First, Queen of Blood is a silly film, but it still contains a fondness, with many sci-fi and some of the horror fans, a movie headed by an experimental film director, Curtis Harrington, for an extremely low budget production, backed by producers Roger Corman and Samuel Z. Arkoff and in lies the rub of this weird gem. One must understand two things about the background of the film, Arkoff’s produced over 140 b-films most notable The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) and of course Roger Corman, who launched numerous careers and owner of over 400 hundred credits, hence they knew how to squeeze every dime out of any production, reaping a higher return. The second aspect, involves the usage of special effects, benefitting from Mechte navstrechu (1963) and The Sky Calls (1959), two large budgeted Soviet productions, with Corman’s name appearing on the re-edited American version of the second named movie released in 1962. The absurdity of the film brings a unique level of charm, especially since sets itself in the future of 1990, and while originally distributed by American International Pictures, audience can still enjoy this film with a Blu-ray release from Kino Lorber in 2015.
This was not the first movie, which dealt with the topic of space vampires, but does find itself listed under the vampires genre, a grouping that contains two well-known cult films Planet of the Vampires (1965) from director Mario Bava and 20-years later Tobe Hooper gave audiences Lifeforce (1985). Although many fondly recall the episode Space Vampire on the first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century television series, from 1980s. However, most interesting, Roger Corman directed a film on this topic called Not of This Earth (1957), which started a trend that carried on for three years of vampires in outer space.
Let’s begin to piece this movie together; all the major powers on Earth collectively funded International Institute of Space Technology, which made with peaceful alien race making their way to Earth. On their way, they crash on Mars, suddenly their signals stop Dr. Farraday portrayed by acting legend Basil Rathbone, well-known character role of Sherlock Holmes from the 1930s and 1940s, informs everyone of the intention of a rescue mission. Hence, the launching of a rocket ship (something out of the Bugs Bunny cartoons) called Oceano investigate on ship Commander Anders Brockman (Robert Boon) but tragically strikes again, a sun burst leaves them damage and making repairs on Mars. Meanwhile, Allan (John Saxon) Tony (Don Eitner) plans a rescue mission to lend assistance mainly for the reason his girlfriend, Laura (Judi Meredith) went on the first mission, on the way they land at moon Phobos (meaning panic/fear). They discover the foreign convoy, headed by an Alien Queen (Florence Marly), due strange reasons Allan heads over Oceano with her. Soon they discover she savor blood, and begin a whole mess of new problems, although the best part is watching Dennis Hooper (as Paul Grant) and Saxon try not to laugh through their scenes, quite amusing.
When one sees John Saxon an incredible actor who’s starred in every genre possible, a true testament of a career, on film and television, even one time as a director, however most recognized for his work in Nightmare on Elm Street and From Dusk to Dawn. The recalling the work of Hopper, who went on to star in True Romance (1993), Land of the Dead (2005) and of course, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), has passed on in 2010.
The film presents good set design for the era of the classic mid-60s, but still a bit cheesy with flashing lights, and just the dialogue in general in conjunction with the usage of other films special effects and stock music. Luckily, a runtime of 80-minutes, as the film bogs down at moments a tad dullness, does set in, but the cliché moment can’t be missed, as the scientists state “Don’t worry we know what we are doing” regarding the handling of the alien species.
Queen of Blood, is without a doubt an extremely low budget sci-fi film, with vampire qualities making it fit into the horror genre, just barely, yet still somewhat interesting to watch just once, recalling the oddness of the 1960s.