I fearlessly watched every Creature Feature run on Detroit’s WKBD Channel 50 from the late sixties through the seventies, but one managed to sear its way directly onto my retinas. The 1966 ROGER CORMAN/SAMUEL Z. ARKOFF film QUEEN OF BLOOD was patched together from a bunch of eerie footage from a 1960 Russian sci-fi film called NEBO ZOVYOT. In QUEEN OF BLOOD an American spaceship crew (which includes JOHN SAXON and a young DENNIS HOPPER) intercepts a space capsule containing an inhabitant of Mars–a green-skinned, green-haired and incredibly creepy mute alien female. She turns out to be a blood-sucking space vampire who starts knocking off the crew one by one. Given that she’s just an over-the-hill glamour model in green makeup and a beehive wig that might not have been so scary except for the way she does it–by hypnotizing her victims with her TERRIFYING GLOWING EYES.
The sequence that drove me over the edge was when a sleepy crewman observes her walking from the lava-lamp-equipped engine room on the other side of the ship and slowly stalking toward her victim (me in this case), then unveiling her blazing eyes (accompanied by a maddening buzzing sound) in child-scarring close-up. Later she takes out DENNIS HOPPER in the engine room in a scene that anticipates HARRY DEAN STANTON‘s death scene in ALIEN. We later see her licking blood off one of the crewman’s wrists but in a wicked death by irony she turns out to be a hemophiliac who bleeds to death when she’s scratched by the spaceship’s lone female crew member.
I went to bed that night with the image of that creepy face and those electrifying glowing eyes (director CURTIS HARRINGTON achieved the effect by beaming pencil-thin points of light directly onto her eyeballs) jolting me awake every time I tried to drift off to sleep. The movie showed up on T.V. on MGM Hi-Def so I can now preserve it forever–it’s ridiculously cheap and cheesy, yet when I showed my wife the corridor-stalking scene even she admitted it was creepy as hell.
UNK LANCIFER SEZ: Thanks Jeffrey for the great traumafession and thanks for turning me on to QUEEN OF BLOOD. I had no idea it was such an extraordinary looking film. (Those who’d like to get a peek of QUEEN OF BLOOD‘s exceptional visuals can get a gander HERE and HERE. ) While we’re at it, I should also thank you for naming a magazine after folks like me and Aunt John; here’s to GEEK MONTHLY inheriting the earth!