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Not Peter Cushing's worst movie
Chris Gaskin27 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I have read in one or two reviews stating that Peter Cushing says The Blood Beast Terror is the worst movie he ever appeared in. I disagree and I found this rather enjoyable.

A series of vampire like killings are the result of a woman who periodically turns into a giant dead head moth, mostly at night. A mad scientist has been doing experiments on her to make her do this. Detective Peter Cushing is assigned to the case and the woman is burnt to death at the end, in her moth form but gradually changes back as she burns.

The movie also stars Robert Flemyng and comedy star Roy Hudd.

Despite reading bad reviews, I rather enjoyed watching this movie. A treat for horror and sci fi fans.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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hellpepper18 July 2007
OK, not one of the better offerings of British horror, that's true. But it does have Peter Cushing who is always fun to watch and I have to give credit for the writers to try to bring a somewhat more original monster to the screen than just another rehash in the Vampire or Frankenstein vein. Well, come to think of it aside from making the monster a moth ,this really is just another rehashed Vampire story with a few elements from the Frankenstein storyline thrown in for good measure.

I cannot help but wonder if the monster was inspired by the legend of the Mothman, the legendary beastie from West Virginia. The resemblance is pretty close. A man sized moth creature with red glowing eyes.

Shame more people have not seen this though, it's not as bad as its reputation. I find it pretty enjoyable.
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Worthwhile Gothic in the Hammer Mould
Sean Jump12 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR is an entertaining Gothic chiller in the Hammer fashion, albeit lacking the production values Hammer films are often fondly remembered for. Peter Cushing carries off the role of the film's hero--a detective on the case of a series of unorthodox and bloody murders that start off in London and move out in the countryside--with his usual charisma and professionalism, and he's ably supported by a number of solid co-stars, including Robert Flemyng (well-cast as a scientist with a dangerous secret)as well as the lovely and talented Wanda Ventham and Vanessa Howard. The script drifts into the doldrums now and then,and the comic relief isn't always well-conceived, but a rich atmosphere and a measure of unpredictability carry the film through. The eponymous "Blood Beast" is scary enough if you can make the necessary suspension of disbelief often called for in science fiction and horror films. The climax is fitting, if perhaps a bit perfunctory. A better overall production than its given credit for, and certainly superior to many horror films to have been released since.
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"Enjoyable on the cheesier side of British horror."
jamesraeburn20036 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Inspector Quennell of Scotland Yard is called in to solve the mystery behind the brutal killings of two young men, whose bodies were completely drained of blood. The press favor the theory that they were the victims of a giant bird of prey. Quennell (Peter Cushing) discovers that both men were students of the distinguished entomologist Dr Mallinger (Robert Flemyng), but he seems unable to help the inspector with his inquiries. Meanwhile, a young entomologist called Britewell (William Wilde) arrives at Dr Mallinger's home from Africa with some specimens. It soon transpires that Mallinger during the course of his research, turned his daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham) into a creature that can turn herself into a giant Death's Head moth, which thrives on human blood. After she seduces and kills Britewell, Quennell learns from the local police station that Britewell was a colleague of Mallinger's as the village constable gave him directions to his mansion. However, when Quennell approaches Mallinger with these facts, he denies ever meeting him. Quennell is now suspicious but Mallinger and Clare flee to another remote district of the English countryside. Quennell makes a discrete search of Mallinger's deserted house and finds the body of his butler as well as the skeletons of other victims hidden in Clare's underground lair. In the guise of a banker called Thompson, Quennell takes his daughter Meg (Vanessa Howard) to the village where Mallinger has fled having tracked him down because one of his former servants overheard where he was taking his daughter. Having successfully arrived in the village incognito, Meg befriends William (David Griffin), a young man who catches butterflies and moths to study them under his microscope. They go out on a hunt together and accidentally stumble upon Mallinger and Clare's hiding place and narrowly become victims themselves. Quennell realises that he must act quickly and apprehend Mallinger and his fearsome creation before the death toll reaches a horrifying level. In addition, Dr Mallinger is working on a mate for Clare...

The Blood Beast Terror (US title: The Vampire Beast Craves Blood) was originally to have featured Peter Cushing as Inspector Quennell with Basil Rathbone playing Dr Mallinger. Unfortunately, Rathbone died just weeks before filming was due to commence at the Goldhawk studios in Shephards Bush London. Both Cushing and Rathbone had enjoyed acclaim as Sherlock Holmes as well as being cast in numerous horror films. It would of been interesting to see what sort of chemistry they would have created between them on the screen. Alas, it wasn't to be.

Nevertheless, the film has many fun moments such as British comedian Roy Hudd's comedy relief role as a mortuary attendant whose always scoffing pickled onions. In addition there's an amusing sequence in which Dr Mallinger's students stage a Frankenstein like play in the former's living room complete with hammy acting and lousy home made special effects. It's practically an in joke at theatrical mishaps like when one of the students goes to pull the curtain across the stage "Oops the curtain's stuck." he cackles.

