I enjoy this more each time I see it. Originally sought out after seeing a spooky photo of a man fighting something moulderingly undead in Denis Gifford's Movie Monsters. Seeing it, at first on late-night TV, the story was disappointing in that the punchline doesn't appear sooner. But a recent less-cut version on TV added just enough to make this a low-budget b-movie nasty, with the spectacular Hazel Court sealing the deal for fans of sixties Brit horror.
A string of disappearances from a small village in Cornwall. The local police are stumped but we can easily guess what's going on, even though the assailant attacks from the shadows, the bloody title completely gives it away. Doctor Blood is up to no good.
Before even the opening titles, only thirty seconds pass before Kieron starts shouting. This isn't to say I don't find him watchable, this lack of charisma in a leading man is as unintentionally entertaining as it is a mystery. Here he's a serial murderer who radically experiments on his subjects while they're not only alive, but still awake! The clumsy storyline reveals his morally-bankrupt identity before he starts wooing the heroine. How are we supposed enjoy their romantic day out? It's not played as suspense, like Hitchcock would have done, but as a budding new relationship.
The bad doctor is so focused on his 'work' that he doesn't even widen his hunting ground, leaving the police in a spin as to which kidnap victim they're supposed to be looking for. Also, anyone who gets in his way quickly winds up in Dr Blood's coffin. He never thinks through the details, like alibis. His trail of clues is clumsy and inefficient, much like his wooing.
Update November 2011: MGM made-on-demand service have released it on DVD-R. Full review shortly! I'm certainly not recommending the Alpha Video release in the US. It has also recently aired on TCM and Netflix in the US.
This fantastic French poster is from sci-fi/horror poster site Wrong Side Of The Art.
An original movie trailer on YouTube...