A group of people travel to Greece to search for a missing Oxford student; Richard Fountain. They discover that wherever Richard has been there has been an unsolved murder. They dismiss the idea that these crimes are Richard's doing and press on with their search, when they find Richard they discover he is under the spell of a vampire. Believing they have killed the vampire, they return to England with Richard. Unbeknown to them the curse has returned with them, and Richard becomes under the vampire's spell once again.
Incense for the Damned (also known as Bloodsuckers) is a 1972 Titan International Productions and Lucinda Films production. It stars Patrick Macnee, Peter Cushing and Patrick Mower. It was directed by Robert Hartford-Davis. This film is based on the novel Doctors Wear Scarlet by Simon Raven.
I've heard a couple of things about this film, the first thing being that the film's budget ran out part way through production so a number of scenes weren't filmed and the film was pieced together with what they had filmed so far. To help with any inconsistencies they added a narrator over the top to fill in the gaps. The second thing I heard about this film is that when it has appeared on television it has been the full uncut version, whereas the versions that were released in the cinema, and then on home video and DVD were various cut versions. In fact, on the DVD one of the cut scenes is used as an extra feature appearing as a deleted scene, why it wasn't just left in the film I don't know. It's annoying because it's the scene likely to have been controversial as it features sex, nudity and blood, exactly what these films were famous for; extremity and causing controversy, constantly pushing the boundaries, and they cut it out.
The synopsis to this film sounds rather good, but the final piece is disappointing, even more so when you look at the cast. Although Peter Cushing is credited in the top 3, he appears as a still image at the start and appears properly in the latter half. Then we have the Avenger himself, Patrick Macnee, but he gets dropped half way through the film, literally dropped off a cliff. There's even Edward Woodward who appears for one scene just randomly in the middle of the film. And then we have Patrick Mower again another good actor, at least he lasts the film's duration. Even with all these great actors the film fails, these actors aren't given the opportunity to be as great as they are in anything else they are in.
Some of the action sequences did have their moments, funny moments. Best of all being Patrick Macnee hitting a guy's head between 2 gates. Even then it was just slapstick violence, very much like the sitcom Bottom, when they hit each other in the head with the fridge door, which I don't think was the intended approach for this horror.
Now I know they hadn't killed the vampire as she was still able to have her influence over Richard later in the film, but to think she had been killed by being pushed off a small flight of stairs is ridiculous. An ordinary human could survive that fall, so for a vampire to be killed by it is a bit naff, presumably the reason she survived is because they didn't stake her, but still for a fall to even injure her is pretty poor story telling. SHE'S A VAMPIRE FOR GOD'S SAKE!
Overall, this film is a big disappointment, although it has its moments of action that amused me, I still found it dull and boring for most of the film. The great actors aren't used effectively or to their potential. As I mentioned earlier about the missing scenes, this makes the story a bit confusing at times and again rather poor. It's just very poor and not what you would expect as the final piece when you've read the synopsis. The synopsis leaves you with high hopes and intrigue, but the film let's itself down and spoils a potentially great story.
Incense for the Damned 1/5