As a horror film, it emerges as enjoyable on the cheesier side of British horror. For instance, it was clearly made on a shoestring (even cheaper looking than Hammer's films of the period) and Clare's transformation scenes into the creature aren't very satisfactory. Yet Peter Cushing and Robert Flemyng play their parts with a certain authority that makes the picture a lot better than you'd expect and director Vernon Sewell (a true veteran of the British film industry) keeps things moving at a good pace so the film never outstays its welcome. It is made all the more entertaining as it light heartedly sends up the genre with its in jokes about theatrical mishaps and cheesy effects. Wanda Ventham is excellent as the evil Clare portraying the character with a genuine sense of malice and evil. In summary, it is the distinguished cast and director who put this film a lot higher than it deserved. With lesser talents it would have been a complete disaster.
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6/10 does have Cushing!
rosscinema18 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'm one of those who loves old horror films especially the one's from England which have their own unique style but let's face it, not all of them were top notch efforts and I think this clearly is one of those despite it's sincerity. Story is set in Victorian England where bodies have been piling up completely drained of blood and Police Inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing) has taken over the case. He also notices that the bodies have strange wounds about the face and this leads him to believe that some sort of flying beast is what's causing their deaths.


What Inspector Quennell doesn't know is that his acquaintance Dr. Karl Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) who's an entomologist has somehow transformed his daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham) into a half human/half moth creature that feeds on blood. Clare has the ability to turn into this beast anytime she feels but she wants a male mate and her father has been very busy trying to bring to life another vampiric Deathshead moth but when he feels that Quennell's investigation has brought him too close they pack up and leave. Inspector Quennell tracks down Clare and Dr. Mallinger to another town but hasn't figured out exactly where they are living until his daughter Meg starts acting strange and when another body pops up this points him in the right direction to end everything!

This less than spectacular effort was directed by veteran Vernon Sewell who was no spring chicken in 1968 and would end up directing only one more film after this but one has to wonder if his age or the reception this film had that prompted that. Hammer Studios was so successful during the 1960's that it led to other studios being created such as Tigon Productions which made this film but it never had any huge hits and went kaput in the early 1970's. One of the big reasons (if not the entire reason) that this film fails to be suspenseful is because of the poor special effects which has Ventham in her moth form appearing in an outfit no different than the one that Susan Cabot wore in "The Wasp Woman" and I never could understand how these creatures could morph into another life form and have their clothes disappear! Wouldn't they be monsters wearing the same clothes like Lon Chaney Jr. did in "The Wolf Man"? I also noticed a few other things that may or may not interest anyone (but...who cares?) like the scene where the morgue attendant (played by creepy Roy Hudd) is having dinner on a slab with a body and if you look closely you'll see the cadavers foot move more than once. I also never did fully understand the reason Dr. Mallinger's scarred servant was so mean to the birds that were kept and for what purpose his death meant but I'm guessing it was to just keep him quiet...for good! It's also safe to say that Billy the bug catcher isn't going to be getting laid anytime soon because it appeared that the bleary eyed Meg was actually interested in him but all he wanted to do was kill bugs. He's about "THAT CLOSE" from being Renfield! The ending also hurts this film and it's hard to believe that some giant moth-creature would just fly into some fire and be killed after being intelligent enough to lure victims to secluded areas. If your a fan of English horror films (like myself) than you'll find this watchable and a good reason for that is the casting of Cushing who's mere presence raises this from junk to passable entertainment. I am recommending this because true horror film fans will find enough here to keep them interested and I have to admit that I'm one of those who's a sucker for these types of films even if it's not from Hammer.
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The Blood Beast Terror (1968) **
JoeKarlosi2 July 2004
I've always heard atrocious things about this Hammer imitation, but it wasn't that bad IMO. It may be the only time I've seen Peter Cushing appear that he was walking through a role, though. He just doesn't seem very interested and I've read somewhere that he considered this his "worst horror film". I don't know whether this was his own approach to the material or the spawn of director Vernon Sewell. Maybe it was the part of a police inspector that didn't showcase Cushing to his best ability. I haven't seen THE REPTILE yet, but apparently this film is very derivative of it. I thought that the Deathshead moth creature was reminiscent of THE WASP WOMAN myself, but this wasn't a bad thing; the creature makes some pretty satisfying appearances and killings. The ending is very weak and the whole approach comes off on the superficial side. But one could do much worse for a horror movie. ** out of ****
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This poor man's Hammer horror is reasonably entertaining b-grade hokum.
Infofreak17 August 2003
I really had high hopes for 'The Blood Beast Terror'. An above average cast led by Hammer legend Peter Cushing, Robert Flemyng ('The Terrible Dr. Hitchcock') and Wanda Ventham (of cult TV series 'UFO'), and produced by the same company that made the excellent 'Witchfinder General' and one of the best non-Hammer movies Cushing was ever involved with, 'The Creeping Flesh'. Surely this was going to be an overlooked gem? Sadly no. While it isn't an absolute waste of time, it's nowhere near as good as 'The Creeping Flesh' or any Hammer movie from the same period. It reminded me in many ways of 'The Reptile' but it was nowhere near as good. Cushing and Flemyng give it their best shot, but despite a few effective sequences, it never really takes off, and the disappointing climax really lets the movie down. For rabid Peter Cushing fans only. Otherwise stick with his Hammer work, 'The Creeping Flesh' and 'Horror Express'.
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Vastly Underrated Film
gavin69426 June 2013
A scientist (Robert Flemyng), working with genetics, creates a creature that is capable of transforming back and forth between a giant Death Head moth and a beautiful woman. The creature masquerades as his daughter when she is in her human incarnation and feeds on the blood of her victims when she is in the moth form.

