Queen of Blood 1966
Director Curtis Harrington became known in later years for his excursion into psychological ‘horror of personality’ films depicting broken people who commit frightful acts of violence and murder. Before that, he made a really colorful & weird bordering-on psychedelic science fiction/horror movie Queen of Blood in 1966.
Queen of Blood features a bargain basement spaceship and laboratory – with sets by Leon Smith and in charge of the art department were John Cline and Carl Schnazer. The Queen’s sexy queasy was designed by makeup artist William Condo and hairstylist George Spier.
The movie blends elements of both science fiction and horror, offering a unique and atmospheric take on vampiric-extraterrestrial encounters. The film was produced by Roger Corman, Sam Arkoff, George Edwards, and Stephanie Rothman. Queen of Blood was photographed by Vilis Lapenieks who worked with Harrington on his extremely poetic Night Tide 1961 a meditation on the mermaid mythos, also starring Hopper.
The story is set in the near future when Earth receives a distress signal from an alien spacecraft that has crash-landed on Mars. A team of astronauts Dr. Farraday (Basil Rathbone) Allan Brenner (John Saxon), Paul Grant (Dennis Hopper), and Laura James (Judi Meredith) embark on a rescue mission to the red planet.
In 1990, as Earth readies itself to launch manned spacecraft toward Mars and Venus, our planet receives an extraordinary message from an alien civilization. They express a desire to send ambassadors of peace to meet us, generating immense enthusiasm within the International Space Agency. Driven by this unexpected development, astronauts Allen Brenner (played by horror/sci-fi pro -John Saxon), Paul Grant (portrayed by Dennis Hopper), and Laura James (acted by Judi Meredith) undergo rigorous training under the guidance of Dr. Farraday (portrayed by Basil Rathbone) to embark on a journey into the depths of space. Rathbone’s assistant is none other than the renowned curator of everything horror and fantastical Forest J. Ackerman.
Before they can reach Earth, they receive a distress call that the alien ship has crashed on Mars. In response, Paul, Laura, and a third astronaut, Anders Brockman (played by Paul Boon), are dispatched on a rescue mission. However, their rocket is damaged by a powerful ‘sunburst,’ leaving them stranded on the enigmatic red planet. Meanwhile, Allen and Tony (portrayed by Don Eitner) take off in an attempt to rescue their stranded comrades. As they journey to Mars, they land on Phobos, one of the moons of the red planet. To their astonishment, they encounter a mysterious green-skinned alien woman, while (as all the other aliens have unfortunately perished).
Upon reaching Mars, the astronauts discover that the alien ship has been severely damaged, and its crew is dead. However, to their shock, they also find one survivor—an enigmatic and alluring female alien (Florence Marly) with green skin, a white bee-hive hairdo, and ruby-red lips. The alien, initially unable to communicate verbally, appears to be in need of assistance. The astronauts decide to bring her back to Earth, unaware of the sinister secret she harbors. As the journey back to Earth her true nature and intentions become increasingly apparent. She is a Queen, a space vampire who requires plasma to survive, which she extracts from the blood of humans. The astronauts must confront the horrifying reality that they have brought a deadly and vampiric creature onboard their spacecraft.
Determined to bring her back to Earth along with Paul who is fascinated with the strange alien Anders, and Laura. But on their way home they are shocked to find out that the viridescent green beauty is actually a space vampire who kills Paul while the others are sleeping.
Paul “She’s a monster… We ought to destroy her right now.”
However, despite the danger she poses to the crew, mission control considers her to be an astonishing scientific find and insists the crew bring her back to earth. They are told to feed her the blood plasma she needs, but once the plasma runs out, they are at the mercy of this alien bloodsucker.
Following Harrington’s poetic debut Night Tide 1961, he wound up collaborating with Roger Corman who put together this film that used recycled footage from Russian science fiction films. The first one was Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet 1965 which is the Americanization of Pleneta Bur or Planet of Storms 1962. And then Queen of Blood 1966 which combines scenes from other Nebo Zovyot (The Sky Calls 1960 which he and Coppola trimmed down and dubbed it as Battle Beyond the Sun 1962 and Mechte Navstrechu) Encounter in Space 1963 with the newly shot scenes starring Saxon, Hopper, Rathbone, and Meredith.
The beautiful menacing ‘queen’ alien woos both Paul and Anders to their deaths with a seductive grimace and her flaming blue eyes. It is Florence Marly who actually makes the film work even considering she never utters a work, it is all conveyed with the sinister smile and her vampiric movement like a slow alluring visual communication.
