The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of blood-drinking, self-proclaimed supermen who want her to join them.The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of blood-drinking, self-proclaimed supermen who want her to join them.The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of blood-drinking, self-proclaimed supermen who want her to join them.
Australia's best horror movie and one of the most underrated vampire movies of all time. 'Thirst' - acquire the taste!
Back in the 1970s the Australian film industry went through a renaissance due to Government investment and tax cuts. Many of the best known movies from that period and into the early 1980s were costume dramas ('Picnic At Hanging Rock', 'My Brilliant Career', 'Gallipoli'). Though there were a handful of exceptions to this, most notably the biker movie 'Stone' and Peter Weir's black comedy 'The Cars That Ate Paris', there were very few genre or exploitation movies being made. Inspired in part by Roger Corman local producer Antony Ginnane attempted to shake things up by making sex comedies, thrillers, and this, Australia's first vampire movie. Ginnane recruited experienced TV directors who could work quickly and effectively with small budgets. 'Patrick' was his first major success, and that was soon followed by 'Thirst', which is arguably the best horror movie to come out of Australia. 'Mad Max' was in post-production around the same time, and both movies deserve some kudos. Ginnane continued with a few other movies (including the schlock classic 'Turkey Shoot') but sadly his dream of creating the Aussie equivalent of AIP or New World just wasn't to be. Chantal Contouri, a popular TV actress, plays Kate Davis, a successful advertising executive, who is the descendant of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory. A secret society of hi-tech (for the time!) vampires kidnap her at try to convince her to fulfill her destiny. They try all kinds of tricks, including drugs and brainwashing. The supporting cast includes Max Phipps (later The Toadie in 'Mad Max 2'), and Rod Mullinar ('Patrick'), even Patrick himself, Robert Thompson. The Australian cast is helped out by two overseas imports Henry Silva and the late David Hemmings. Silva doesn't do all that much apart from look cool, but Hemmings gives a good performance as the enigmatic Dr. Fraser. He and Ginnane continued to work together after this movie e.g. 'The Survivor' starring Robert Powell which Hemmings directed and Ginnane produced. The DVD of 'Thirst' features a great looking print. For such a low budget movie (under Aus$750,000) it stands up well and has surprisingly strong production values. The commentary from Ginnane and director Rod Hardy is also an eye opener and emphasizes just how resourceful Aussie film makers had to be back in the 1970s and 1980s. It's no wonder so many of them went on to successful Hollywood careers. 'Thirst' in my opinion is not only the most effective and interesting Australian horror movie, but one of the most underrated vampire movies of all time. It has languished in obscurity for too many years. 'Thirst' - acquire the taste!
- May 9, 2004
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