So, Peter Cushing has allegedly said this was his least favorite role or the film he considered his worst. This is taken from IMDb, and there is no source or exact quote. I can see why he might say that -- this is not the best Cushing role by any means. But it is far from a bad film. Tigon gets a rough break, being treated as the third best British horror studio (behind Hammer and Amicus), but this does not mean their films are awful.

Apparently Basil Rathbone was going to play the part of the scientist. I think the only good that would come from that would be a slight increase in star power. Flemyng handles the role very well, and I am hard-pressed to say Rathbone could have improved upon it in any way.
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An Opportunity to See Vanessa Howard Again
aimless-4629 January 2006
Ignore the most negative of the comments, "The Blood Beast Terror" is not total garbage. It has the Hammer Studio's feel which it was trying to imitate; with a decent imitation of the Hammer Victorian production design and a performance by Peter Cushing (as Police Inspector Quennell). It is also features one of the few available film appearances of Vanessa Howard, unfortunately she has only a supporting scream queen role as Quennell's daughter Meg. Check out "Girly" if you want to see a lot more of this underutilized actress.

"The Blood Beast Terror's" main weakness is its low budget which resulted in some horribly lame special effects, although the budget cannot be entirely blamed as just a little imagination in this area would have resulted in something far more effective. It also suffers from a condensed story that does not supply enough scientific details to make the basic premise interesting.

So instead of a sci-fi/horror picture, it is more of a detective story with some laughable horror elements. But it is a decent detective story with enough misdirection to produce several surprising revelations. Contrary to several other comments, I had no problem with the ending, finding the idea of a moth (even a giant one) being drawn to a flame quite appropriate, although so poorly staged as to be groan inducing.

There is some great comic relief in the underplayed performance of Glynn Edwards (as Sergeant Allen) and the overplayed performance of Roy Hudd, as the jaded morgue attendant who casually eats his meals off the slabs in the morgue (complete with cadavers). There is unintended comic relief in the casting of 30 year-old Wanda Ventham as the mad scientist's on-the-make "teenage" daughter. Nothing exceptional but a cut above much of the 60's cheap sci-fi and horror.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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Far BELOW the British horror standard from that time...
Coventry28 June 2004
You'll have to agree about one aspect of this movie…these British scriptwriters sure knew how to think up appealing titles! Look at this: blood + beast + terror … Separately, these three words already make every horror lover slaver. Together, they form the title to a seemly indispensable horror film. Sadly, this is a very wrong perception. The Blood Beast Terror is not a vital British horror picture. Especially not compared to so many other titles from that era. Although the plot of this film features a few promising and creative aspects (the still unknown universe of insects!), it develops itself very slow and tediously. The twists near the end don't really offer any surprises or innovative elements. Certainly not if you're familiar with the more famous Hammer monster movies like `The Reptile'. Peter Cushing stars as a cop investigating murders that are seemly committed by a giant death's head moth. Dr. Mallinger (Robert Flamyng) and the stunningly beautiful female resident in his mansion are behaving suspiciously, so Cushing goes undercover in rural Britain. His cute daughter and a bug-worshiping nerd accompany him. There's absolutely no tension to detect in this film. Maybe that's partially due to the far-fetched plot, but I rather blame the tame directing-skills of Vernon Sewell and the truly limited depth of this film. The characters in `Blood Beast Terror' are weak and uninteresting, while the make-up effects are downright ludicrous. The transformation-sequences that turn wench into moth are really, really cheap! And yes, I do keep in mind that the film is over 35 years old now. Even then, the special effects look stupid, mind you! In the same year of 1968, the production company (Tigon Productions) released `The Witchfinder General' starring Vincent Price. That film is at least a dozen times better and one of the most atmospheric movies I ever saw. A proof that the Hammer studios weren't the only ones who were able to create timeless, compelling horror. My advice: skip this one and continue your search for the more essential golden Brit-horrorfilms.
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Highly Underrated Film
Rainey Dawn17 May 2016
I really see no different from this film and other horror films starring the great Peter Cushing. Nor do I see a difference in shape-shifting to a (were)wolf or a moth or a bat - it's still horror and this one is done tastefully as I would expect from a Peter Cushing film of this time era.

