In 1966 low budget studio AIP released Queen of Blood,
an outer space adventure/horror flick that was made
on the cheap by cobbling together the special effects shots from two
films and crafting a new story around them.
Given the films origins it will come as a surprise that it's
pretty good. With some talented actors
including Basil Rathbone, John Saxon, and a very young Dennis Hopper,
its low-budget origins and ends up being an entertaining
In the far-off future, 1990, Earth has established a moon
base but has not yet traveled to another planet. The
big question facing scientists is if we
are alone in the universe or not, and to help answer that question an
to Mars is being planned.
Before the liftoff however contact is made with an alien
intelligence. Communicating through
radio transmissions, the alien race informs the Earth that they'll be
delegation to our planet. Unfortunately
their ship crashes on Mars, and a rescue mission is launched, headed by
Farraday (Rathbone). The Mars rocket is
rushed to completion and sent to the red planet. When
they arrive they discover the alien
craft and a dead crewman, but the escape pod is missing, along with the
the crew. Running low on fuel they can't
search the rest of the planet and another spacecraft capable of landing
won't be ready for months.
Back on the moon, a pair a space pilots, Allan Brenner
(Saxon) and Paul Grant (Hopper), come up with a bright idea: if they use a lesser powered rocket, they can
reach one of the moons of Mars. From
there they can survey the planet for the other alien vehicle and once
use the smaller craft's escape pod to travel the short distance to Mars.
When they arrive on the Martian moon they're astounded to
discover the missing alien craft along with a single survivor, a green,
woman. They take her to Mars and start
the return trip home, but they're worried that they can't get the woman
to eat. That's because she doesn't feast
on meat and
vegetables, but on blood.
Given the fact that this was a very low budget production,
as I stated in the intro, the rocket scenes and Mars landscape shots
lifted from a pair of Soviet films, it's actually pretty good. The
has a lot of plot elements that Alien
would later employ, is interesting and much more convoluted that
films of the time. What seems to be a
first contact story at the beginning turns into a rescue mission, and
goes awry a second one has to be launched, and then it ends up being a
This last element works fairly well too. The
alien woman is very creepy, especially
once it's established that she feeds on human blood, and the director
Harrington who also wrote the script) was able to use his camera
heighten the tension. Focusing on the
alien's deep green eyes, and showing them glowing when she was hungry,
last act of the film an eerie feeling that added a lot to the movie.
That's not to say the film doesn't have its share of
flaws. The dialog is pretty bad in parts
and clunky at best. When Dr. Farraday
hears that two members of the rescue mission have been killed by the
emotes "Things are going badly. Very
badly indeed." Ya think?
The pacing is off in parts too. The
plot drags a bit in places, and it's odd
that the titular character isn't introduced until the movie is half way
over. Even with these missteps, it's
quite an entertaining film that will please SF fans.
The disc comes on a DVD-R disc in a standard keepcase with
The mono soundtrack does the job. There
isn't any hiss or background noise, and
while the audio isn't very dynamic it does reproduce the dialog and
I was very pleased with the 1.85:1 anamorphic image.
The film has not been restored but the print
used was in very good shape. There were
a couple of errant spots on the screen during the run time, but only a
and the scratch-free picture was generally very pleasing.
The colors were bright, though they didn't
pop as much as a newly restored image would, and the lines were
tight. The Soviet film footage was
noticeably softer, but that's not too surprising. A
very solid transfer and image.
Like all of the current MOD programs, this disc doesn't have
any special features.
Not a great film, but certainly a good one, this low budget
AIP film is sure to please fans of 60's SF movies.
The print looks very good and if the rest of
MGM's Limited Edition Collection discs are of this caliber the program
gotten off to a great start. A strong recommendation.