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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Queen of Blood [Blu-ray]

 

(Curtis Harrington, 1966)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:18:26.743 

Disc Size: 23,010,946,434 bytes

Feature Size: 19,098,224,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 1st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1796 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1796 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Interview with Film Historian Robert Stotak (21:34)
Interview with Producer Roger Corman (6:27)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Cult icons John Saxon, Dennis Hopper and the legendary Basil Rathbone star in this sci-fi cult classic! In the distant future, scientists receive a distress call from an alien spaceship that has crash-landed on Mars. Dr. Farraday (Rathbone, Tales of Terror) decides to send a team of astronauts, including Allan Brenner (Saxon, Enter the Dragon) and Paul Grant (Hopper, Easy Rider), on a rescue mission. On the planet, they discover a sole survivor: a green-skinned female alien (Florence Marly, Dr. Death Seeker Of Souls). The seductive alien is brought aboard their ship, but soon the horror begins after one man is attacked and dies, drained of his blood. The Queen of Blood is thirsty for more human victims, and as the astronauts try to find their way back to Earth and safety, the Queen s bloodlust has just begun.

 

 

The Film:

Shot on a miniscule $50,000 budget, and including footage from a 1959 Russian film that was later purchased by Roger Corman, this science fiction feature finds a tiny planet slowly dying. With the inhabitants in danger of perishing, some kind-hearted astronauts bring a green-blooded female alien back to Earth. The extraterrestrial shows her gratitude by going wild for human blood in the fashion of a blood-sucking vampire. John Saxon, Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper are some of the actors sentenced by their vindictive agents to appear in this 1966 film.

Excerpt from MRQElocated HERE

 

"Queen of Blood," which also opened at the Lyric, has a much more lively plot. A sickly greenish Martian woman (Florence Marly), who is rescued from a space crash by earth astronauts (John Saxon, Judi Mederith, Dennis Hopper), turns out to thrive on blood, lay eggs in aspic and be a hemophiliac in chlorophyll.

"Perhaps she was a sort of royalty where she came from," one of the earthmen says pensively after the lady has just consumed her first member of the crew. "Besides, how can we expect her to conform to our standards of behavior?"

They feed her with the spaceship's supply of plasma through a straw, but she drains another victim and nearly finishes a third. "She got to me, didn't she?" he says groggily when they restrain her from further feedings at his wrist.

The eggs in aspic, larvae by this time, are ultimately conserved by the late Basil Rathbone, as an earth scientist, for study. "They're scientists, Allan. They know what they're doing," Miss Meredith says.

Excerpt from NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, I should state that I loved every minute of this (similarly as I felt about Curtis Harrington's Night Tide). The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Queen of Blood has a high bitrate and looks very authentic. The effect scenes are dark and blurry because that is how they were disguised by the meager budget.  There is some pleasing texture and consistent thickness to the visuals. Close-ups look quite tight and pastel colors have some richness. Vilis Lapenieks' cinematography shows some inventiveness. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable presentation in 1080P.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1796 kbps (24-bit) in the original English language. There are obviously plenty of sound effects in the film - launching and landing rockets etc. Although not mentioned on IMDb (at the writing of this review) the score is credited to Leonard Morand (aka Ronald Stein) an AIP regular who has done more than his share of exploitive 'B', Drive-In flics (She Creature, It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth, Dementai 13, Spider Baby etc.) and it added somewhat to the presentation and unusual space backgrounds - sounding decent via the uncompressed. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

I greatly appreciated the 22-minute interview with Film Historian Robert Stotak (also an Award wining Visual Effects Artist) and he showed some admiration for Harrington's abilities working on such a small budget and his genuine feeling that a lot of detail was put into the production despite being a 'cheapy'. There is also a shorter interview with producer Roger Corman who describes how he recalls the idea of the female being vampire-like (sucking blood) among other details of the production. There is also an original theatrical trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm pretty sure the Russian film discussed in the extras is Planeta Bur. Regardless, I loved the manner in which the film was paced and formulated by Harrington. I think he was quite a talented director. My only complaint about Queen of  Blood was that I wished it was longer - I think a commentary, too, would have been cool. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray
(starting with a Scorpion Releasing logo) really suited me - I was right into enjoying this low-budget but carefully realized science-fiction flic. You may recognize Florence Marly (the green alien honey) from many TV shows of the 50's and 60's as well as Tokyo Joe (Bogie) and Rene Clement's The Damned. As for this Blu-ray - we give it a strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

November 24th, 2015

 




 

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