meat pies into Mildred’s car. Mildred runs the rather seedy and unhygienic-looking bakery in the dying town, and she’s delivering the pies to her boyfriend Roger, who works on the dam construction site nearby. They see Sylvia – who is Pete’s sister, by the way – bloody and limping, making her way into town. Pete and Mildred take her home to grandpa, veterinarian Doctor Banner (who, sadly, does not Hulk-out even once).
Meanwhile, the hippies are loitering around their broke-down Groovy Mobile out in the middle of nowhere. They decide to walk to town, but first they pull a wacky prank on one of their pals, who is asleep in the van – they push the van off a cliff. The dude survives, but is sporting a few cuts and bruises. That Horace – such a prankster!
With Sylvia under the care of Gramps, Mildred and Pete head off to the dam site, where Pete serves coffee and meat pies to the burly construction workers and Mildred tells Roger (who has awesomely-greased hair and should be played by Bruce Campbell in the remake) that Sylvia was assaulted. Mildred thinks one of the construction workers is to blame, but Roger ain’t buying it. When Mildred whines, Roger says “Rape is a little out of an engineer’s domain.”
Mildred and Pete are back at the bakery when the hippies arrive in town. “This place is from no place,” one of the hippies gripes. Horace asserts his dominance by slapping another hippie before they enter the bakery in search of a cheap meal. They buy some meat pies and split, but curious li’l Pete follows them to a rat-infested abandoned hotel, where the hippies decide to squat. Embarking on a rat-hunt, the hippies trash the place. Sadly, I’m pretty sure actual rats were harmed in the making of this film.
Back at home, Sylvia snaps out of it and tells Gramps about the hippies. Pete tells him where they’re holed up, and grabbing his shotgun, Gramps heads to the hotel to see what’s what. He interrupts another Satanic ritual wherein the hapless hippie who got pushed off the cliff gets his feet sliced up and is dangled from the ceiling by a rope. Horace claims that he and his pals are actually a theatrical group rehearsing a horror scene. He roughs up Gramps, taking the shotgun away. As Gramps writhes on the floor, one of the hippie chicks licks his face and feeds him some acid. Pete shows up and kicks Horace in the nuts, then flees with Gramps. When Sylvia sees her grandpa, she says “He’s been doped – with that stuff they call LSD!”
Disgusted with the smelly hippies and their antics, Pete loads up the shotgun and heads out on the vengeance trail. Now, I was hoping for a little ten-year-old-kid Blastfighter-style action here, but instead, Pete’s quest for revenge is thrown off track by the appearance of a rabid dog, which he shoots down like Old Yeller without the weeping. Uh, Old Yeller spoiler alert.
Running back home, Pete grabs a big syringe from his grandpa’s vet-stash, heads back into the woods, and sucks out a bunch of the dog’s infected blood. The next morning, he injects the blood into Mildred’s meat pies, then sells ‘em to the hippies at a bargain price. I’m pretty sure you can guess where this is going.
The hippies throw themselves into a tight-close-up meat pie feast with lots of slurping. Andy (the nice Satan-worshipper, remember?) misses the meal because he sneaks out and visits Sylvia, telling her he’s fed up with the cultists and was only with ‘em for kicks anyway.
The hippies start feeling pretty crummy and before you know it, they’re all going apeshit and frothing at the mouth. Andy returns just in time to see one of the rabid hippies stab the heck out of another one, and the bloodshed begins in earnest.
As things get crazy, Roger sends a pickup truck full of construction workers into town to crack some hippie skulls, but they’re sidetracked when they spot a naughty hippie chick on the side of the road. The hippie chick pulls the light rail equivalent of a train with the fellas, then the construction workers blow off their mission entirely and take the hippie chick back to the bunkhouse where she hauls a heavy freightload (so to speak). Soon, the crazy naked hippie chick is on the rampage, biting construction workers and infecting them with rabies. From this point on, the violence escalates as hippies and construction workers alike wildly attack anyone they find.
With its flesh-hungry, blood-drinking nutjobs on the loose, I Drink Your Blood plays out like a zombie flick – or like George Romero’s The Crazies, which it actually pre-dates by a few years (and both flicks star the freakin’ gorgeous Lynn Lowry, in fact) – and sadly, once the hippies stop spouting their groovalicious hippie lingo in favor of snarling and yelping, some of the fun goes out of the movie. It never slows down, though, and the scenes of carnage are very entertaining, with the exception of one authentically gruesome scene that I could’ve done without, but that’s probably just me.
Highly recommended, and I’d pair it with I Eat Your Skin if at all possible.
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And you might dig my new novel, Squirrel Eyes (a story of lust, movies and more):
Not to mention my collection of short stories, Tales of Misery and Imagination: