Ahh, another movie from the Drive-In Cult Classics box set. Now, most of these movies tend to be on the verge of being soft-core porn but every now and then, you get a different type of movie that is actually pretty decent. I actually recall this movie from the first time I watched it and remember it being a pretty decent movie. Now let’s see if Bloodlust! is as good as I remember or if I was confused by it.
The plot: Two couples (Betty and Johnny and Jeanne and Pete) are taking a cruise on a ship but are concerned about the ship’s captain, Captain Tony, and his drinking. As Tony passes out drunk on the bridge, Pete spots an island nearby and thinks that they might find some buried pirate treasure on their and the others agree to the adventure. Unable to rouse Tony from his drunken slumber, they all decide to get in the boat’s dinghy and head to shore but as they cast off, Tony rouses from his stupor and yells out to them not to go there before passing out again. Johnny and the others reach shore and start exploring the island but as they leave the dinghy, a man that was watching from some nearby rocks quickly rushes out and steals it. Finding some debris and some clams on the beach, they head into the interior of the island to find something to cook the clams on when Johnny stumbles into a pit. Pete finds some vines to use to help get Johnny out and Betty goes down to help him but as Pete and Jeanne start pulling on the vines, they are startled to see some men on the other side of the pit, with the leader telling his men to help them. The man, Dr. Albert Balleau, invites them to his home and explains that after the war, he decided to settle on the island and indulge in his passion for hunting. As they are talking, they are interrupted by Balleau’s houseguest Dean Gerrard. After Balleau sends him on his way, Johnny says they should head back to their ship but Balleau says they can’t leave, as their are dangerous wild animals in the jungle at night. As Balleau leaves the room, Johnny and the others discuss the situation and worry about Tony leaving them but Pete says that he disabled the ship so that he won’t be able to leave. When the door opens, a woman steps in, followed by Balleau, who introduces them to his wife Sandra and asks her to show Betty and Jeanne to a room for the night. After they leave, his sevant Jondor enters, who happens to be the man that stole their dinghy, and has him show Pete and Johnny to their room. Later, it is revealed that Dean and Sandra are lovers and are making plans to escape Balleau and the island but Balleau enters and after talking to them for a bit, he asks Dean to escort to her room and warns that the 4 kids presence on the island changes nothing. Meanwhile, Johnny and Pete head to Betty and Jeanne’s room and as they discuss how uncomfortable Balleau makes them, they decide to explore the house and see what is going on. The couples split up but as Johnny and Betty walk down the hall, they are grabbed by Sandra and Dean, who tell them not to scream and say they need to speak with them in private. Meanwhile, Pete and Jeanne find a staircase to a lower portion of the house and as they investigate, they quickly hide when they see Jondor enter the room. Jondor places a skull he was carrying on a shelf then pulls up the drape on a display case and Pete and Jeanne fight off making a sound when they see it contains the body of a woman inside. Pulling the drapes back down, Jondor then goes to work on the skin from another victim before heading back upstairs and after he leaves, the two quickly make their way back upstairs. Dean and Sandra tell Johnny and Betty what is going on and how Balleau spends his time hunting humans when Pete and Jeanne return to the girls’ room, indicating the horror they saw without going into detail. Dean tells them that by now Balleau has taken their boat to the hidden cove on the other side of the island and that is their only chance of escape. Johnny suggests that they all leave now but Dean warns that Balleau and his men hunt at night and it would be too dangerous for them all to leave. He suggests that he and Sandra leave and get help from the mainland and the others reluctantly agree to the plan. Dean and Sandra manage to make it out of the house and once past the gate, they embrace and kiss before making their way into the jungle towards the cove, unaware that Balleau is following behind them with a spear. Two days later, Johnny and Betty are discussing the fact that they haven’t heard from Dean or Sandra and start to fear the worst. Hearing someone approaching the room, they quickly hide and watch as a servant enters the room and enters a secret passage on the wall. Getting curious, the two decide to explore and find Balleau sitting in a large chamber. Greeting them, he proceeds to show them his trophy room, where they see various people that Balleau has hunted and killed on the island. He then explains how he came to begin hunting people and finishes by showing them the bodies of Dean and Sandra. Telling them that they can leave now, he shows them one last trophy case, which has room for 3 or 4 people, and says that they can guess what it is meant for. Returning up to the main house, Balleau explains what is going to happen to Johnny and Pete, as he plans on hunting them, and they are shocked to see Jondor bring Tony in the room. Balleau says that Tony will be joining Johnny and Pete, explaining that Balleau paid Tony to only bring people to his island to hunt but Tony chose to take a side job of bring the kids out, costing them their lives. When Betty says she and Jeanne won’t stand for this, Balleau says that they will come to enjoy the island and since his wife is now