‘We would still be complete human beings if we hadn’t become assistants to Dr Orlofski.’
Now full ten minutes longer on BluRay than it was in the UK video which was previously its most accessible release, Blood is often despised even by the devotees of outlaw auteur Andy Milligan – though it offers his usual mix of shrill, shrieking family melodrama and warmed-over Famous Monsters material.
In 1885, Lawrence Orlofski (Alan Berendt), the son of Universal’s Wolf Man, and Regina (Hope Stansbury), Dracula’s daughter, endure an arranged marriage, deplete their devoted servants (reducing them to crippled maniacs) and distil an all-purpose serum from a cellarful of carnivorous plants less convincing even than the specimens in Please Don’t Eat My Mother. A stretch of the plot is devoted to Orlofski’s discovery that his father’s Dickensian lawyer, Carl Root (John Wallowitch), has been stealing from the Talbot estate, and the reluctant hereditary werewolf’s flirtation with Root’s long-suffering secretary Prudence (Pamela Adams).
Milligan’s people are hypercaffeinated and over-insistent about everything, with much business involving minion Carrie (Patti Gaul) and her congealed gammy leg, but the film appears almost unfinished, with several key deaths taking place offscreen and mentioned only in the dialogue. A theoretically exciting climax involves werewolf fighting vampire in a burning houseful of killer plants, but is represented by snippets of action thrown away before a comic coda in which the burned-out mansion gets a new tenant, coyly listed as ‘Dr F’ (Lawrence Seelars) in the credits.
It’s probably missing a point to mention that Universal’s The Wolf Man (1941) has a contemporary setting, which means this adventure of Larry Talbot’s son takes place before his father was born – even more distracting is the fact that the rented Victorian costumes don’t fit well (Orlofski’s bowler hat is comically too small) and many characters wear thick stage make-up almost as stylised as that in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.