Beautiful Gothic imagery, a good suspenseful inspector/detective story blended in quite well with the horror we see on screen. I love some of the music in this film as well - works quite well - eerie sounding. The acting is good - it's as if the actors really believe they are the characters and this really is happening - just the way it is suppose to be, very convincing.

Good late night film - I quite enjoyed this one.

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Much maligned imitation Hammer horror
Eegah Guy18 April 2001
So do you think that moths are scary? I know someone who does but I doubt even they would find much fright in this anemic slice of British horror hokum. Peter Cushing lends his usual good performance and the period detail is well executed but the blood-sucking moth creature is too silly for words. Fans of creature features may think that the moth beast looks a lot like the bee monster in Roger Corman's THE WASP WOMAN. The destruction of the vampire beast moth creature at the climax is particularly pathetic.
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Genetic experiment creates a vampire creature
kikaidar15 June 2000
Warning: Spoilers
A somewhat peculiar period piece, involving Darwinian experiments with insects, an unseen, blood drinking horror, and a dedicated police officer seeking to track down a vampire killer.

The action opens as an expedition into deepest Africa yields several rare cocoons of the Deathshead moth. Not that this is a particularly rare species, but presumably the African version is. Better, it will be something which researcher Robert Dr. Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) can test some radical new theories upon.

Some years later, Mallinger is living in seclusion in England, still conducting his researches. Living with him is his young daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham), who attracts the interests of several young men in the locale. These are students assisting the doctor, as well as amateur dramatists, and they produce a rather bizarre play of Frankenstein, complete with deliberately quaint special effects, during a lull in the overall action.

Clare is drawn to one of these students, and goes off with him. However, they're briefly separated, and something kills him.

This brings in the local police, and Inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing). Quennell arrives with his own daughter, Meg (Vanessa Howard), in tow.

The investigation goes nowhere, as the scientist is unwilling to assist. In the meantime, Meg is becoming friendly with the seductive Clare.

It is revealed that Mallinger has been somehow crossing the moth larvae with human beings. His "daughter" (who drinks blood when excited) is the first to hatch. Two more are awaiting hatching in the cellar, which has been kept to a specific temperature.

In the final minutes of the film, the unhatched creatures are destroyed, as is Clare. The experiment is ended.

Not all that bad for an imitation of the Hammer period and atmosphere. The unborn creatures are an interesting design, as is the angle of the pseudo-daughter actually being a hideous, blood thirsting creature with the intellect to master speech and whatever else it needed in order to pass unnoticed as a human being. It's also always nice to see a new role for Peter Cushing.

A few scenes, such as the play-within-the-movie are slow and distract from the plotline, but overall, it's a decent minor film.
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THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR (Vernon Sewell, 1967) **
MARIO GAUCI2 April 2007
Peter Cushing used to refer to THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR as the worst film of his prolific career, and this was enough to keep me from getting the SE DVD of it on R2 from DD Video when I purchased four more second-tier British horrors from the same outfit last year - namely, ISLAND OF TERROR (1966), NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT (1967), CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR (1968) and THE CREEPING FLESH (1973). Eventually, it was shown last Saturday night on an Italian TV channel in its original language with forced Italian subtitles, and I really couldn't let an occasion like that pass me by...

Tigon was always seen as a cut-rate Hammer and this film was clearly inspired by the latter's THE REPTILE (1966; one of the Bray Studio outfit's best of the decade, and which THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR can't hope to match) - where, again, we find a female monster 'created' by her eminent but misguided entomologist father (Robert Flemyng). The monster design (we're dealing with a giant Death's Head Moth here) isn't too bad, actually, and it's thankfully not over-exposed during the course of the film: besides, Wanda Ventham's character is interesting in that she doesn't bemoan her fate as usually happens in such genre efforts - rather, she's single-minded in seeking out her prey among Flemyng's naïve students and rugged helpers around the estate, all of whom are easily swayed by her attractiveness!

Aided by a fine score from resident Tigon composer Paul Ferris, the film creates a reasonable Gothic atmosphere throughout (with, at one point, even an amateur rendition/parody of a typical Grand Guignol performance set up by the students - and also featuring Ventham - in Flemyng's house). The script, incidentally, is by Hammer alumnus Peter Bryan (THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES [1959], THE BRIDES OF Dracula [1960] and THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES [1966]) and, while offering no real surprises, it's quite enjoyable for what it is - certainly better than its reputation would suggest! That said, the monster's come-uppance in an unconvincing and abrupt fiery ending is one of the lamest of its kind I've ever come across...