dead, he plans to get to know them better. Johnny and Pete argue the unfairness of being sent out unarmed and Balleau tells them that it won’t be completely one sided. He tosses Tony a pistol and tells them that the ammo is in the Tree of Death, then sends them out, giving them a head start. In the tree, they find the ammo box and discover that it holds only one bullet. Johnny realizes that it makes since to Balleau, as he is only bringing three crossbow bolts, one for each of them, but he left them only one shot at them. Tony convinces Johnny to give him the bullet but once he does, Tony takes off on his own, leaving them to fend for themselves. After he leaves, Johnny tells Pete that they need to head back to the house to try and rescue the girls, as he doesn’t trust Balleau’s men with them. Back at the house, Betty and Jeanne are trying to figure out their own plan of escape and, using the sound of Jeanne breaking a vase to cover the sound of Betty breaking the window, they climb out and make their way along the ledge to another window. Back in the jungle, Tony is wandering through the jungle when he spots Balleau and Jondor hunting him. Seeing Jondor move off down the side where Tony had tossed his trail, Tony goes to shoot Balleau but the gun misfires. Balleau faces Tony and tells him that he had removed the firing pin from the gun and Tony begins begging for his life. Balleau says that he will reconsider and tells Tony to head back to the house but as Tony starts to walk away, Balleau says that he has reconsidered and shoots Tony in the gut, killing him. Elsewhere in the jungle, Johnny and Pete heard Tony’s screams and Johnny says that they have to go back for the girls before they can escape. At the house, Betty and Jeanne make their way down to the trophy preparation room, where Betty hopes to use the knives in the rooms as weapons. Suddenly, the guard enters the room and attempts to grab and kiss Betty but, using the judo skills her father taught her, manages to flip him in the vat of acid, where he dies screaming in agony. Back in the jungle, Johnny and Pete continue making their way back to the house when they see a crazed man wandering the jungle, screaming out at random. As they hide from him, Pete finds himself sinking into a leech-filled pit of quicksand and Johnny rescues him, then helps him remove the leeches, then they continue on their way, knowing Balleau is close behind them. Balleau and Jondor continue tracking them, with Balleau cursing Jondor for losing the trail, and when Jondor ends up sinking in the quicksand, Balleau taunts him for his stupidity. Meanwhile, Betty and Jeanne go into the jungle looking for Johnny and Pete when they encounter the crazed man. Johnny and Pete hear the screams and rescue them, then make their way back to the house to try and get some weapons to defend themselves with. When Balleau shows up, he is surprised to see the crazed man and decides to kill him for ruining his sport. The two couples quickly reach the house and begin looking for weapons but though they find Balleau’s rifles, they can’t find the ammo. Balleau returns to the house, finding one of his guard’s neck broken outside the gate, and as he makes his way to his trophy room, he comments that nobody has ever been there a second time, alive. Telling them that the chamber has a peculiar effect of his being able to hear every sound that is made in the room, he quickly finds them when Pete accidentally coughs. Turning on the light for the display room they are hiding in, Balleau tells them that he knows their rifles are not loaded and taunts them by having them pose for how he will arrange them as trophies. When Johnny says he promised the girls would live, Balleau says he did originally but since the girls obviously helped them kill the guard outside, they must pay the price. Betty and Jeanne swear they didn’t kill any guard and Balleau has Pete turn on the light for the final chamber, revealing Jondor still alive and covered in leeches. Jondor approaches Balleau, who shoots him but Jondor is able to grab Balleau and impale him on a display rack, killing him before he dies from his own wounds. Johnny, Betty, Pete, and Jeanne turn away from the sight, remarking on how Balleau probably never expected to be displayed in his own trophy room, then head off to find a ship so they can leave.
Yep, this is still a surprisingly decent movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Wilton Graff doing an excellent job as Balleau, though I will admit that at times his voice and inflection reminded me a lot of Vincent Price. Robert Reed (Johnny) and June Kenney (Betty) were good in their roles but I honestly felt like Eugene Presson (Pete) and Joan Lora (Jeanne) honestly didn’t seem to add much except to make Johnny and Betty appear as stronger characters to be honest. The story was pretty good, with Balleau basically secluding himself so that he can kill people as he desires. Part of me seems to feel like this is familiar somehow and I know the concept has been used since this movie came out, which might be why it seems familiar. The special effects were ok for the time but there was one part that I did have some fault with. When Betty did the judo throw on the guard into the acid, a fair amount of acid splashed up onto her arm, and possibly other parts of her body, but while she did react to the splash, there were no effects shown on her body and she was perfectly fine when she approached Jeanne shortly after. I’m sorry bit this was just really sloppy work in editing there. Still, this is a good movie and something that is worth giving a shot if you want to try an older movie.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5