Blood Sabbath, 1972

[Alotta and Goat]

Blood Sabbath (1972) is a sweet love story, in which an ex Vietnam-vet falls in love with a Water-Nymph, loses his soul, drinks blood (at the eponymous “Blood Sabbath”), beheads the local priest, and is run down by Combie Van, but gets the girl before the credits roll.

I am reviewing this film here because Alotta, Queen of Witches, is the Water-Nymph’s rival for the affections of the Vietnam-vet, David. And Alotta and her coven of (usually naked) witches are, emphatically, sexy. But to continue with the back-story: Alotta ensures the success of the crops of the local population. In return they hand over a girl every year; the coven sacrifice the girl’s soul, and she joins the coven. The local “Padre” is in on the arrangement, taking his kick-back in (literally “soul-less”) sexual favours from the witches.

The film starts with David strolling along in the country side with a guitar on his shoulder. Relaxing folk music is playing, a Combie Van passes by, covered in rainbows, astrological symbols; a hippie chick leans out and looks like she is about to hand him a beer, but instead she sprays the beer all over him, and then tears open her blouse and given him a show as the van drives off. Bad hippies!

[David having a bad day]

Later that night, when David is trying to sleep by his camp-fire, the denizens of the Combie are having an orgy. Four naked women decide to pay him a visit and David—the pride of the US Army—runs for his life, eventually falling over in the dark and knocking himself out.

[David’s day gets worse]

He is revived by the Water Nymph, Yyalah, but the next morning it is all a little unclear to him. He is taken in and fed by a strange bearded man, Lonzo, but David is smitten: he searches for Yyalah, finds her, they look adoringly into each others eyes, walk around hand-in-hand, kiss etc, until Yyalah informs him that he should go away because she has no soul and he must be the same for them to be together.

[Yyalah, the Water Nymph (on land)]

David does the only sensible thing: asks the local priest how to get rid of his pesky soul. “The Padre” says no, in fact he gets very angry, and yells and gesticulates a lot. He then goes and visits Alotta, who plies him with booze and naked acolytes, but he is still angry and he tells Alotta he has had enough, and all this soul-sacrificing has to stop. As soon as the Padre leave, Alotta makes a Padre pin-cushion (Voodoo-style).

[The Padre won’t help David]
[Alotta’s coven want to help The Padre]

David, meanwhile, still wants rid of his soul, so he asks Lonzo if he can take the place of the latest “sacrifice”; he agrees, David seeks out Alotta to take his soul. As it happens, Alotta has had her eye on David for a while, and already cast a spell to draw him to her, so she she agrees—on the condition he returns to her if the Water Nymph tires of him—then calls up her coven, who dance his soul away. David is ecstatic.

[David offers to take the place of the child]
[Alotta’s coven in robes (note hexagram and Aries symbol)]
[Dancing away David’s soul]

We then have a montage of happy David and Yyalah, followed by the “Blood Sabbath” at which a woman is sacrificed; David drinks the blood of the sacrifice, and returns to Yyalah with blood all over his face. Yyalah runs away, Alotta comes to David and does the sexiest 70s hippy dance you have ever seen, using a glamour to look like Yyalah; then she sends him off to behead the Padre.

[Blood- and lust-crazed David wakes Yyalah]
[Alotta dancing (not a pun, honestly)]
[Alotta using an astonishingly effective Yyalah-glamour]

Yyalah prepares a potion that breaks Alotta’s spell over David, so Alotta tries to kill him (using her stooge, Lonzo). David kill’s Lonzo, then Alotta, who curses him. The curse takes the form of a possesed Combie—a relative of Christine?—that runs him down. Fortunately, and inexplicably, David either survives or is revived by Yyalah’s magic, and they swim off into the sunset.

[David cursed by the dying Alotta]
[David chased by possessed Combie]
[David and Yyalah swim into a foggy sunset]

Okay, so now you have the whole story, such as it is. Almost everyone dies (David, Alotta, Lonzo, The Padre) or loses their soul (David and Alotta’s coven, Yyalah doesn’t have one to begin with, and The Padre and all the local townsfolk are probably damned too), but the witches are sexy, so it is all good. In one scene we see seven witches plus Alotta but there must be more somewhere; eleven are credited on Imdb. (And assuming the ones we see are eighteen or older, but were about ten when they arrived, then there must be eight under-18s in training). So Alotta is sexy and successful!

Apparently this film was made in ten days during an actor’s strike by “a bunch of pick up people who did it for fun on less than a shoestring … It was an interesting experiment for everybody” according to skipretty, now aged 73, who was involved in making the film. Most of the undifferentiated witches appear on Imdb for this film only (Susan Landis, Samra Harvey, Mary Lind, Felice Darvey, Ramona Timberlake and Francesca Pelli), and those that appear more than once seem to have specialised in soft-porn T&A such as Terror at Orgy Castle (1971) and The Adult Version of Jekyll & Hide (1972) (Jane Louise) or Sexcapade in Mexico (1973) (Lynn Harris, Kathy Hilton and Terri Johnson).