Cushing - with his customary fastidiousness and dry wit intact - is always a pleasure to watch; Flemyng, too, offers his unhinged medico routine - and it's interesting, to say the least, to witness this clash of Hammer and Italian horror acting styles! Notable among the supporting cast is Roy Hudd as a scurrilous morgue attendant.

At this stage, I don't know whether I'll eventually spring for the R2 DVD - since it contains a 25-minute career overview with Ventham - but, if it's ever discounted again by one of my British retailers of choice (and provided that it hasn't gone out-of-print by then!), it's worth considering. Another DD Video title I've long neglected is THE DEVIL'S MEN (1976), incidentally, also starring Peter Cushing - and, even though it's an equally maligned horror effort, I have to admit that I'm a sucker for such things...
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Possibly the worst film Peter Cushing ever made
dbborroughs27 April 2008
Is this the worst film Peter Cushing ever made (he seemed to think so) Anything is possible, But I'd have to see the rest of what he's made to see what beats BLOOD BEAST TERROR a not so nifty movie about a giant killer moth.

Yes, a giant killer moth. I can't make this stuff up...I wish I could but I wasn't old enough to be taking the drugs required to make this in 1967.

I picked this up as a USED DVD, I stress USED, or barely used, since I don't know if anyone watched this more than once. Its almost that dull that hospitals will use it instead of gas. Its not entirely bad, but it is dull...

The main problem, and there are many others, is that the makeup is laughable. To say this is a dumb monster is rating it too highly. Think the original Wasp Woman, only worse. Its bad. I was wondering why this wasn't better known until I saw the monster and knew, that was the reason the movie is in the forgotten pile.

Even if the monster was decent there is the problem of the film plodding along at an okay rate for about two thirds of it and then getting stupider, things happen to reach an end not because they would. But what else is new as things happen at the start of a scene and then shift in mid-scene, for example the villain is performing a complicated experiment at one point and is interrupted by a knock...Peter Cushing arrives and hero and villain simply go off with all this equipment running as if nothing was being done...

A mess, a real mess.
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The Blood Beast Terror
Scarecrow-8811 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Peter Cushing stars as Inspector Quennell, a detective trying to uncover who it is murdering folks in his jurisdiction. Scales are left at the crime scene and the victims all suffered nasty lacerations where teeth had been gnawing, draining their blood, eating their flesh. Robert Flemyng is a mad genius, an expert in entomology and a geneticist who has somehow created a giant Deaths-head moth, who masks itself as a beautiful woman, Clare(Wanda Ventham), pretending to be his daughter, luring young men with her feminine wiles before returning to insect form and attacking them. While I didn't feel it was as horrible as many feel it is(..including Cushing, from what I've read), this creature feature doesn't even try to thrill the viewer with any surprises, instead director Sewel and writer Peter Bryan fashion this after many a monster movie. You have the detective searching for the causes behind grisly(..though, unseen)murders. We see the mastermind behind how the monster was created. We see how the unmasked monster operates. We see how the mastermind's own creation causes enough problems with her feeding habits that he must hit the road with the detective in steady pursuit soon making the startling discovery that a giant killer moth is doing in innocent men. Creature turns on creator. Creature's weakness for blood/flesh does her in eventually. Of course, this film provides Cushing's inspector with a cute daughter, Meg(Vanessa Howard), who will find herself in possible danger. Her potential boyfriend, William(David Griffin), a bug catcher will also face certain peril due to his killing a deaths-head moth for his collection. The film features lovely countryside setting with beautiful flowers of a variety of colors and shows how vindictive and cunning Clare is at spotting males, and maneuvering them away from the eyes of possible witnesses. This is no world-beater, but it's an adequate time-waster. I've seen much worse, but Cushing doesn't look very comfortable or inspired in this role, which is a very rare case in such a storied career. Roy Hudd, as a mortician, is a hoot always eating(..and offering snacks to Inspector Quennell and Sergeant Allan, played by Glynn Edwards when they are reviewing the bodies of victims)and grinning wide, cracking wise and often irritating his guests. The killer moth is basically a bug costumed stunt-person.
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Spoilers follow ...
Nigel P12 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film is flatly directed by veteran Vernon Sewell, and involves a mysterious creature stalking the British countryside relieving local youths of their blood.

Robert Flemyng plays entomology professor Dr. Carl Mallinger in a role originally designed for Basil Rathbone, who sadly died before shooting began. His daughter Claire is persuasively played by Wanda Ventham. Peter Cushing stars as the perpetually chewing Detective Inspector Quennell with a subtle edginess compared to his usual genial performances. As the undertaker, Roy Hudd appears in the kind of role Miles Malleson might have essayed ten years earlier, endlessly making puns about corpses etc. Vanessa Howard plays Meg, Quennell's daughter; in one of those bizarre decisions typical of films made at this time, her voice is dubbed, very badly, by an artiste who sounds a great deal younger than the character. This practice has always baffled me – why take the time to hire an actor only to rob them of one of their most important hallmarks, their voice? Glynn Edwards, most famous for his role in television's 'Minder' is Sgt Allan (one of this film's highlights is the occasional banter between Allan and Quennell, apparently suggested by Cushing) while veteran Kevin Stoney plays Mallinger's scarred retainer Granger.

