Monday, 1 September 2014

Bloodlust! (1961)



There have been many adaptations of The Most Dangerous Game.  A lot of them expand the story's cast.  That's not surprising given that the original really has only the protagonist, the antagonist, and the antagonist's henchman.  Having more characters means more people to talk to each other and interact.

Or to spout exposition at each other, if you're not terribly good at this 'making movies' malarkey.

I'd ask you to guess which one Bloodlust! does, but the use of the exclamation point in the title is probably a pretty big hint about that, huh?

Four young people are on vacation together.  With the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the script lets us know that the blond guy is an awesome shot, while his blond girlfriend is a judo master.  Their brunette friends are ... well, they're on screen as well.  That's going to be a theme for the movie, by the way.

Spotting an island they haven't seen before ("It must have been hidden by mist!") they decide to investigate.  They're surprised to find that the island has a tenant: a friendly is slightly overbearing fellow.  He introduces them to his wife, and another house guest of his, and insists that the four youngsters stay the night, as the walk back to shore isn't safe after dark.

Of course, he doesn't mention that the reason it isn't safe is because he likes to hunt people then.  But his wife and other guest are more than willing to 'fess up, as they're ready to make a run for it themselves.  This pair persuade the newcomers to stay behind while they go for the boat, but of course they don't make it: our villain adds a couple more trophies to his collection, instead.

Eventually the 'heroes' decide they'd better save themselves.  For some reason, they don't think to simply try overpowering the guy, despite him regularly being in a room alone with them while there are four of them, one of whom is a judo master.

I'll give the film this: the judo master does eventually (if not terribly convincingly) bust out her moves on one of the villain's mooks.  And I was never actually bored in the film's scant 68 minute run time.  It moves along at a breezy enough clip, and while it feels like it was written by someone who was yet to master the 'show, don't tell' part of narrative, it's not too terrible for something that was obviously made on very limited resources.

At the end of the day, though, there are many adaptations of The Most Dangerous Game, and no reason to settle for this one when there are better to be had.

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