Bloodlust! (Ralph Brooke, 1961)
Now don’t get me wrong: I am willing to give any movie featuring Mr. Brady—yes, Robert Reed himself—holding a shotgun and looking murderous in its opening sequence as much of a pass as I need to. Though I have to say that thirty seconds later it was revealed he was shooting clay pigeons off the deck of a boat, so I was less impressed. And when the boat wrecked on an island inhabited by a rich lunatic and the movie became an upside-down ripoff of The Most Dangerous Game (one man hunting a party of victims rather than a party of hunters), well, I tossed it into the rubbish heap. But I still kept watching because, man, it’s Mr. Brady being hunted by a rich psychopath.
Plot: Johnny (Reed) and Pete (Earth vs. the Spider‘s Eugene Persson), along with their ladyloves Betty (Teenage Doll‘s June Kenney) and Jeanne (Unwed Mother‘s Joan Lora in her final screen appearance), have chartered a boat piloted by the constantly-soused Captain Tony (Attack of the Puppet People‘s Troy Patterson). You know what they say about drunk driving, and the boat runs aground on an island, where the lot of them are taken in by the master of the place, Dr. Balleau (Lust for Life‘s Wilton Graff). He seems all right at the beginning, but the crew soon realize he’s nuts, and plans to send the men out to be hunted (by him, of course), while keeping the ladies locked up to breed a new super-race, or something like that.
The Most Dangerous Game, and variations on same, have been done in cinema, and done well (witness the 1994 flick Surviving the Game, for example). This is not one of those times. Everyone here is overacting their heart out, the “young folks” are in their late twenties or early thirties, the special effects are laughable save one scene (but then that whole scene is laughable, so the one place where decent special effects come into it, they’re hamstrung by the material). There are some movies one must watch with one’s jaw sitting on the floor while you gaze in wonderment upon a movie that you cannot believe actually got released in the theaters back in the days before direct-to-video gave everyone with a camera and no talent a distribution channel. This is one of those times. *