The cast are capable, but the film plods and seems to last longer than its 88 minutes - there are various reports that both Flemyng and Cushing were not happy throughout. In the opening scene, which the film didn't need to show as events are recounted later anyway, Africa is represented by a muddy English river and forest with ill-matching stock footage of wildlife inserted (including a Central American Macaw!). There is an initially amusing amateur dramatics play performed that serves no real purpose, but seems to drag, for example, and far too much time is spent with minutiae at a time when the story could really do with building up some sort of tension.

The Blood Beast responsible for the film's alleged Terror is a human sized death's head moth, Claire's alter ego. Impractically, to commit the various murders, Claire would have to transform from fully clothed and exquisitely made-up into the creature, and back again, from one scene to the next. The creature's eventual destruction is very badly conveyed, but at least it brings proceedings to an end, dispelling a growing feeling that the film was going to last forever.
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Would have been sorted with a 20ft Mothball....
Prichards1234529 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Blood Beast Terror is a film I recorded from the Horror Channel about 3 months ago and watched the other night. It features Peter Cushing, who should really have turned this one down, and Dave from Minder on the trail of a serial killer, who turns out to be Wanda Ventham (aka Benedict Cumberbatch's mum) transformed into a giant Death's Head Moth. No, I did not just make that up.

The Moth suit is laughable - I really hope poor Wanda didn't wear it, and it was a stunt Moth-Man or something. No actor should be thus embarrassed. And the airborne Moth will have you giggling - it makes Bela Lugosi's Devil Bat look convincing.

The plot makes little or no sense, the celebrated Etymologist professor, played with a suitably stunned expression throughout by Robert Flemyng, stages an am-dram play in his house which features Ventham being revived from the dead, which is arguably the weirdest scene in horror film history, and at the opening of the movie, what looks like the banks of Thames stand in for the Limpopo river! Even Cushing - the Alec Guinness of horror - can't make this work, at one point his sweetie-chewing Police Inspector even takes his daughter along to the locale where the killer-moth is hiding out,completely oblivious to the danger.

The movie was made by Tigon, who either produced horror classics or dreadful crap. I'm sure you know which one The Blood Beast Terror is.....
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Brides "Deaths Head" Revisited.
Spikeopath7 October 2013
There is no dressing it up, this is a bad film. It may not be, as Peter Cushing was to say, the worst film he ever made, but it's laughably bad all told. Out of Tigon Productions, it pretty much is what it is, a cheap attempt at trying to give Hammer Film Productions a run for their money. Now the fact is is that Tigon did manage to churn out some decent horrors, in fact in the case of Witchfinder General one of the true greats of Brit horror, but it's stuff like this that really drags their name down.

Entomology Escapades.

Plot is kind of irrelevant since the editing and directing is all over the place, but in a nutshell a "winged" predator is literally sucking the life out of dandy young men in period England. Cushing is the "not so" intrepid copper who can't see the obvious from act 2, and the rest is a sort of reverse Bride of Frankenstein; only with moths! There's a little bit of cleavage, some shrieking and some fiery malarkey, and even a fake play within the play that is actually more fun than the movie!

The effects are awful, where the "moth creature" looks like something that would come last in a fancy dress competition, and the acting away from the ever graceful Cushing is not worthy of an acting credit. Is there fun to be had? Yes, definitely, the whole thing feels like some freaky alternative dream world induced by drinking too much anti-freeze. So get someone to strap yourself up (and by that I mean straight-jacket), imbibe something really potent before hand, and marvel at the sheer incompetence of it all. 3/10
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An inept British Horror: 'The Blood Beast Terror' (1968)
mulloyj9 September 2012
Despite the presence of (Sir) Peter Cushing - a Hammer legend with an iconic screen persona - this film is truly lamentable. 'The Blood Beast Terror' may have alliterative power but it certainly doesn't possess terror. From the faux genetic science in the clichéd vein of 'tampering with Nature (God's grand design)' to the pace less plotting and hammy acting; to the flimsy sets and appalling special effects, what the audience is ultimately subjected to is a film devoid of atmosphere, tension or 'scares'. And before I am accused of not placing the film into any kind of historical context, there are plenty of British and Non-British thrillers/horror films made during this period which do accomplish thrills and spills, even if purely on a psychological level: Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' (1960) and Robert Wise's 'The Haunting' (1963), for instance, or Polanski's 'Repulsion' (1966). Notably, Polanski returns again with 'Rosemary's Baby' in the same year as 'The Blood Beast Terror' and, again in the same year, the horror film is transformed by the sub-genre defining 'Night of the Living Dead' - with George A. Romero showing us seminally how horror truly acts as social commentary. My advice is stick to films which take the idea of genre filmmaking seriously - including those films which push the boundaries, like 'Repulsion'.
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As usual, Peter Cushing rises above the material he was given to work with
bensonmum28 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Peter Cushing was really amazing. Regardless of the movie, he's an absolute joy to watch work. In The Blood Beast Terror (which I understand Cushing considered one of his worst movies if not the absolute worst), Cushing does a tremendous job given the film's ridiculous premise. I hate to use the word silly when describing a plot but that's just what the storyline in The Blood Beast Terror is – silly. Cushing plays Detective Quennell, an inspector hot on the trail of vicious killer. But this is no ordinary killer Quennell's hunting. His target is a flying creature that sucks the blood from its prey. Can Quennell catch the creature before his daughter becomes the next victim?

