In the seafaring guide, Survival on the High Seas: The Caucasoid Male and Unnecessary Peril, page fifty-six clearly states: "Inane curiosity and nautical ennui are the principal causes of most island-based calamities inflicted on white people in casual slacks." Truer words could not have been written, as that is exactly what happens to the youthful characters that populate Bloodlust!, a straightforward tale about people hunting people in a tropical island setting. One minute you're scouring the jungle for banana leaves (you can't have a clambake without them), the next you're being hunted by a suave, crossbow-wielding madman with a trophy fetish. The decisions that lead Johnny Randall (Robert Reed) and his fellow adventure seekers willy-nilly into this prickly predicament were no doubt rife with foolishness (leaving your rifle on the boat, being best friends with the world's biggest dork, his clam obsession, etc). However, his exploratory spirit, calmness under pressure, and the fact his lady friend just happens to be a judo expert should be commended. You see, the inability to identify a consumer of human flesh when he is standing right in front of you (a.k.a. cannibal-spotting myopia) and good old fashion idiocy may have gotten Johnny and his friends in this smelly pickle of a mess. But rest assured, he is fully equipped to take on any kind of hardship that is thrown his way. (I knew, by the way, that they were man and lady friend because of the way their clothed genitalia pressed up against one another during a particularly tender maritime hug.)
I guess, technically, Bloodlust! is supposed to be a bad movie (as signified by its extremely low rating on IMDb and MST3K treatment). I, on the other hand, just don't see what's so bad about it. I mean, aside from a chintzy looking set and a couple of brainless moments here and there, I thought the film was a pretty adept adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game. In that, it's about four dopes who unwittingly find themselves being stalked by a deranged ex-army sniper on an island rich with monosyllabic crazies, tattered freaks and grizzled weirdos. Speaking of which, Bill Coontz is terrific as "insane man in woods."
The future head of the Brady household is surprisingly chiseled as the take charge Johnny. I loved the way stuck to his guns, despite the incessant whining of Pete (Eugene Persson), his nebbish pal. A sinister Wilton Graf is mildly entertaining, in a Vincent Price would have better sort of way, as the Dr. Albert Balleau. The luminescent Joan Lora looked gorgeous while watching Jondor (Bobby Hall) organize his collection of body parts and showed that her bum does indeed look mouth-watering while existing a window in clam diggers.* Her beauty notwithstanding, Miss Lora's Jeanne Perry is scared of everything and overdid it at times in the damsel in distress department. Luckily, the more headstrong Betty (June Kenney) is on the island to bring some girly toughness to the proceedings.
Seriously, I don't see what all the negative fuss is about. I guess the perceived notion of its badness has clouded some people's ability to look at the film in an unbiased manner. People get shot with crossbows, they scream loudly; it's pretty sweet.
* If this film had been made today, the shape of Miss Lora's bum in clam diggers would have been front page news on the cover of a every newspaper in, oh, let's say, Italy and Flin Flon.