Blood Hunger (1968)

There is roadkill on the street. Blood. Flies. Matted fur. Stomach smeared on the pavement. It’s a cat, or rather what’s left of one. The camera focuses shakily on the carcass. It’s clearly something director Gary Graver saw and decided to film because it’s “so real.”

This is the only thing in the movie that keeps it real.

Antoinette is driving a car. She’s being chased around the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. This pursuit goes on far too long. It’s endless. Cars go around a roundabout, stop and back up, turn corners, and drive through tunnels. The drivers obey the speed limit, so it looks less like a car chase and more like people caravanning to a house party. This scene is actually the film version of driving behind my mother. She weaves in and out of her lane, makes right turns from the middle lane, and slams on the brakes if there’s a car 30 feet ahead of her, which there always is, because she lives in Los Angeles. What I’m trying to say is that this scene brings up a lot of shit with my mother.

Men in dark suits and sunglasses drag Antoinette out of the car. They punch her in the tits and bring her to their lair, which has tall stacks of film canisters and a dirty mattress. There is rape, through the pants. One guy’s rape face looks like he got his junk stuck in a trap.

Meanwhile, a scrawny guy in a fedora sleeps at his desk, under a poster of Humphrey Bogart. There’s a voiceover in the style of a classic noir.

“Me, Charlie Apple, private eye, one of the finest detectives on the West Coast. I hadn’t had a case in months, not even a six-pack. . . . Business was bad and getting worse.”

Antoinette asks Charlie Apple for help, but when she talks, her voice is sped up. She sounds like Alvin, Simon, and/or Theodore, only incomprehensible. In lieu of actual dialogue, Charlie narrates. There’s something about heroin and the mob and how some goons burned her “beep boop” with a cigar. Soon he frisks her for a “concealed weapon.” I’m talking about sex here. No weapon is found, but the boobs are plentiful.

Charlie Apple tries to track down the mob. To do this, he must get laid. Antoinette sets up some kind of covert operation. To do this, she must get laid. A mob goon cuts the throat of a lady. This is done while she’s getting laid. There’s a lot of laying in this movie. There are also more car chases, a lot of sensual candles, and one lesbian experience.

If Buster Keaton made a madcap sexploitation noir about horny broads and cars that never run out of gas, this might be it. Charlie Apple’s voiceover is ripped straight out of an Ed Wood sleaze novel.

“Instead of resisting me, she turned into a pliable creature of undulating soft flesh, quivering beneath my touch.”

My guess is that Graver didn’t like the script and tried to salvage it with a voiceover. And we’re all better for it. Graver clearly had fun while making this film, and maybe he was a little drunk too. Blood Hunger makes little sense, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a solid piece of entertainment that delivers.

But what’s most incredible about Blood Hunger is the soundtrack. The sound effects used in the sex scenes include creaking doors, whirring wind, bugle calls, extremely loud crickets, ragtime piano, grinding metal gears, and the dreaded jazz flute. Pretty much every random sound effect is used in this movie. So while Blood Hunger is fun to watch, it’s even more fun to listen to.

At some point a hunchback janitor comes in while Antoinette sleeps naked on a couch. He sneezes into her dress and rubs her butt. She wakes up. She’s into his hunchback. Very, very into his hunchback.

The scene is accompanied by the theme song to The Lone Ranger.

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