Bloodlust Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Mondo Macabro
Directed by Marijan Vajda
Written by Mario d'Alcala
1977, 92 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on October 9th, 2018
Werner Pochath as The Man
Ellen Umlauf as The Mother
Birgit Zamuko as Young Girl
My man is a deaf mute accountant, unpopular both at work and with the ladies – he is so loathsome that the character doesn’t even receive a name. He commits a series of crimes and signs them “Mosquito”, so that is what I will call him. He visits hookers and likes to watch but is unable to perform. He has feelings for the college-age neighbor girl who only wants to wear pretty dresses and dance. Mosquito is shy and plays with dolls but has a fascination with blood. At first he experiments with spilling ketchup and red ink but soon is ravishing corpses for the real thing. He drinks blood from a sharp glass straw and his lust continues to grow until he is actively seeking fresh victims.
Bloodlust (aka Mosquito) is a 1970s Swiss horror film that is a character study in strange behavior. The picture begins with a text crawl that poses the notion that all adult deviant behavior is in direct response to what happens in childhood. Mosquito flashes back to his youth when he was repeatedly beaten by his alcoholic father. He also remembers his father sexually assaulting his baby sister, but we never hear from her again. This is the most shocking scene in the movie and I was caught a little off guard by its directness. Mosquito lives in a small apartment with walls painted black, collecting death notices and porcelain dolls. His neighbors don’t trust him, nor do they care for the way he looks at their daughter. His co-workers openly mock him and hookers have little patience with him. Mosquito lives in a world of his own, one full of fantasy and desire.
Inspired by the true crimes of German laborer Kuno Hoffmann in 1971-1972, Bloodlust is an atmospheric tale of debauchery. Directed by documentary filmmaker Marijan Vajda, the picture was written by Mario d'Alcala and stars Werner Pochath (Cat o’ Nine Tails) as Mosquito. Pochath is really good in the role and even earns a bit of sympathy despite his ghoulish behavior. As stated above, his character is a deaf mute, so his performance is defined by mannerisms. Mosquito is not a soulless monster, as it appears his feelings for the dancing girl are genuine, if unrequited. His penchant for defiling corpses at the local mortuary is one that grows as he gets braver. Tiny incisions into corpses build to greater mutilation until he is actively pulling bodies from the grave. Once he begins stalking living targets, things take a more urgent tone as the risk factor elevates. The film ends abruptly and is a bit anticlimactic although it is a logical conclusion.
I first saw this movie as Mosquito (as the print appears here) and all I remembered about it was that the guy was drinking blood through a glass straw. These scenes are still powerful, but the effects are lacking. This is a deliberately-paced example of Euro-sleaze cinema that has garnered a bit of a reputation over the past forty years. This is one of director Marijan Vajda’s few exercises in narrative filmmaking and he presents a morbidly dark slice-of-life tale that doesn’t flinch at its more nefarious aspects. Some will find the picture too slow to scare, but others will appreciate the growing sense of dread that permeates the story. I fall somewhere in the middle, as the title has memorable moments but suffers from poor pacing. The movie makes a strong debut on Blu-ray, but you may want to consider a rental before purchasing.
Video and Audio:
Bloodlust has been given a 2K restoration of the original film elements and looks rather nice. Presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the picture features strong colors and deep black levels.
A pair of DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio tracks, one in English and the other in German, is included, though both choices are dubbed due to the international cast. Dialogue is easily understood and is free from distortion but occasionally sounds tinny.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
A 2009 interview with Marijan David Vajda (11 minutes), who is the director’s son and also served as the film’s assistant director, allows him to reflect on this picture and his father’s career. This was an early film in his own career and he was attracted by the true-crime aspect of the material. He has fond memories of the production and has gone on to a successful directing career of his own.
In Love, Death and Bloodlust (20 minutes), actress Brigit Zamulo reflects on her work in the movie and had a great experience shooting it but admits this is not a very good movie. She has nothing but nice things to say about her cast mates but is a bit less forgiving when it comes to the director and stunt coordinator. Apparently the scene of her dancing on the wet rooftop was pretty dangerous stuff. This is a German language interview with English subtitles.
The original trailer is included.
A promo reel (13 minutes) offers a look at other titles available from the company.
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