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Australia 1979
Directed by
Rod Hardy
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars


Synopsis: A young woman Kate Davis (Chantel Contouri) is kidnapped by a sinister cult and taken to a large stately home. There, surrounded by a group of pallid, ill-looking inmates, she soon realises that her captors are farming blood from the victims to feed a new breed of modern chic vampires, shipping it out across the world in milk cartons. She finds she is the last living descendant of a long line of vampires who desperately want to brainwash her and make her join their clan of blood suckers. Helped by the friendly Doctor Fraser (David Hemmings) she escapes, but not before she has been changed forever. Will she be able to fight her haemophilic urges or will she be turned to the dark side of vampirism?

Producer Anthony. I. Ginanne is a one-man Australian horror factory whose credits include Patrick (1979), Turkey Shoot and Harlequin.(both1980) He claims that he wanted Thirst to be his own version of a Hammer film and he almost got it right. The mix of gothic horror and modern day science is reminiscent of the British studio’s final Dracula effort, The Satanic Rights of Dracula but lacks the stately reverence that the celebrated studio and its stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, gave its legendary characters.

The international cast includes David Hemmings and Henry Silva. Australian actress Chantel Contouri is attacked, stripped naked and showered in blood, forced to eat exceedingly bloody meat and yet, considering what director Rod Hardy put her through, gives an endearing performance.

Hardy drives the film on at a cracking pace and it has enough Australian nuances, not least of which is Brian May’s score, evocative of his music for Mad Max,(1979) to give it a charm of its own. The blood farms, full of drained victims and vampiric psuedo-scientists so come across as a cheap James Bond set that you half expect a tuxedo-clad agent clutching a crucifix to burst in at any moment. A cheap mix of gore, nudity and 70s thrills, the film is an entertaining take on vampirism that actually manages to benefit from its complete disregard for vampire folklore.




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