A Simple Case of… Bloodlust! (1961)

Adapted from Richard Connell’s short story The Most Dangerous Game, much like the 1932 film of the same name, Bloodlust! is a fun little chiller but it is not quite as good as the Joel McCrea movie nor the original tale. That being said, it is still quite riveting even if it is a little hokey at times, as one simply wants to see if those who have made it to the island remain alive by the end of the picture to leave it.

Starring Wilton Graff as the baddie who hunts men for sport, he does a great job at making the role a fairly serious one though he does tend to ham it up just a wee bit thus giving his character a bit of unpredictability. The man also ends up being more than a little creepy during one scene where, in no uncertain terms, he makes his intentions known for the much younger June Kenney and Joan Lora who have found themselves trapped on the island with their boyfriends played by Robert Reed and Eugene Persson. As for the youngsters, their vacation is obviously not going as planned, Graff’s Dr. Balleau letting them know that he intends to hunt them down like the animals he thinks they are, though he is willing to give them a fighting chance or so they believe anyway. It is all sort of humorous in a dark sort of way for those that have seen the original film or read the story as one knows what is coming and even then, it does not take away from the tension and the suspense present that director Ralph Booker builds throughout. For those who are new to the material, they will discover a captivating work, one that may not feature the best of actors but it is one that will keep its audience’s eyes on the screen as the manhunt begins. While it could go either way for those on the run, seeing it all play out is a lot of fun.

For a film such as this, there is little need for special effects as most of it relies upon a good script and the psychological horror conjured from the results, one that is provided by Ralph Brooke. Though Brooke might not innovate nor improve upon anything that Connell originally created, one does not necessarily need to do so to make a good movie ultimately as when it is all said and done, Bloodlust! turned out to be just that.  If there was one thing going against it all, as compelling and as good as it might have been, it is not a film that anyone will remember and it is that forgettability that holds it back from being great.  If in need of a couple of chills or something to distract one’s self with, Bloodlust! will do the trick.

3 out of 5

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