Queen of Blood (1966)

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Queen of Blood (1966)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:15 pm


This horror/sci-fi hybrid is also a patchwork - director Curtis Harrington took footage from two sf Russian films to combine with new footage with the credited American & British actors. The thinking behind such a sf film is this: use fx shots and long shots from the foreign films combined with new close-ups of the actors. For example, a couple of early scenes have a Russian actor speaking before a large crowd, with extravagant background decor of a futuristic nature; you can't really see the actor making the speech because he is so far away, in a long shot; when it switches to a close-up of the speaking actor, it's Basil Rathbone.
This also has an unusual cast, matching American John Saxon with Brit Rathbone, with Dennis Hopper in an early role, and one of Forrest J Ackerman's cameos (he doesn't speak any lines, appearing as Rathbone's assistant in a couple of scenes). The plot, taking place in a future when mankind has a base on the moon, has to do with sudden contact with an alien race. Earth sends a rocket and crew to Mars to pick up a representative of this alien race; the alien's ship has crashlanded on Mars. The Earth crew bring the alien (Florence Marly) on board their ship - she's a creepy-looking female with green skin - and head back to Earth. Unfortunately, the alien female turns out to be a predator - her only diet is blood... human blood, as it happens. She has powers of hypnotism to facillitate her needs.
The 1st and 2nd halves of this film are decidedly different in flavor: the 1st half has the majority of the Russian footage, presenting a futuristic landscape on Earth and in outer space; the 2nd half focuses on the small, claustrophobic interior of the Earth rocketship (which is to say, that's most of the new footage). It's kind of slow in the first half, as to be expected. The plot in the 2nd half is a bit more interesting than expected, however; though the crew become aware of how dangerous the alien is, they are constrained to keep her alive for the good of science (Rathbone's Earthbound scientist stresses this). Hence, it's not a simple kill-or-be-killed plot as most viewers are accustomed to from these types of films - everything from It! (1958) to Alien (1979).  The conclusion suggests (like director Harrington himself did) that Ridley Scott borrowed some elements from this for his Alien. BoG's Score: 5.5 out of 10

Queen of Trivia:
the green female alien now recalls the Orion girls which were introduced at virtually the same time in Star Trek TOS (episode The Menagerie).
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