There are a few reviews of this film online (here, here and here) and Imdb has quite a few contributions on it. The interest in the film seems to be largely because Anthony Geary, the nobody who played David, went to make a name in General Hospital (1978–2009). Personally, I am more impressed by the astonishing Dyanne Thorne, who played Alotta, Queen of Witches. Thorne is legendary today for Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975), Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977) [a
Jesus Franco film] etc. Blessed with an extraordinary figure (37C-17-33 at age 15, 37D-22-35 at age 40), she also has a fine brain: she has Ph.D. in Comparative religion, is an ordained minister and, according to Wikipedia, conducts scenic outdoor weddings as an alternative to a traditional wedding chapel.

There is no satisfactory DVD of this film. I got my copy from VideoScreams (item L460 here), but it also available from Dvd Source. I suspect both are re-issues of the 2002 Pegasus release (no longer available). Original VHS tapes of the film in good condition are collector’s items and priced accordingly. So, hunt down a copy: not only was 1972, without doubt, the best year for films, but you be a long time looking for a sexier group of witches than the ones above!

UPDATE: 17 March 09: I have corrected the “covenstead” references in the above. Chas S. Clifton (see feedback), who certainly knows better about these things than I do, assures me that this word is used only for a place, not a group of people. I actually thought it could be used for both, but I am happy to defer to Chas.

16 Responses to “Blood Sabbath, 1972”

  1. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore. BB

  2. NMIlluminati Says:

    Very cool, in a cheesy ’70’s sort of way.

    Do you know what would happen if they made a movie today (in the US) where a priest got decapitated?

    It would not be pretty!

  3. Gods that movie sounds hilarious! Utterly sexy, but funny as. I love your reviewing style – particularly the picture captions. Nicely done ;)

  4. I SO want to see this movie!!

    And Derek, you are SO right – they don’t make them like this anymore…

    Thanks Red, for the great review! I have another movie to add to my “Grail” list – right up there with an unedited version K. Russell’s “The Devils”.

  5. I talked with Dyanne Thorne about this movie at a film convention last year. No one involved then had any idea that Anthony Geary would become the superstar (hopwver briefly) that he did. She also remarked that first-time director Brianne Murphy (ex-wife of schlocky director Jerry Warren) was extremely nervous and unsure of her abilities, and that Dyanne spent much of the shoot reassuring her that all would be fine.

  6. I should see this one.

    By the way, a “coven” is people, but a “covenstead” is a location, such as a house.

  7. Cool post. I quite enjoyed it. Sounds like an awesome movie.

  8. Love everything about it, especially the possessed combie – what a crack up! Very sexy witches indeed.

  9. At 73, I am having the best time reading these reviews. I really should write a book about the makings of this movie and why it was made and how much it cost. And would you believe, I was also the photographer on this movie and have all the slides in a closet somewhere. Is there any way I could make any money from them or maybe make a photo book. By the way, I guess nobody knows what happened to the real films, because what is out there were pirated versions. I am almost dead certain of this.

  10. Speaking for no one but myself, I’m thrilled and even honored that Lisa Fluet has taken notice of this string of comments. And let me tell you, any book she writes, any revelations she makes, any stories she would share would be at thetop of my reading list. Heck, I’d love to help her by cowriting them–!

  11. redwitch1 Says:

    Lisa, I am absolutely delighted you dropped by! And I’d love to hear the whole, or even a larger part of the story about this fabulous film. Find those slides and I’d gladly post a few of them, with an interview, right here.

    But can I suggest another possibility to a book? A decent DVD, with your stills and your commentary as a large part of the extras. The DVD would increase interest in the film and, therefore, the market for your book. It might also be easier to do, and to sell (especially through a company like Redemption, which specialises in such things).

    But your book should definitely be written. It is appalling how much cinema history of a decade so recent as the 70s has already been lost! And it would be nice to see a contribution from Dyanne Thorne too.

    As you can see from David’s feedback, there are people out there who’d love to help, and if I can help with publicity, all you have to do is let me know.



  12. All so true. My contributions to genre magazines and books are many and varied, and — believe me — there’s a market out there for just such material!

  13. i can never find the lengthe of a film being revewed cut or un cut

  14. redwitch1 Says:

    Buddy: the run time is 82 minutes on the disk I got from VideoScreams. RW

  15. One of the WORST movies ever made!!! So bad I had to watch it twice. Now if someone can explain it to me???

  16. So entirely incredible and hilarious that it is still watched out there somewhere. Going on 76 now and lmao

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