Finally, it’s heroine Judi Meredith who vanquishes the Queen of Blood by scratching her with her fingernails and she bleeds to death – she is a hemophiliac. The twist ending shows that back on earth Alan and Laura discover that she has hidden hundreds of her eggs on board the ship, and while Alan warns they must destroy her brood before they hatch, Rathbone is the archetypical scientist who is excited to study them. Ackerman leads us out of the movie while smiling over the tray of blood-red alien eggs in aspic.
Q The Winged Serpent 1982
Q: The Winged Serpent is a 1982 American creature feature film written and directed by Larry Cohen, known for infusing dark humor and social commentary into his horror films and television scripts. The movie combines elements of horror, fantasy, as well as the crime genre and is considered his favorite of all his work.
The story is set in New York City, where a series of gruesome ritualistic murders have struck fear into the hearts of its residents. These murders appear to be connected to an ancient Aztec cult, and the police are baffled by the brutality of the crimes.
Simultaneously, an enormous, winged serpent-like creature, compared to the ancient god Quetzalcoatl, begins terrorizing the city. It nests atop the Chrysler Building, and its presence in the skies adds a layer of fear to the already panicked city.
Jimmy Quinn (Michael Moriarty), a small-time crook, stumbles upon the creature’s lair while attempting to evade the police. He realizes that the giant winged serpent may be the key to his escape and potentially a means of acquiring a substantial ransom.
As the city descends into chaos due to both the serial killings and the winged serpent’s reign of terror, a group of investigators, including Detective Shepard (David Carradine), desperately tries to solve the puzzle and stop the creature before it causes more death and destruction.
Q: The Winged Serpent is known for its blend of horror and dark humor, as well as its creative use of practical effects to bring Quetzalcoatl to life. The film pays homage to classic monster movies while also offering a gritty and urban take on the genre, set against the backdrop of New York City. The film also stars Candy Clark and Richard Roundtree.
Writer-director Larry Cohen according to interviews, once looked at the Chrysler Building and said: “That’d be the coolest place to have a nest.” This single thought was the idea which began the creation of this movie.The film poster’s glossy monster illustration was painted by science fiction/fantasy artist Boris Vallejo. (I love the guys work. Been a fan since the ’70s!)
They couldn’t fit the giant egg and nest into the Chrysler Building’s attic, so they shot these scenes in an old, abandoned police building. When they were finished shooting the crew removed everything except the nest. “Close to a year later there was an article on the front page of the New York Times,” Larry Cohen said detailing a flurry of activity from anthropologists flying into town to examine a mysterious nest found in the old, abandoned police building. “I wasn’t about to say anything about it, I didn’t know what the liability might be.”When they shot the scene with people firing machine guns at the beast from the top of the skyscraper the ejected shells fell eighty stories towards the streets below, but luckily they were caught by a canopy installed to prevent construction debris. Larry Cohen expected and hoped to get footage of real people reacting in shock to the gunfire, but the civilians barely gave the commotion a glance. That didn’t stop the New York Daily News from reporting a more colorful story about poor behavior by the production. It led to Cohen being told that he couldn’t fire any more guns in the movie.
The special effects for the flying serpent were done using stop-motion animation by Randall William Cook and David Allen.Writer/Director Larry Cohen and David Carradine were old friends since serving in the army together. They were part of the army transportation corp although they “never did any transportation work.” Instead the duo managed to get assigned to the chaplain’s office where Cohen wrote sermons and Carradine painted the walls. “He spent most of his time at the dentist’s office getting new teeth. Except for the time he was court martialed for shoplifting from the PX but acquitted, of course.
Michael Moriarty became the focus of LarryCohen’s praise several times and suggested viewers check out his single scene in The Last Detail. “If you’ve never seen anybody steal a scene from Jack Nicholson you will see it in The Last Detail.” Cohen worked with Moriarty five times, Q, The Stuff, A Return to Salem’s Lot, It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive and an episode of Masters of Horror, and he believes there’s no one better.
They had an early preview of the film prior to distribution, and a rumor started that it was a sneak preview of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Half the audience got up and left when they realized it was a Samuel Z. Arkoff production instead. “Nobody even gave the picture a chance. Actually except Carl Reiner and his wife. They stayed for the first scene.”Larry Cohen credits the original stage play of Wait Until Dark for “inventing” the cliche of the supposedly deceased bad guy jumping up again to scare the protagonist.
Originally announced with James Coburn and Yapphet Kotto starring.