So, what's Quennell chasing? Get ready for this – he's chasing a giant moth. That's right, a giant were-moth! That's really what we have here – a were-moth. I told you it was silly. I can't imagine the thought process that went into creating the idea of a human transforming into a moth. And how do you pitch that one to the studio? No wonder The Blood Beast Terror was made by little Tigon and not Hammer or Amicus. In addition, the special effects add nothing to already ridiculous goings on. It's obvious the filmmakers' ideas far outstripped their budget given the thankfully brief appearance of the ludicrous looking were-moth. The thing looks so . . . silly (there's that word again). Add to that a complete lack of mystery, some dodgy acting from a couple of the cast members (Vanessa Howard in particular), and misplaced music queues throughout, and you've got yourself one pretty bad movie.

But as bad as it is (and trust me, it's bad), Peter Cushing is always worth watching. The man could do more in a scene by himself than a roomful of other less talented actors. He was a truly great actor and one of the best the horror genre has ever seen. Also on the plus side are the very authentic looking locations, costumes, sets, and props. The movie might not be very good, but much of it is very interesting to look at. Finally, I got a real kick out of seeing a very young David Griffin's efforts in The Blood Beast Terror. I really enjoy his later work as Emmet in the very British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances.
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Peter Cushing versus a giant moth! Yeah right...
Boba_Fett11381 February 2006
Pulp, pulp absolute pulp. The story is just as silly as it sounds. The also didn't bother to explain- or make sense to anything. For a monster movie it also doesn't have enough 'monster' in it and the story is not tense or mysterious mainly because it's such a complete mess.

The story is incredible B-movie like. A scientist has created a creature that can transform back and forth between a giant moth (what the...?!?) and a young woman. To stay alive, the moth has to feed itself with fresh blood of innocent victims. This is where Peter Cushing comes in. He plays an inspector who is set to investigate this strange and mysterious murders. An awful few is ever happening in this movie. From start till the finish the movie basically isn't heading anywhere and the movie is filled with dull moments that are distracting from the main plot line of the movie. Yes, it really is a movie about nothing.

The giant moth creature makes the whole even more ridicules. The moth itself is not back looking but the transformation scene's are laughable bad. Even the transformation sequences in "The Wolf Man" from 1941 were more convincing. The moth also gets very little interesting to do in the movie and is only featured in about 3 very short sequences I believe.

The entire movie is also horribly edited together. At times it feels like entire sequences were cut out, or not even filmed. The movie jumps from one sequence to another.

At least Peter Cushing seemed to be enjoying himself during filming. Just look at his face during his sequences with Russell Napier and Vanessa Howard. Also Glynn Edwards was somewhat good and enjoyable in his role. Robert Flemyng and Vanessa Howard were however dreadful most of the time. Also look out for Kenneth Colley (Captain/Admiral Piett from "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi".) and a very young David Griffin (Emmet from "Keeping Up Appearances".) in quite a big role.

The ending of the movie is also a huge letdown. It's very simple and completely unsatisfying. Perphaps almost even laughable.

Guess it's still only a bit good and scary when you are afraid of moths.

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"There were some very strange goings on there"
hwg1957-102-26570418 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A Tigon production (as in an imitation of Hammer Films) that concerns a series of mysterious deaths in a small town. Men are being attacked but by what. An eagle? The eventual answer that emerges is a bit risible but the film directed by veteran Vernon Sewell is not bad but not that good either. The low budget shows though Stanley A. Long's cinematography is crisp and colourful. The monster make-up is ordinary.

Robert Flemyng is suitably intense as Dr. Mallinger, Glynn Edwards as the police sergeant is solid as usual and Roy Hudd gives a hilarious cameo as a mortuary attendant. It also does have Peter Cushing as Inspector Quennell and as always he gives a good performance, even with such thin material to work with and it also has the beautiful Wanda Ventham as Clare, who does charming and strict both equally well. Who would not fall for her? Wanda Ventham never got enough lead roles which was a shame.

