Queen of Blood
|Queen of Blood|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Curtis Harrington|
|Screenplay by||Curtis Harrington|
|Based on||the story "Mechte navstrechu"
by Mikhail Karzhukov
|Music by||Leonard Moran|
|Edited by||Leo H. Shreve|
Cinema West Productions
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Box office||$177.3 million (as at 1 Oct 1966)|
Queen of Blood is a 1966 horror-science fiction film released by American International Pictures. The director, Curtis Harrington, crafted this B-movie with footage from the Soviet films Mechte Navstrechu and Nebo Zovyot. It was released as part of a double bill with the AIP film Blood Bath. The film features John Saxon, Basil Rathbone, Judi Meredith and Dennis Hopper.
The year is 1990 and space travel is well-established since humans landed on the moon twenty years earlier. At the International Institute of Space Technology, communications expert and astronaut Laura James monitors strange signals being received from outer space. Laura's superior, Dr. Faraday, translates the signal and discovers that it is from an alien race who are sending an ambassador to Earth. However, soon after this Laura receives a video log showing that the aliens have suffered an accident to their ship and have crashed on Mars.
The Institute launches a rescue mission on board the Oceano, including Laura, and astronauts Anders Brockman and Paul Grant. The Oceano travels through a sunburst, suffering some damage but makes it to Mars and locates the alien craft. Anders and Paul go to investigate and discover a single dead alien. Faraday deduces that the rest of the alien crew must have left in a rescue ship; an observation satellite will be needed to locate the rescue ship. Laura's fiancé Allan volunteers along with fellow astronaut Tony. They travel in the ship Meteor to Phobos, one of Mars' moons, where they launch the observation satellite. Tony sees another craft from the window of the Meteor. He and Allan enter it and find a living female alien. Allan and Tony take the alien back to the rescue ship. As the ship only holds two people, one of them must stay behind. They toss a coin and Tony decides to stay.
Allan and the alien arrive on the Oceano, joining Laura, Paul and Anders. The alien regains consciousness and smiles at the three men, but not Laura. She refuses to eat all food offered and will not let Anders take a blood sample. That night, as Paul is guarding the alien, she attacks and kills him, draining his blood after hypnotizing him. The surviving astronauts decide to keep the alien alive by feeding her blood from the ship's supply of plasma. This eventually runs out and the alien kills Anders, leaving Laura and Allan as the only humans on board the ship.
The alien then attacks Allan, but Laura interrupts the queen before she can kill him. Laura scratches the alien, who screams in terror and quickly bleeds to death. Laura and Allen then find alien eggs hidden in the ship. Allan hypothesizes that the alien was royalty (hence her hemophilia) sent to Earth to breed. The ship lands safely, but Earth authorities decide to study the eggs rather than destroy them outright as Allan urges.
- John Saxon as Allan Brenner
- Basil Rathbone as Dr. Farraday
- Judi Meredith as Laura James
- Dennis Hopper as Paul Grant
- Florence Marly as Alien Queen
- Robert Boon as Anders Brockman
- Don Eitner as Tony Barrata
- Forrest J Ackerman as Farraday's aide
Harrington had made his name with the feature Night Tide which impressed Roger Corman enough to offer him Queen of Blood. "Of course I would like to do a more individual film than Queen of Blood", said Harrington at the time, "but I can't get the financing. However the film is entertaining and I feel I was able to say something within the context of the genre." The film was made using special effects from the Soviet film A Dream Come True but director Harrington estimated 90% of the film was his.
Czech actor Florence Marly was a personal friend of Curtis Harrington. The director later said he had to fight to let Roger Corman use her " because she was an older woman. I'm sure he had some bimbo in mind, you know? So I fought for Marley because I felt she had the required exotic quality that would work in the role." Harrington said Dennis Hopper "was like a part of my little team by then" so he agreed to also appear.
John Saxon later claimed that Gene Corman had more to do with making the film than Roger. He estimated that his scenes were shot in seven to eight days and that Dennis Hopper "was trying very hard to keep a straight face throughout" making the film.
Basil Rathbone was paid $1,500 to act for a day and a half on this film, and $1,500 for half a day on Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), which was another film based on Russian footage. Rathbone ended up working overtime and missed a meal. The Screen Actors Guild demanded overtime pay plus a fine for the meal violation but producer George Edwards produced footage showing that the delay was because Rathbone did not know his lines and insisted on skipping lunch.
The budget to this and Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet came to $33,052
The film was released in the United States on March 1966. Even before it was released the quality of the film was sufficient for Universal to hire Harrington and producer George Edwards to make Games.
Director Curtis Harrington felt Ridley Scott's original Alien (1979) must have got some inspiration from Queen of Blood, saying "Ridley's film is like a greatly enhanced, expensive and elaborate version of Queen of Blood.
- Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p240–241
- Diamond in Rough of Film Life Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 31 Jan 1966: c15.
- Curtis Harrington: Living in Dangerous Houses By Harvey F. Chartrand, DVD Drive In accessed 3 September 2013
- "Retrospective in Terror: An Interview with Curtis Harrington - April 2005". The Terror Trap.
- Louis Paul, Tales from the Cult Film Trenches: Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema McFarland, 6 Sep 2007 accessed 1 July 2014
- Fred Olen Ray, The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors, McFarland, 1991, p 54
- Games' Men Hold Good Hand Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Nov 1966: 22.
- Adler, Renata (February 27, 1969). "Queen of Blood (1966)". The New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
- Queen of Blood at MGM Home Entertainment
- Queen of Blood at the Internet Movie Database
- Queen of Blood at TCMDB
- Queen of Blood at AllMovie