A Miami businessman, John Stone (Bill Rogers, "Santo Versus the Vampire Women"), receives a parcel from England containing two old bottles of Slivovitz brandy from his recently deceased ancestor, and after drinking both bottles, becomes a vampire.
The story started from a screenplay by Donald Stanford (his only credit), who claimed to Lewis that he intended this film to be a vehicle for Frank Sinatra. Originally, the film had a title referencing "Dr. Alucard", which is now fairly well-known to be "Dracula" backwards, and it was wise to change this.
Interestingly, the film was originally intended by H. G. Lewis to be about 90 minutes, which would already be long for him, but Lewis found it made more sense to pace the story more slowly to give it a serious nature than to be "frantic". This was also wise, and makes it a better film. Shooting took three weeks, the longest Lewis ever spend on any film. All of this shows.
Judging by IMDb, this film is not very appreciated and not as respected as Lewis' other work. Even "Gruesome Twosome" seems to fare better, which surprises me because the two are worlds apart. "Gruesome" is a mess, whereas "Taste" shows real talent and I can see why Lewis considered this his masterpiece. In what world is a film that shows real skill rated lower than one of Lewis' more slap-dash efforts?
Yes, "Taste" is still flawed, with some cheesy lighting and makeup effects. The blue spotlight is rather silly. And yes, I am pretty sure that at one point the actors forget the lead is supposed to be "John" and instead call him "Dan". But the plot, production value and acting are all better than the average Lewis film. Bill Rogers is great, and Thomas Wood is really quite incredible. He could have been a leading man in any Hollywood production.
The film is available from Arrow Video as part of their "Feast" collection, on the same disc as "Gruesome Twosome". The special features are covered in my review of the other title. The audio commentary on "Taste", among many other things, talks about Lewis' interactions with other low-budget icons, specifically Roger Corman and Bill Rebane; we also hear about how films such as these can go through various owners who you've never heard of (like how this one is or was owned by one Norm Seinfeld). If you have a love for the history of low budget (and no budget) film, the commentary alone is like a master class in the topic.
A Taste of Blood
A Taste of Blood
Mild-mannered Miami businessman John Stone receives a parcel from England containing two old bottles of Slivovitz brandy; upon drinking them both, he becomes a vampire. He uses his newfound vampire powers to keep his wife Helena in a trance as he travels to England to kill the descendants of Van Helsing, who murdered Count Dracula, while Helsing's distant relative Howard Helsing pursues him, intent on putting the reborn vampire to rest for good. —Anonymous
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 24, 2021 at 01:56 PM