Thursday, October 11, 2012
The Thirsty Dead (1974)
Sometimes, you run across a movie where the title is really quite interesting... and misleading... This week's "What Movie Wednesday" winner was very misleading...
Women have been disappearing from the streets of Manila in the Philippines. One night, Laura is kidnapped as well. What she discovers is a horrible cult... a cult that thirsts for blood...
When you hear the title, "The Thirsty Dead," you probably first thought that it was about vampires. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. This movie is actually about a cult that drinks blood to maintain their immortality... but aren't dead.
The premise is interesting enough, though the execution of it in this movie is not so interesting. The story makes sense throughout- and is quite logically put together. Too bad the acting, costumes, etc detract from making it a suspenseful, creepy story. Rather, it all comes across as being kinda silly.
While watching it, I couldn't escape the feeling of seeing something with elements of the original "Star Trek" series, and "Barbarella: Queen of the Universe". This might have been due to the thought that Bill Theiss- who designed many of the costumes (especially those for female guest stars) may have designed the costumes for this movie as well. Also, the cavern sets reminded me alot of how rocks and such looked in the original "Star Trek" series- as did some of the musical cues. The look of Laura (played by Jennifer Billingsley), and the costumes also evoked memories of Jane Fonda's "Barbarella: Queen of the Universe"). Research has revealed that one of the script writers (Charles Dennis) has appeared in episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Enterprise".
The characters aren't very complex or developed in this movie. The characters of Laura and Baru (played by John Considine- who had the same sort of hair as Tom Jones) are the focus of the movie... and even then, they aren't really developed all that much. I simply didn't care enough about the characters to feel any investmen in their survival.
I'll have to admit that the acting didn't help endear me to the characters. Billingsley's delivery of her lines were rather choppy and made you wonder if she learned speech from Captain Kirk. Considine's best scene was near the end when he confronts the goons of the High Priestess. Tani Guthrie wasn't too bad as the High Priestess Ranu- she got to exhibit a really mad face that I liked. The only other decent actress in the crew was Judith McConnell as Claire- the cage dancer. She played the jaded, cynical character quite well.
The camera work also gave the movie the feeling of a long "Star Trek" episode in addition to the stuff I've already mentioned.
The biggest failing of "The Thirsty Dead" had to do with the fact that it wasn't scary... at all. There's a dribbling of blood during the blood letting scene- but just a dribble. There's no real suspense, or shocks, or anything of the sort. I was hoping for dead people rising from graves and sufficient amounts of blood to sastify any ghoul's thirst... but was denied that.
All in all, "The Thirsty Dead" left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and a thirst for a gorey movie. I'm placing into "The Ugly"...
Special Shout Out:
I want to thank everyone that took part in "What Movie Wednesday"- especially the following who voted for "The Thirsty Dead":
Zoey Emily Onyx
Matthew Little (from "The Wayward Tarheel"
The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be October 17th!