Planet of Blood / Queen of Blood (1966)

Planet of Blood / Queen of Blood (1966)

“She seems so human, yet obviously not human at all!”

Synopsis:
Shortly after his girlfriend (Judi Meredith) and friend (Dennis Hopper) are sent to Mars to meet with a recently landed spaceship, an astronaut (John Saxon) follows them to provide much-needed support — especially when the lone alien they rescue (Florence Marly) turns out to be challenging to manage.

Genres:

  • Aliens
  • Astronauts
  • Basil Rathbone Films
  • Dennis Hopper Films
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction

Review:
Like Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965), this low-budget AIP sci-fi-horror flick (directed by Curtis Harrington) was re-purposed from existing Soviet footage to stylish effect. While the first half-hour moves glacially, and the pacing overall is too slow, the screenplay takes a surprising enough turn (once Marly emerges from her slumber) to shake things up significantly, and make one take serious notice. Green-faced Marly’s wordless performance is a marvel to behold, as she hypnotizes the men around her and clearly has malevolence up her sleeve (or perhaps up in her beehive-do):

Naturally, inquiry-driven scientists — most particularly Dr. Farraday (Basil Rathbone) back on Earth — demand she be brought back safely at any cost, despite the clear risk she poses. It’s been noted that both this and Bava’s flick bear a remarkably strong resemblance to Alien (1979), which is part of what makes them each worth a look despite their flaws. The final scene is genuinely chilling and icky.

Note: I’m leaving out a spoiler genre that would give away too much. Stay away from any online reviews if you want to be surprised.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Florence Marly as the alien
  • Atmospheric cinematography and sets

  • Artistic opening titles

Must See?
Yes, once, for its unusual storyline and bold visuals, and as a clear inspiration for Alien. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.

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2 thoughts on “Planet of Blood / Queen of Blood (1966)

  1. First viewing. A once-must for fans of ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ – which is probably tons of film fanatics who aren’t necessarily sci-fi buffs.

    As per my post in ‘Revival House of Camp & Cult’ (fb):

    “Perhaps she’s only accustomed to some sort of… liquid nourishment.”

    ‘Queen of Blood’: The makers of ‘Alien’ and ‘Aliens’ were once little kids like we all were, of course – as such, they soaked up their inspiration early on. They had certainly seen ‘It! The Terror from Beyond Space’ (recommended) – and another direct influence was ‘Queen of Blood’. This Roger (“I can make a movie out of *anything*!”) Corman-produced quickie gave young director Curtis Harrington the opportunity to fashion stock footage from a Russian film studio (which is not half-bad) into a new kind of space flick. With a laughable budget, Harrington still succeeded more than one might think. Like a lot of sci-fi films from the ’50s-’60s, ‘QOB’ saves its best stuff for the last 30 minutes: the performance of Czech-born Florence Marly. With green skin, a cotton-candy-esque bouffant and ‘Village of the Damned’ eyes, Marly manages a genuinely creepy, mute spin on Bela Lugosi. Also in the cast: John Saxon, Hollywood veteran Basil Rathbone (taking it all seriously) and Dennis Hopper (3 years prior to his re-invention in ‘Easy Rider’). The ending has surprising punch. (Harrington would later make ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’ and ‘What’s the Matter with Helen?’)

  2. Bava’s Planet of the Vampires (1965) is a much bigger influence on Alien and Heinlein’s book Starship Troopers (1959) is the big influence on Aliens along with Galaxy of Terror (1981) which Cameron was a major player on.

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