Thursday, May 29, 2003

What if Vampires Owned a Dairy Farm: Thirst (1979)

Thirst is not a great horror film (it goes on a bit too long), but there are enough ingenious ideas and grotesque imagery in it to satisfy die hard fans. In fact, although it is a vampire film, it leans more towards science-fiction than anything gothic. The vampires, who run a medical facility in the Australian outback where they bleed victims for drinking with machines, are members of the establishment –- respected, civil, non-threatening. Underneath their veneer of upright behavior awaits the same hunger that has plagued them for centuries. But when the vampires, led by Dr. Fraser (wonderfully played by David Hemmings), discover that a descendent of Countess Bathory lives near by, they kidnap the young woman (Chantal Contouri) with the intention of re-educating her to her noble, albeit violent lineage. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and most of the film deals nicely with the woman’s refusal to accept her destiny. Some of the optical effects in the film are cheesy (the vampires’ glowing red eyes), but there are more than enough disturbing images in the film to make for an enjoyable night. It reminded me of a horror pulp from the 1930s or so. Good stuff.

Thirst is available on DVD from Elite Entertainment. The disc contains commentary from director Rob Hardy and producer Antony I. Ginnane, an isolated music track, and the requisite theatrical trailer and T.V. spots.

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