Death’s Head Hawkmoth: Acherontia Atropos are distinguishable by the vaguely human skull shaped markings on the thorax.
A murderer is haunting the British countryside. A serial killer who targets young men between the ages of twenty and thirty. They are all found with their throats ripped and their blood drained. Joe Trigger (Leslie Anderson) witnesses the last murder and a glimpse of the killer. The sight drives him insane.
Detective Inspector Quennell (Peter Cushing) of Scotland Yard and his assistant, Sergeant Allan (Glynn Edwards) are charged with finding the fiend. Joe, the only witness, rants on about a winged creature with huge eyes. Quennell, grasping at straws, suggests a homicidal eagle may be the culprit. Several shiny scales were discovered at the last scene.
Quennell brings the scales to entomologist and Professor Dr. Carl Mallinger (Robert Flemying). He lives with his daughter Clare (Wanda Ventham) and their butler, Granger (Kevin Stoney). Quennell asks Mallinger to see what he can make of them. Mallinger acts a little squirrelly but agrees to see what he can determine about them. Quennell tells Mallinger about his eagle theory. Mallinger dismisses it.
Frederick Britewell (William Wilde) is a naturalist who has just returned from Africa. At the behest of Mallinger he brought back some specimens for the doctor. Specifically moth chrysalides. Unfortunately the young and handsome adventurer is the next victim. The killer is Clare the were-moth. Yes, were-moth. Quennell finds the dying Britewell. His last words were “Death’s head”.
Mallinger denies knowing the man but Quennell finds out that the young man was staying with them. When Quennell goes to confront Mallinger he finds both Mallinger and his daughter are gone, Granger id dead and the basement is full of skeletons. Quennell must now try and track down Mallinger and Clare before more killings happen.
“Blood Beast Terror” AKA “The Vampire Beast Craves Blood” was released in 1968 and was directed by Vernon Sewell. It is a British horror film. I am a sucker for a wacko monster and I will forgive a lot of things if you show me something shiny. A were-moth is something shiny.
It’s an entertaining little monster movie set in 19th century England. The low budget affects it a little bit but the performances, especially by Peter Cushing, more than make up for it. Although Cushing thought of it as his worst movie, his fans, including me, disagree. Who else could pull off a serious performance when your co-star is a giant moth? The moth is not exactly the fiercest monster I’ve seen, but just the fact that we get to say were-moth makes it fine with me. “Were-moth!” Gotta love it.
There are many reasons to be interested in this one. Peter Cushing, mad scientist, giant bug. The performances are pretty solid. The comic relief from the morgue attendant is lame, but brief. The fact that the movie takes itself seriously was also a plus for me.
Wanda Ventham who plays Clare Mallinger the “were-moth” is the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch.