Peter Cushing stars in the Tigon Productions film The Blood Beast Terror, which would cause one to automatically think of some vampiric monster and they would indeed be half-right. There are no vampires present in this movie though, only a woman who happens to turn into a giant moth with the need to feed upon hapless young men, specifically their blood. It is a fun turn of events thanks to writer Peter Bryan as the role is usually reversed and pretty young maidens are on the menu more often than not. Cushing is the hero of the film this time around, a Detective-Inspector from Scotland Yard who is investigating all of the strange murders that are taking place as of late. With multiple bodies turning up, their throats and faces slashed by what appears to be a wild animal, the Inspector has little to go on, that is until a bit of evidence starts to pop up which makes him zero in on Dr. Mallinger, though he would soon discover that he is only partially correct in his assumptions.
The film is not particularly frightening as far as monster movies go, but there are times when it is a little eerie, where the music and the cinematography and the special effects go hand in hand to create the perfect atmosphere. Those special effects are actually quite good as far as creating a giant moth costume goes and even better when it came to creating dead bodies for the film. The film might have had a low budget being the B film that it was, but watching it never gave one the sense that it did. When the monster first appeared it was almost unbelievable as you really had no idea that this was the direction the movie was going to go in, even though all the hints were there. It was more of a shock than anything else, but one can see that if this film were watched very late at night with all the lights off, how it could be quite effective in causing a little fright to be had.
Cushing of course, is as fantastic as he always was. As Detective-Inspector Quennell, he would take his job quite seriously, following the clues to where they led like a Bloodhound on the trail. There is nothing outwardly challenging or extraordinary about the character of Quenell, indeed if it were anyone but Cushing playing the man, he would just be a somewhat average policeman. The good thing about Cushing was that he could take any role, make it his own and make said character more interesting than he might have been otherwise. There is one bit that seems a little preposterous, considering that the man is a member of Scotland Yard, and that is the fact that he took his daughter along with him while he goes undercover in the hopes of catching his suspect. It is a little silly and the only thing that really stands out in the film as a negative yet it is easily pushed aside as the film is so enjoyable.
If there is one thing lacking in today’s motion pictures, it is imagination. It is doubtful that anyone in this modern age would consider making a movie about a weremoth which gives this movie quite a bit of charm, despite it being a horror and all. Though The Blood Beast Terror would have a very clunky name, it would turn out to be a film that you could not help being entertained by, partly due to Peter Cushing’s performance, but also due to the creative aspect of the monster featured within.
3.5 out of 5