Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Donkey ride to Hell



Robert Hartford-Davis.

Three little words that guarantee a cinematic fairground ride of swinging sleaze, exploitation and Madeline Hinde.

We’ve been here before (see tags for full horror) but now I think it’s time to backtrack to the starting point of my personal odyssey, the first time I ever saw his name on the credits and thought ‘beware of this man’, Mediterranean vampire travelogue ‘Incense For The Damned’.

This is a film of contrasts: it’s annoying and boring. As a yardstick of just how badly it all turned out, Hartford-Davis (the director of ‘Gonks Go Beat’, remember) actually tried to have his name removed from it. In the end, it was delayed for a couple of years, re-edited (seemingly with a bread knife in the dark) by the studio and stuck out for a couple of weeks in 1970 as a supporting feature before disappearing, only re-emerging in the 1990’s as a BBC1 Friday night film favourite (I have a theory that the regular showing of this film is a Corporation in-joke).

Based on the book ‘Doctors Wear Scarlet’ by bestselling pulp author Simon Raven, ‘Incense…(also known as ‘Bloodsuckers’) tells the story of a promising Oxford Classics student (Patrick Mower, the walking nostril) who has an illustrious academic career and a good marriage all mapped out for him by his mentor (Peter Cushing, wasted) until he embarks on a field trip to Crete where he becomes the mindless suck bag of a busty Mediterranean vampire, Chriesis (Imogen Hassal, slathered in so much fake tan that she looks like permanently dirty 'Playschool' doll Hamble).

Cushing sends two men to bring Mower home and, before you know it, there’s a whole lot of donkey riding, a papier mache rock slide and a near seven minute orgy scene with a freakbeat soundtrack that is probably the best part of the film but does not appear in all the versions. Ultimately, busty vampire dispatched, Mower is returned to Oxford, only to prove publicly and bloodily that vampirism is not cured by simply a good talking to and a change of scenery…

Not a good film by any standards, one can only hope that the cast and crew enjoyed their holiday.

So, here’s the aforementioned near seven minute orgy scene with a freakbeat soundtrack. I’ve never been able to find out the name of the group providing the music so, if you know, for Chriesis’ sake please contact me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If anyone possibly knows, it would be Gareth Goddard (aka Cherrystones aka Godsey).