Friday, May 18, 2018

Blood (Andy Milligan, 1973)

Dr. Lawrence Orlofski (Allan Berendt) and his wife Regina (Hope Stansbury), fresh from Budapest, move into a house in 19th century America along with their servants - legless Orlando (Prizzi's Honor's Michael Fischetti), addled Carlotta (Pichulina Hempi), and Carrie (Patti Gaul), who is beginning to experience leg problems similar to those that afflicted Orlando before he lost his own. Regina needs blood to survive, so Lawrence and the servants give her injections of extract from blood-drinking plants they grow. Regina believes her husband and Carrie are having an affair, though Carrie is actually in love with Orlando. Meanwhile, Lawrence discovers his late father's lawyer Carl Root (John Wallowitch) is swindling him out of his inheritance, and tries to get what's rightfully his with the help of Root's pretty secretary Prudence Towers (Pamela Adams), with whom he forms a strong attraction. As it turns out, Lawrence and Regina both have dark secrets, and infamous fathers...

Blood is the fourth Andy Milligan film I've watched, and the second I've reviewed here, and in many ways it's typical Milligan, which is all for the better as far as I'm concerned. Andy's penchant for melodrama is on full display here, with many of the actors chewing the scenery and reading truly overwrought lines. When Lawrence and Regina are in bed, Regina goes from telling her husband she loves him to saying just the opposite when he refuses to make love to her. When she tells him to go to Hell, he replies, "We're already there!" The blood-eating plants are an odd touch, and it's never explained exactly why just injecting the blood itself into Regina's veins wouldn't do the job as well. Carlotta's brother Johnny (David Bevans, whose character is miscredited as "Jimmy") has a very anachronistic haircut. Milligan's house on northern Staten Island, used as the Orlofski house, is too nice to be truly eerie. Eve Crosby turns in a memorable performance as Petra, a strange-looking, thick-accented gypsy woman with a connection to Lawrence's father. John Wallowitch sports bluish hair, probably as the result of a bad dye job. Milligan's affinity for classic literature and film is shown by the revelations about the identities of the Orlofskis' respective fathers, although considering Lawrence's father originally appeared in a film made in 1941 and set in the present day, one has to wonder how he can be dead a few years after 1875. Even so, this is Milligan at his finest, and well worth your time.

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