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Reverend Alexander Algernon Ford returns to England to reopen the Old Souls Church near Carfax Abbey. But, Reverend Ford turns out to be a vampire disguising himself as a minister. With the help of three green faced ghouls and a hunchback assistant, named Spool, Reverned Ford begins to make some plans for the descendants of the Ford family. Reverend Ford gives the vampire bite to his granddaughter Anna Ford and he makes Anna drug her husband Graham Ford so the green faced ghouls can suck his blood. Reverend Ford's cousin, Susan, is taken captive used as a breeder for vampire babies, while his quiet wife, Candace, is used as a private blood bank. Trouble starts when Susan's boyfriend Paul tries to set her free which leads to more complicated matters for Reverend Ford. Written by
Rev. Alexander Algernon Ford:
And then there is the question of the police. You all know only too well how close we have come to being discovered by the police for what we are. You all know how difficult it is to move about London after 11.30pm. London is a police state after midnight. Anyone can be stopped and asked where they are going at any time of the morning. We can no longer exist under these limitations.
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THE BODY BENEATH is Andy Milligan's most effective and unique film. Though most film finatics have seen Milligan's other features like BLOODTHIRSTY BUTCHERS (1970), GURU THE MAD MONK (1971), or TORTURE DUNGEON (1970) and say that his filmmaking tecniques are "ameturish". However, THE BODY BENEATH is his best.
We begin with Reverend Alexander Algernon Ford (Gavin Reed) who returns to England to reopen the Old Souls Church near Carfax Abbey. But, Reverend Ford turns out to be a vampire disguising himself as a minister. With the help of three green faced ghouls and a hunchback named Spool (Berwick Kaler), Reverned Ford begins to make some plans for the descendents of the Ford family. Reverend Ford gives the vampire bite to Anna Ford (Susan Clark) and he makes Anna drug her husband Graham Ford (Colin Gordon) so the green faced ghouls can suck his blood. Susan Ford (Jackie Skarvellis)is used as a breeder for vampire babies, while Candace Ford (Emma Jones) is used as a private bloodbank. Trouble starts when Susan's boyfriend Paul (Richmond Ross) tries to set her free which leads to more complicated matters for Reverend Ford.
Unlike with Milligan's other horror films that take place in the 19th Century so not to make his films look out of date, but THE BODY BENEATH takes place in modern times. Filmed on Milligan's 16mm camera on location in England and was advertised as "Filmed in the Graveyards of England", THE BODY BENEATH is an example of a good low budget film that works. Gavin Reed's acting for Reverend Ford is unforgetable and realistic. THE BODY BENEATH also contains his trademark gore sequences as we see needles plunged through a maids eyes and a man having his hands nailed on the wall. It is also complete with a scene in which the whole 19th Century Ford family rising from their graves and eating a human being on the dinner table (watch for the scene in which one of the vampires asks, "How old was she?" and Reverned Ford says, "Late twenties").
THE BODY BENEATH was also one of Milligan's features that was not released by William Mishkin, but recieved distribution by Nova International Productions, Inc. with financing of Cinemedia Films.
THE BODY BENEATH is also availble through Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment on DVD complete with theatrical trailer, Milligan's rare feature VAPORS (1965), and a poster gallery complete with Horrorama Radio-Spots playing in the background of the gallery. Also on the DVD is four Andy Milligan trailers for VAPORS, THE GHASTLY ONES (1967), GURU THE MAD MONK (1971), and the unfinished trailer to SEEDS (1968).
Highly recommended. On a scale of 1 out of 5, THE BODY BENEATH gets a 5.
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