Fans of the General Hospital might find this review of interest, given that one of the key characters of that soap, David, is played by none other than Anthony Geary, better known as Luke Spencer. Originally screened in 1972, Blood Sabbath is one of many weird, psychedelic flicks made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before the age of the eternal killer and slasher flicks would come along. Although tame by today’s standards, this movie will still widen the eyes of young teenagers.
Written by William A. Bairn (who in 1972 also wrote Baron Blood) and directed by Brianne Murphy, Blood Sabbath starts with David (Anthony Geary) wandering across the southwestern landscape, guitar and sleeping bag in two. It turns out David served as a soldier in Vietnam and is now trying to find himself. Fed up with reality, David longs for a different life, but reality is harsh. When he encounters a group of hippies in a Volkswagen van, he approaches them. Their response is to spray him with beer and chase after him with the van. Things get worse later that night, when several naked ladies try to seduce him. David runs off, subsequently falling and hitting his head on a rock.
David wakes up near a river, where he encounters a water nymph by the name of Yyalah (Susan Damante). David is immediately smitten, but Yyalah is aloof, warning him to stay away from her. Obsessed, David eventually makes his way to the dilapidated cabin of an older man by the name of Lonzo (Sam Gilman), who tells David that he can never be with the nymph. David does not heed the advice, returning to the river, where Yyalah tells him that the only way they can be together is if he gives up his soul.
The couple is being watched by another woman, Alotta, Queen of Witches (Dyanne Thorne), who also desires David. When Lonzo and David go into a small village to celebrate the year’s harvest among the farmers, David learns that Alotta and her fellow witches are the ones responsible for the successful harvest. Working alongside with the witches is a priest (Steve Gravers), who in exchange for letting the villagers practice their faith he lets the witches exist. He also gets a fringe benefit: sex with the witches.
It turns out the Lonzo carries a horrible burden. Every year, he calls upon one of the village’s couples to sacrifice a female child. Lonzo escorts said child to the witches, where she becomes one of the coven. When David learns of this, he is horrified and makes it his mission to stop the witches. His plan is to give up his soul—thus saving the year’s sacrifice—and find a way so that he can be with Yyalah. But Alotta is treacherous, and after cutting off the priest’s head, begins to seduce David so that he winds up with her.
Although a B flick where very little actually takes place, Blood Sabbath is a genre vet’s wet dream. First off, the amount of female full frontal nudity in this movie cannot be believed, and this was a time when all women had no plastic and exuded natural beauty. The luscious Dyanne Thorne also strips down, showing off her supreme curves. Genre vets know Ms. Thorne for her work on Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS and its sequel, Ilsa, the Wicked Warden. There’s plenty of dancing, gyrating, and close-ups to give the raincoat crowd plenty to feast upon. Being a horror flick, there’s also some blood rituals (not like the one shown on the DVD—this movie does not involve Satanism), a little bit of voodoo (a doll with needles), a decapitation, and the drinking of blood.
Sporting a funky, psychedelic soundtrack, Blood Sabbath also includes dreamy and bizarre settings, a scene with some good Mexican mariachi tunes, and plenty of philosophical and hilarious dialogue. Just when things bog down, however, some of the witches show up and start their stripper act, so it’s all good. Girls will dig it because the underlying story is one of love, including a happy ending.
Hardcore horror fans will also note the link between this film and that of Jacob’s Ladder, as both explore similar themes. Although the latter is much more sophisticated, it is interesting that Blood Sabbath achieves something that few may have noticed. Strewn throughout the movie, there are flashes of David’s experiences in Vietnam. These flashes imply that David never returned home. The witches are really artillery fire—friendly fire that kills David and his fellow soldiers. The whole movie is basically David’s brain avoiding reality and instead embracing a world of fantasy, where in the end he can live with his true love once he has died. The idea of abandoning his soul—reality—for a fantasy world is also an interesting idea.
Those who dig weird B flicks must see Blood Sabbath once in their lives.