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Blood Thirst movie review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

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Packing a title far more provocative than its accompanying content, Blood Thirst is an amiable hybrid of the detective picture and horror matinee, bolstered slightly by an exotic Filipino locale and a wise-cracking, womanizing leading man.

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In response to the current wave of unsolved, ritualistic murders, Manila’s police chief flies in a buddy from the NYPD, hoping he can breathe new life into a stagnant investigation. Posing as a journalist on holiday, Lieutenant Adam Rourke suspects the hot-headed proprietor of “The Barrio Club” to be the masked killer, especially when he gets word of shady dealings at his previous establishment.

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This masked antagonist, donning a visage not unlike that of Marvel Comics' "The Thing," perches himself on low-hanging branches, waiting to pounce on female passerby and drain them of their precious bodily fluids. Locals speculate that our meticulous killer may be a member of an ancient blood cult, but detectives on the case chalk this up to superstition, figuring a deranged loner is a more likely suspect.

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The mystery itself is pretty anemic and unfolds with nary a twist or turn. Much of the film's narrative drive is carried by Rourke's unique sense of humor, one that isn't deterred by the inappropriateness of cracking jokes about murder victims. He also isn’t afraid to get handsy with the police chief's sister, groping her when he's horny or slapping her around if she gives him any lip. If he wasn't dropping obnoxious one-liners to himself incessantly, like some proto-John McClane, it'd be easy to pass him off as an incompetent and corrupt cop. Hell, he even blows off following a cocktail waitress into the woods moments before she's abducted and killed. Despite this and a handful of other transgressions, you're still rooting for the chain-smoking philanderer, probably because he's as concerned about the investigation as you are.

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Other morale boasters come by way of titillating dance numbers and the sexy striptease of a soundtrack, which pulsates with tribal bongo and slinky jazz flute. The sounds add texture to "Barrio Club" sequences and make up for the surprising lack of incidental music. Visually, the film is framed in an artful manner and the black-and-white photography is crisp, adding atmosphere and shadow.

Well-respected assistant director, Newt Arnold, known for his work on Blade Runner and The Godfather: Part II, does an admirable job with the material and his confident fight scenes and action sequences make him an obvious choice for future work on The Getaway, Sorcerer and Bloodsport.

Though the film meanders and keeps its bloody, if mild, payoff for the last reel, Blood Thirst is a watchable and brief drive-in number that would play a perfect second bill to The Awful Dr. Orloff or Nightmare Castle. It's humorous and exotic enough to keep your interest on a dark and rainy night.

--Reviewed by Mdeapo

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