Murder In A Blue World/Una Gota de Sangre Para Morir Amando (1973)

Murder In A Blue World:Una gota de sangre para morir amando (1973)‘I can always be sure of myself with my new gold Panther underwear.’

In the near future, pioneering doctors are carrying out medical research to subdue agression in delinquents after a crimewave involving gangs of youths. Meanwhile, a serial killer is at work, targeting young men and leaving the police few clues…

Unsatisfying, unfocused social satire that was a French/Spanish co-production from writer-director Eloy de la Iglesia. Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971) was obviously the principle inspiration/touchstone here, but whereas that film was a shocking examination of the nature of youth and violence, this film is likely to provoke yawns more than anything else.

Prize-winning nurse Anna (Sue Lyon) has a secret. She likes to take young men back to her big house, have sex and then perform a non-regulation heart operation with a scapel. Oblivious colleague Jean Sorel would like the first part of that experience, but she’s not interested and he’s busy curing teenage hoodlums with extreme electo-shock therapy anyway. Destined for the operating table in one way or another is Chris (son of Robert) Mitchum who has fallen out with his gang mates over some missing money.

Murder In A Blue World/Una gota de sangre para morir amando (1973)

‘Hang on a second…Jack’s just chased Danny into the maze…’

The film begins with some heavy-handed satire on advertising and consumerism, courtesy of some fake TV ads. Of course, there’s comic potential in that but the humour is broad and obvious. One of following scenes sees Mitchum’s gang pull a home invasion much in the manner of Malcolm McDowell’s Droogs in some other film I could mention and with pretty similar (if not so graphic) results. In case we miss the Kubrick reference, the family on the wrong end of it were about to sit down and watch ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971) on their big screen TV. Subtle. 

Later on, we see Lyon don a series of disguises so she can hang around in hotel bars and pick up men in the finest 1970’s lounge suits. When she takes them home, she plays cassette tapes of Strauss waltzes (‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968) – nudge, nudge, wink, wink) before she seduces them. In case it happens to have slipped your mind, Lyon was also Kubrick’s ‘Lolita’ (1962) and to make sure you remember that, on a couple of occasions we see her reading Nabakov’s original novel and the book gets a nice big close up. Subtle.

Surprisingly, having said all that, there are a couple of moments of actual quality here. A shot of Lyon walking through a storm of leaves in a blood-spattered white dress is terrific, and there’s a wonderfully prescient auction scene. What’s on the block? Some of Alex Raymond’s original ‘Flash Gordon’ artwork from the 1930s! In a time when film merchandising had yet to create a collector’s marketplace, it’s a spot on prediuction. Unlinke the continued use of cassette tapes. 

Murder In A Blue World/Una gota de sangre para morir amando (1973)

‘Do you want my eyes wide shut or what?’

The main problem here, however, is the story; a real hodgepodge of ideas and plot threads. They do come together in the film’s final act but, by then, it’s far too little too late. The cast seem strangely detached from the material (perhaps that was intentional), but none of them are vaguely interesting or sympathetic so the audience has no reason to care. Just pity the unwitting audience member who thought they were getting the Kubrick film when this was marketed in some territories as ‘A Clockwork Terror’!

Given the right material, Lyon could deliver a fine performance. See that little Kubrick film and John Huston’s ‘Night of The Iguana’ (1964) if you need proof. However, she looks all at sea here. Sorel, a veteran of many a Giallo film, is merely smug and Mitchum so laidback that he’s almost horizontal. Fair enough, that worked for his Dad, but Mitchum Jr doesn’t have anything approaching that level of natural charisma. At least this was a step up from ‘Bigfoot’ (1970) though. But then again what isn’t? Mitchum twice ran for Congress; in 2012 and again in 2014. On both occasions, he was unsuccessful. Rumour has it that his poor record on Sasquatch rights was a significant factor.

Blunt, obvious satire which tries the patience more than the funny bone.

Bigfoot (1970)

Bigfoot_(1969)‘Been strange doings in them mountains… ‘specially at night…’

The local Sasquatch and his family kidnap a pilot who has crashed her plane and the girlfriend of the leader of a local biker gang. Luckily, travelling salesman (and ex-student of archaeology) John Carradine is in the locality and the biker is Robert Mitchum’s son in a funky bandanna.

Low budget stupidity made to cash in on the famous Patterson film of ‘the real Bigfoot’, which has only been debunked as a hoax in recent years. The pilot is played by Joi Lansing, a singer and actress who had already appeared with Carradine in the world’s greatest ever country music/horror hybrid film ‘Hillbillys in a Haunted House’ (1967). Her plane gets into difficulties when offscreen stage hands begin rocking it from side to side and the camera zooms shakily into close ups of the engines accompanied by grinding mechanical noises. Personally, I think it was probably the weight of her magnificent false eyelashes that brought the plane down.

Local law enforcement is skeptical about the existence of our furry friends of course, although the Sheriff does go on to mention that there have been many sightings over the years. He mentions that quite a lot actually. The bikers get the obligatory, and very tame, ‘freak out’ party sequence but spend most of their time just riding their bikes through the forest. They do that quite a lot actually. Matching between location and set shooting is poor and it’s fairly apparent that neither Carradine nor Lansing did any hiking in the mountains. In fact, one of the biker girls is a reasonable double for Lansing so may have been used in the long shots.

'Ooh, I like your dress! Do you think they'd have it in my size?'

‘Ooh, I like your dress! Do you think they’d have it in my size?’

The Sasquatch themselves are none too impressive either; one or them seems to be wearing a furry jacket and trousers combo as he jumps down on our hapless heroes from above. They are captured and taken to a clearing where Lansing and biker girl are tied to fake saplings. Lansing wears quite a revealing outfit for a pilot but this is a deliberate artistic choice by the filmmakers. No, not just the obvious exploitation angle, they are going for something here.

You see, great grandaddy Sasquatch is out there in the forest and Lansing is offered up to him, tied between two trees. Big Hairy appears and fights a dozy bear as Lansing screams (a shot that crops up several times over the next 20 minutes – sometimes even when it’s relevant). Do you see what it is yet? Yes, it’s ‘King Kong’ (1933) of course! This is confirmed by Carradine’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ payoff line at the climax. Classic. Oh, and Sigourney Weaver’s uncle plays a forest ranger.

By the bitter end, you won’t be rooting for either the hunters or the hunted, you’ll just be rooting for the credits to roll. Or should that be the debits?

The final caption says: ‘The End…or this is the beginning?’ Sequel? You’re ‘avin’ a larf, mate!

Buy the poster of ‘Bigfoot’ here!