Bloodlust


Year 1959

Wilton Graff as  Dr. Albert Balleau  
Lilyan Chauvin as Sandra Balleau
Robert Reed as Johnny Randall
June Kenny as Betty Scott
Joan Lora   as  Jeanne Perry
Eugene Persson   as Pete Garwood
Walter Brooke as Dean Gerrard
 
Director - Ralph Brooke
Screenwriter - Ralph Brooke  
Cinematography   - Richard E. Cunha  

Tonight, I will watch the MST3K treatment of this picture. But before I do, I want to give out with my comments. I don't want to be influenced by the gang at MST3K (although I think it's a Mike Nelson episode and by the time he took over, a lot of writers had left the show and a lot of digs go missing).

Bloodlust is the story of four castaways who end up on an island without Gilligan. Instead, they have a psychotic host who likes to hunt The Most Dangerous Game (which was another lame movie, but better than this one) or Open Season (my first exposure to the hunting of humans theme).

On the bright side, this movie at least makes sense. The evil, wealthy Mr. Balleau has an island unto himself. Like the current political administration, he is in control, his word is law, and he can indulge himself to his heart's content regardless of the consequences. He choses to while away his time by being a sadistic killer, again much like the current administration. (I'm creditng suicides, military deaths, collateral damage, and any murders resulting from the changes in government policy in this category.)

Still with me? Good. Fair warning! I get in a second dig later on.

Like most movies of this ilk, the infrastructure does not make a lot of sense. Creature comforts like electricity exist without any explanation. Supposedly, Tony the skinny drunk Skipper of the Minnow (or whatever the boat is named) provides Balleau his quarry from a nearby, but not on the island, prison. I assume that he also provides food, clothing, etc. as well. But, since Tony can't seem to stay sober and upright for any length of time, this is doubtful.

Also, like movies of this ilk, the acting is atrocious. I can't believe that Reed Richards, or whatever his name is, became the father on The Brady Bunch after "starring" in this gem. He gives his lines as if reading them off of a queue card (or queu card or que card or qu card or q card or even cue card). His posture is laughable. He behaves as if he can't hold his arms down because his massive lats are preventing him. This just in! Robert Reedy, you're a hundred pound weaking! You're not Lou Ferigno!

An aside: Some people says that it's not nice to speak ill of the dead. Robert Reed died of AIDS some years back. He may have been a nice guy, a friend to animals, adored by some women and a lot of guys, etc., but I'm not addressing him as a person. He sucked as an actor in this movie!

In fact, most of the people in this movie really sucked at acting. Take Reedy's girlfriend, please! (Note - this is GTJ (Grand Theft Joke) from Henny Youngman who was often chided for stealing jokes from others.) This woman, Betty Scott (June Kenny) is not that good looking and makes the talents of citizen Kane's girlfriend look sterling by comparison.

Walter Brooke who plays fake alcoholic Dean Gerrard cannot act either. He gets these pauses in the middle of his lines that makes you wonder if he needed glasses to read his cue cards.

Another bad thing about the movie is that the whole thing drags on. The foursome come ashore. This is dull. They are captured by Mr. Balleau. This, too, is dull. They plot how to get off of the island. All that was missing from this stunning strategy were words and phrases like, "you know" and "totally" and "awesome, dude".

What's good about this movie? More than you might suspect.

William Graff plays Mr. Balleau with a cool detachment that, although campy, isn't too understated or maniacal. He reminded me a lot of Vincent Price, and not just because of his goatee. In the movie, the name is pronounced "Bellow" as in "Dr. Bellows" from I Dream of Jeannie days. So, we have a Dr. Bellows. Holy cow! We have a Jeannie, or at least a Jeanne, too. Is there a Tony? Yep, he's the drunk skipper of the boat. Ralph Brooke should sue I Dream of Jeannie for name theft!

What's up with the names, anyway? Forgetting about Reed Roberts for a moment, there's also June Kenny. (On IMDB and allmovie, her last name is spelled "Kenney" but in movie credits it's "Kenny" without the "e" so I'm going with that.) Kenny June makes no less sense sense than June Kenny. And what about Joan Lora, or should I say Joan Laura. It's just another example of two first names. Who helped her with this stage name, her mother?

Then there's Eugene Persson. Really? The word "person" with an extras ess? I've read about an Una Persson but I thought the name was made up. Persson must be Sweedish because they're the ones most famous for having a double ess in their last name.

Balleau's movie wife Sandra is attractive, capable actress Lilyan Chauvin, so that's another plus. And the insane guy in the jungle is convincing as an insane guy in a jungle. He's so skilled that he could even make it playing an insane guy in a forest!

The plot, although ludicrous, does not contradict itself...much. Mr. Balleau is out to kill people, so he kills people. He's a control freak, so he shows no compassion for those he can't control. The island is isolated, so nothing like a pizza delivery boy ever shows up. Guns shoot bullets and empty guns don't even go bang. Even guns with bullets don't always fire. (It's like they only had enough of a budget for two blank cartridges. "Once you use these, you're not getting any more!")

In one of the "How did that happen?" scenes, someone sneaks into the house last but gets to the end first without being spotted. That he got there at all isn't really a mystery.

The movie treats patches of quicksand as if they're death traps. I'd read somewhere that quicksand pockets aren't that deep and if a person doesn't panic and drown themselves, they can get out of one without help. Really, it's one of those myths that everyone believes but bears no resemblence to the truth, much like many "facts" in movies or the word of President Obama.

I hope you don't mind, but I've got to get this out. I'm a fan of the military. I'm proud of the U.S. military. One day Obama addressed the graduates of the Naval Academy promising them the latest in technology. The previous day he'd slashed the Naval R&D budget. His justification? And I quote, "We have right on our side!" Everyone knows that this wins battles. Just ask the French, Belgians, Poles, Germans, etc. in World War II. They'll tell you. In fact, they'll tell you, "Americans should have their President tested for drug use." (There! That was my last dig in this movie's comments.)

If you are the fan of the Obeyme administration and don't like my picking on Der Hypochrator (alright, that was the last dig), stick around for future movie comments and I could have something you might like. I'm gathering up a head of steam to start skewering the Teapot Party as myopia sufferers. (Get it? Steam? Teapot? Nevermind.)

Back to the movie, though. The special effects are servicable...for a cheap movie. Skull-less heads look like Halloween masks and I'm still trying to figure out how a vat holding fulminating acid can be made of anything other than glass. (Hint: It wasn't acid, it was dry ice and water.)

Chick flick potential? Uh, the girls do their part to escape without the help of brawny Dr. Richards. Um... Oh, yeah, and the second guy in the foursome is a wimp. Seriously, anyone willing to watch this with you on a "date" won't care about whether she feels empowered by the portrayal of the female lead.

No nudity. Maybe one or two lines of blasphemy, I can't remember.

In closing, Henny Youngman, the King of the One Liners, once quipped, "My wife will buy anything marked down. Yesterday, she brough home an escalator." Ba-bing!


Back to the simply bad or the main movie list.