Directed by: Rod Hardy
Staring: Chantal Contouri, Shirley Cameron, Max Phipps
Ever since the film “Grindhouse” came out in 2007, I’ve pretty much has been a fan of exploitation or just the essential, low budget vibe of 70’s films. Stupid logic films are some of my favorites, such as The Room, Hausu, or even Samurai Cop. So when I got this, I pretty much just expected the worst. What I got surprised the hell out of me.
“We’re simply a superior race of people…”
The film follows the character of Kate Davis, a twenty something girl who one day suddenly discovers that her milk is blood. Soon after she is kidnapped and told she is the descendant of Elizabeth Bathory and is then told that she must join the cult of supermen, or advanced vampires. The story itself is a bit muddled and took an internet search to figure out what was going on cause honestly I didn’t really know who Elizabeth Bathory was or what it meant to the story. I will say that with a budget of only about $700,000 it looks fantastic. Sets do look like sets, but in the good way and one can definitely tell they were serious in almost every respect.
I loved the musical score for not only being an actual score and not just a synth track, but really elevating the horror scenes to being actually tense. There is also a brilliant scene in the film where Kate is stuck in a room. Essentially there is no dialogue, but only sounds and the tension of the scene ever rising. I really wish Hollywood directors would take notice of this type of filmmaking and get back to the roots of what makes a scene scary. Fear of the unknown, not jump scares or stupid stuff the audience can see coming for miles away.
If I have to list one thing that really bothered me it was the opening and closing scenes. They really felt out of place and/or didn’t explain a thing as to what was going on making me feel really confused as to what was going on.
Really Thirst surprised me in almost every way and makes me want to explore more in the Australian exploitation (or Ozploitation as its called) genre. I will say for anyone expecting a complete gore fest or nude scenes galore, in my opinion, this is very close to a PG-13 rating, but for its time I can see how it is rated R.
“The thirst is in all of us.”
Presented in a 2:35.1 aspect ratio Thirst comes alive in almost every way. What first surprised me about the film was actually how good it looked, I was expecting a very grainy, 16mm look to the film, but in actuality the film looks fantastic. On the back of the case it is stated that this transfer was done with the original negatives of the film and it does show. Outdoor scenes look brilliant and close-ups show a lot of detail. Grain never becomes a hassle, with the exception of one shot. Skin tones look extremely lifelike and really give the image a 3D pop. When I got really close to the screen I did notice a white pop here or there but it never became a distraction and I never noticed it from my couch.
“NOT IN ME!!”
Unfortunately the audio side is handled differently but still comes through. Presented in a lossy Dolby Digital mono track Thirst never really comes alive in this aspect. Keeping to the roots of its theatrical presentation, the mono track sounds just fine but never really wows or does anything to give it a presence. Dialogue is never overlooked and music and folly come through. I just feel it’s a missed opportunity to not have a loss-less track available.
Packaging and Bonus Features
“Please…let me be one of you”
The packaging for the film comes in a sturdy, non-eco case that does not contain the original poster. On the front, instead a “more graphic than anything in the film” image is on the cover of a woman with two tubes coming out of her neck. While this is fine, it kinda gives an impression of being more edgy tone, or feel than what the film actually is.
Bonus features are actually pretty light, but I doubt there would be much for a very Indy film like this one.
– Audio Commentary with Director Rod Hardy and Producer Antony I. Ginnane. This track is actually quite insightful to the complete filming process from pre-production through post-production. It was interesting hearing the opinions of the director and his inspirations and thoughts through key scenes in the film. Defiantly a must listen, if you enjoy the film.
-Isolated Music Score by Brian Bay. Standard music track throughout the film.
-Theatrical Trailer. A very cheesy trailer that really gives the wrong impression.
-TV Spots – all less than twenty seconds long.
Overall(not an average)
“I am one of you.”
Would I recommend Thirst? Definitely to any horror fan, or someone that wants to give something new a try. It has an original plot that has decent twists, and has a musical score that is memorable. The video looks quite fantastic 35 years later and the audio gets the job done. Not bad!