After seeing Not Quite Hollywood(review here) a couple months back, I decided it would be in my best interest to watch as many "ozploitation" films as I could get my grubby little hands on. So far, the quest has been pretty successful. I could probably do better if I weren't A)so lazy, and B)put my other cinematic interests aside for a long while. Since I don't see myself going through a severe personality change anytime soon, it's just going to have to remain this way. So my Path to Oz is also going to end up being the Path of Least Effort, because that's how we do...Man!
Like many attached men in the world, I occasionally like to share my movie watching experiences with the one I love. Since Mary doesn't share the same love for action/adventure that I do, I wanted to pick a film she would like. Fact: Chicks like vampires. There is just something about pale skin and eternal suffering on earth that really pulls at the female heartstrings. My girlfriend is no exception. This is a girl who secretly watched the first two Twilight movies in secret and refused to tell me for fear of ridicule. So getting her to watch a vampire movie takes no twisting of the arm. So this made Thirst(1979) pretty easy choice for us. Not only do I get to fill my ozploitation quota, but I get to enjoy it with my favorite person.
Kate is the last living blood relative of the infamous Lady Bathory. Being a modern women, this means very little to her, if anything at all. Why would it? Kate isn't exactly the type of women that screams blood-hungry mass murderer. Looking at her, you're more prone to think "holidays in Paris" rather than "bathing in the blood of virgins". Unfortunately, not everybody thinks that. As it turns out, there are people in the world that care about Kate's lineage more than she wants to know, and this is why Kate gets kidnapped. It turns out that Lady Bathory was responsible for the founding of a cult of blood suckers, who like to think of themselves as a "brotherhood". This "Brotherhood" has been pulling strings behind the scenes for centuries, as you would expect any secret society to do, and as vampires have moved beyond attacking villagers in the dead of night. The 70's vampire has ditched the hunter/gatherer lifestyle and followed in humanities path with a more agrarian/industrial lifestyle. Not only are humans, known affectionately as "blood cows" farmed for there life-sustaining fluids on premise, but the Brotherhood has also perfected the art of mass production for market gain. There is even a filtering process not unlike pasteurization.
It doesn't take Kate long to figure out what's going on, and she's not having it. I mean, really, what kind of person would want to be given eternal life and treated like a god? After an escape attempt or two, Kate is put through a rigorous "conditioning" to help her see the brighter side of her captor's lifestyle. Will she finally succumb and take her place amongst the blood-sucking elite?
If you read the IMDB reviews of Thirst, you'll see a good amount of "not your typical vampire movie" type of commentary. My question to them is, what is typical? If a person's idea of typical is Bram Stoker's Dracula, then I would have to agree. This is not your typical vampire flick, but how many of the memorable vampire films are? Lost Boys, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Hunger..to me these are the most memorable vampire films, and they have nothing to do with the regurgitated-many-times-over story of the Count. Unless a person has watched nothing but Universal Horror knock-offs their entire life, I have a hard time following the idea of a "typical vampire flick"
Thirst was memorable and different, but I'm not going to hold it to the highest regards like I do the three films previously mentioned. Yes, it's a different take on the vampire mythology, but is the concept of farming humans for sustenance really that original? Maybe if you've never seen a sci-fi or dystopian movie in your life, but for those of us that have, the concept is nothing new. Thirst was also quite the slow burn, or as some reviewers like to say, moody and atmospheric. If you just pulled a 10 hour work day, this is probably not the movie to sit down and relax with, unless you plan on falling asleep to it. It doesn't take long to figure out what's going on, but it feels like forever before you feel like something is actually happening. When shit does go down, pay attention. Especially when it concerns Henry Silva and a helicopter.
I would recommend Thirst to those fans of horror who have more of an affinity of The Shining than those who have seen all the Saw films. Thirst is the kind of movie you sit down with a loved one over a bottle of wine to watch, maybe two couples. For those of you party screeners, Thirst is going to be a bad choice unless you want to clear out a room oir arranging a slumber party. It's just not that type of movie.