Thursday, January 28, 2021 12:50

Blood Sabbath (1972)

There’s a very fine balance between a film so bad it’s good, and a film that’s just plain bad. I think that Blood Sabbath is positioned exactly between those two states, being both laughable and somehow very watchable as an example of silly 70s horror/sleaze ever about to veer into comedy.

Of course, any film which has Dyanne Thorne in a starring role is always saved from disaster, at least in my book. Ever since I got a bootleg of Ilsa: She-Devil of the SS, I’ve given a little involuntary cheer whenever I’ve seen her appear in anything else. She’s one of the great exploitation film actresses – straight-facedly steering her way through acres of bad dialogue and nudity and still coming out with a strange sort of dignity!

Blood Sabbath is incredibly 70s and bundles several exploitation elements into one picture – though you might have difficulty making them out through the murk of a frankly dismal print. We have a young drifter, aimless hippies, secret covens of very naked witches, and there’s even a strange proto-Jacob’s Ladder attempt to pass off all the blood rites and witchcraft as some sort of hallucination by a Vietnam soldier (don’t laugh).

Plot runs thus: Vietnam vet and erstwhile hippy David (Tony Geary) is making his way through the countryside when he falls prey to a Naked Women Attack. Confused, he flees his camp, falls down a banking and knocks himself unconscious. He’s tended to by a mysterious woman called Yyalah – who might be a water-nymph of some kind, but is very definitely wearing a bad blonde wig. When he recovers, hey presto, he’s fallen in love with Yyalah, but she won’t have sex with him because she’s not allowed to love people who have souls. Fair enough, David thinks, so he goes about ridding himself of his so he can get some action. When it turns out that there’s a coven of witches living nearby who demand the soul of a local girl from the nearby village each year, David offers himself up instead.

Enter Ms. Thorne as Alotta, Queen of the Witches! She takes a bit of a shine to young David and agrees to help him, but on the condition that should Yyalah bugger off, he will offer himself to Alotta. He agrees, and from here on in not much makes sense. There’s a bit of nudey dancing, some mild blood drinking, a dash of psychedelia, and though Yyalah does do a runner, David decides to attack the coven instead of becoming Alotta’s slave. Alotta curses him with her dying breath that he be ‘killed by his own people’, he’s chased around by some people in a love bus, and then it looks as though he might have hallucinated the whole thing. I know how he feels…

I can’t in all conscience recommend this film – it’s patchy, confusing and terribly produced. That said, and although I probably won’t do it again, I quite enjoyed sitting through it – and could be persuaded to sit through it with someone else, just to make them see it, too. I think I’m starting to see where the idea for the video in Ring came from! But Ms Thorne is always good value and fans of occultsploitation might like to add this one to the stack.

4 Responses to “Blood Sabbath (1972)”

  1. dfordoom says:

    I rather enjoyed this one, although the Region 4 DVD release is also an atrocious print. It's one of those movies that just makes me love 70s exploitation movies so much. I'm ashamed to say I still haven't seen Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS although I have seen Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheikhs which was an absolute hoot.

  2. I'm sure you'd adore all of the Ilsa films. In fact, I'd bet $25 that you'd love all of the Ilsa films! (Bet is low not because of my certainty but because of my funds!)Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks is actually my favourite Ilsa film. I just loved the exploding houri motif!

  3. dfordoom says:

    Have you seen Ilsa: Tigress of Siberia? It sounds vaguely tempting.

  4. I haven't, and it does look tempting! There's an Ilsa for every climate!

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