A Taste of Blood: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

John Stone (Bill Rogers) was a normal, conservative businessman, until the mail delivered a most unusual package to his door. The package is an inheritance, which turns out to be two bottles of brandy and nothing else. The bottles seem to be normal and without trace of ill design, but they hold a secret that even John doesn’t know. He looks the bottles over and of course, is tempted to take a drink and see how the taste is, but his wife tries to talk him out of it. Despite his wife’s words of warning, John tosses back the liquid and soon discovers this is no simple, normal brandy. As it turns out, the brandy contained the blood of his ancestor Count Dracula and soon he begins to transform. As the blood from the brandy pulses through his veins, he slowly turns into a vampire himself and as if that isn’t enough, he’s pissed off in a major way. As he seeks out fresh blood, he also hunts down the ancestors of those who killed his fanged relative. But when he kills a bouncy stripper, he attracts the attention of Dr. Howard Helsing, and he (Helsing) is bound and determined to bring this vampire down.

When it comes to low budget horror and exploitation flicks, Herschell Gordon Lewis is one of the power players. His resume is loaded with classics of the genres and must haves for fans of blood and breasts. As influential and fun as his movies are, fans have had to settle for below average home video versions, if they could find them at all. But now, thanks to Something Weird Video and Image Entertainment, fans can view these classics in full splendor, as well as enjoy some terrific bonus features. This film, A Taste Of Blood is not as blood laced or flesh filled as some other Lewis films, but it still packs a punch and warrants attention from genre fans. There is still some blood of course, though the focus here seems to be on the story and main actor, Bill Rogers. Rogers chews up scenery like there’s no tomorrow and really brings home this character well. This film featured Lewis’ longest shooting schedule (a full 3 weeks!) and seems to have better production values on the whole. This film has all the typical fingerprints you’d expect from a Lewis film and I highly recommend this title, as either a rental or purchase.

This film was directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, who is a legend and pioneer in the field of gore and exploitation movies. If you’re a fan of blood and breasts then you already know his work, but even casual fans have likely seen a picture or two of his. This film doesn’t rely as much on blood and breasts, but it still has the signature Lewis style in almost every sequence. While Lewis never abandons the storyline in his films, but this one develops the plot and character more than most of his other works. There is still some blood littered in the final half of the film, but it is never forced or used for no reason. I am all in favor of senseless violence and gore, but this one doesn’t use those elements unless the story calls for it. If you want to see more of Lewis’ films I recommend She-Devils On Wheels, The Gore-Gore Girls, Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, and Color Me Blood Red. This film sports a decent cast on the whole, but Bill Rogers own this film as the lead actor. Rogers (The Girl, The Body, And The Pill) is on the mark in every scene and makes his character seem real, which is no easy task in a film of this nature. The rest of the cast includes Elizabeth Wilkinson (Suburban Roulette), William Kerwin (Living Venus), Otto Schlessinger (The Girl, The Body, And The Pill), Dolores Carlos (Diary Of A Nudist, Pagan Island), and Gail Janis.

Video: How does it look?

A Taste Of Blood is presented in a full frame transfer, which retains the original aspect ratio of the film. When the package says this film features “shocking color,” that’s the truth as these colors almost flow right off the screen at times. The colors are so bright and vivid, it’s almost scary to be honest. Despite the vibrant hues, I never saw any smears or bleeds and flesh tones appear warm and natural. The contrast seems sharp also, no detail is lost and shadows seem well defined also. This transfer is also free from all but minor compression hiccups, and I think fans will be very pleased with the visual presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

This release uses the original mono track and while this isn’t a room shaking mix, it handles the film’s audio needs very well. This type of material doesn’t call for much in terms of dynamic sound, so the mono format is more than adequate in all respects. The dialogue is crisp, with no harshness or separation issues in the least. The sound effects have no problems either, as they come across in distinct and clear fashion. I found very little distortion present and the usual mono hiss is thankfully absent.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc comes as a special edition and contains some very cool bonus materials. An interesting bonus short film has been included, titled Nightmare At Elm Manor and filled with blatant nude peeks. You can never go wrong with bonus nudity on a release like this one, and I am pleased it has been jammed onto the disc. You’ll also find the film’s theatrical trailer and a selection of artwork from various other exploitation flicks. The final supplement is the best one, a commentary track with director Herschell Gordon Lewis and a moderator from Something Weird Video, which offers a lot of insight into the film. Lewis is a terrific filmmaker and he reveals some of his methods, as well as the background on how this film came into existence. This resembles a relaxed conversation and this allows Lewis to discuss this film in detail. If you like the movie, do not miss this informative audio commentary.

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