Back in the dark ages of the 1970’s when my young mind was aching to be filled my love for the fantastical was born. Helping to fuel this love was the wondrous thing that was Chiller Theater! Broadcast from WPIX in New York Chiller Theater played an awesome selection of mostly terrible movies that I grew to love and cherish. Most of these movies I will readily admit are bad but I still enjoy the hell out of them.
Here’s the intro to Chiller Theater:
Pure awesomness isn’t it! I know, I know.
My favorite of the movies featured on Chiller Theater is undoubtedly the 1966 ultra cheapo American International epic Queen of Blood. Starring B movie legend John Saxon and Basil Rathbone (who really must have needed the money). Queen of Blood takes place in the futuristic year of 1990 and tells the story of how Earth is about to receive a visit from extraterrestrial space travelers for the first time. After the alien ship crashes on Mars while en route a crew of astronauts from The Space Institute answer the distress call from space and find death and terror are awaiting them. Doesn’t sound a bit like Alien does it? Nope not at all.
Like I said this is a very cheaply made movie. The special effects and the scenes taking place in the alien spacecraft and on the planet are actually taken from two movies made in the Soviet Union and integrated into an all new story.
This is from one of the Soviet movies:
This is footage filmed for Queen of Blood. Yes that is Dennis Hopper.
More Soviet footage:
Queen of Blood footage:
The footage filmed for Queen of Blood and cut to match the Soviet footage pretty much consists of someone standing in front of a blank wall or painted backdrop and looking at something. If the scene has any large sets or looks somewhat ambitious it was not filmed for Queen of Blood!
Despite the lack of funds the makers of Queen of Blood made good use of the Soviet footage. There is a bit of a style difference between the Soviet footage and the new footage but it still works for the most part.
The opening credits feature some really cool and bizarre paintings by John Cline.
The recycled special effects footage is not bad for the era. Very atmospheric.
The not so good:
Well even though it’s a Guilty Pleasure it’s pretty cheap. It’s fun though.
Random thoughts and observations:
For more info on the Chiller Theater lineup check this out: Chiller Theater Link