There is an amateur play within the film which has a sort of Frankenstein type plot which must have amused Mr. Cushing and I'm afraid to say the play-in-the-film was just as entertaining as the film-around-the-play.
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The Blood Beast Terror
jefuab1 January 2017
The Blood Beast Terror Vernon Sewell (1968)

There is a monster on the loose and it's a giant bloodthirsty moth! "It was a horrible creature sir! With big eyes sir! And horrible wings sir, horrible wings sir!" This is what Tigon could produce when on average-mediocre form; it's a well-directed film with a cool lead performance from Horror icon Peter Cushing and an effective, albeit common, score from Paul Ferris. It features the old fashioned and aesthetically pleasing sets indicative of Hammer and Tigon films as well as the theatrical use of lighting and colour.

The problem with this film is it lacks the benefit of originality and the conviction of its makers to invent something that stands out. The Blood Beast Terror owes some of itself to Hammer's "Reptile" (John Gilling, 1966), for example, but is also an amalgamation of a plethora of films and classic stories preceding it (such as Dracula and a strangely overlong play clearly based on Frankenstein). The film was also made shortly after the initial "Mothman" stories in America took off; it could have been an interesting project coming out in conjunction with all that hype had the writers chosen something other than a contrived plot from a terribly well-trodden path starting in the wilds of Africa and ending in a quaint English village with a mad-scientist and an exotic creature.

The Blood Beast itself is very run-of-the-mill. It fits alongside "The Wasp Woman" (Roger Corman, 1959), "The Alligator People" (Roy Del Ruth, 1959) and "The Return of the Fly" (Edward Bernds, 1959), and despite being made ten years later it isn't as good as the other films mentioned. The performer portraying the moth-creature made no visible attempt to act which made the suit look as bad as it was (although infinitely better than Breeders (Tim Kincaid, 1986)) and it seems quite obvious that the titular monster was made humanoid to save money and time on designing puppets and models.

There are a lot of scenes without which the film would have been better; a disappointing direction for the film to have taken after an arresting first 15 minutes. I found the opening scene in Africa most engrossing. There was no dramatic music, only natural sounds over silence, and there was a real tension behind the sublime peacefulness of the setting. I also think that the first attack was successful in conveying mystery and horror. After that I am afraid it is a rather average-mediocre film.

The Blood Beast Terror, although watchable, would have benefited from a more monster-orientated script, a much simpler beast, and more precise editing. Peter Cushing himself remarked that it was the worst film he had ever worked on but, if that is the case- although I disagree, he's been lucky in his career; there's far worse than this.
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Quaint and cheesy British horror fare
Leofwine_draca4 December 2015
A Hammer imitation from Tony Tensor's Tigon films, only made on a lower budget and with noticeably less enthusiasm, THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR is actually a lot more entertaining than it really ought to be. The film is obviously made on a lower budget than Hammer had to play around with at the time and this occasionally shows through, particularly in the creature's costume. However, once again a fine British cast are assembled for the job, veteran director Vernon Sewell puts in a solid if unremarkable job, the script is literate, the locations good and the movie well-filmed. THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR manages to be atmospheric in places, especially in the woods at night, and its colourful and enjoyable to look at throughout with adequate production values.

The saving grace of the film is Peter Cushing, who actually considered this his worst movie, but then perhaps he didn't remember NO SECRETS. Cushing is typically cast as the detective who investigates the series of (surprisingly bloody for the time) crimes but unfortunately he doesn't take much of a role in the action. Cushing fans will always remember his strenuous battles with Christopher Lee's Dracula and his surprising agility and strength in the physical scenes in his films, but there's none of that here. Still, Cushing is excellent as usual in his part, investing Quennell with mannerisms and typical quirkiness to make him an appealing character.

The film is rather episodic in nature, with lots of mini-climaxes before the ending, but thankfully its also rather short and doesn't outstay its welcome. There's a definite lull in the action about halfway through involving some amateur dramatics which seem to be out of place in this horror yarn, but otherwise its pretty solid. The scientific explanation behind the monster's creation is very hazy and disguised with lots of paraphernalia and props to make it seem believable and it just about works. As for the creature, it appears laughable rather than scary, with red ping pong ball eyes and a skin-tight costume with wings, but this adds to the unintentional humour rather than detracting too much from the flow of the movie.

Robert Flemyng (best known for his turn as the sleazy necrophiliac in Italy's THE TERRIBLE DR HICHCOCK) is very good in his part as the disturbed doctor who eventually turns his back on his experiments and proves to be an adequate foil for Cushing's hero. The female cast members take more prominent parts than usual, particularly Wanda Ventham as the young temptress. Vanessa Howard (GIRLY) is nice and sweet playing Cushing's daughter, but is a bit underused and isn't menaced enough, whilst Roy Hudd gets some great macabre humour as a morgue assistant who has his lunch at the feet of a corpse (although I was distracted by the "corpse's" feet, which kept twitching). Altogether, the positive points of this film outweigh the bad and fans of British horror may find it quaint and enjoyable, although it definitely could have been spiced up a bit with more action and excitement.
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