Queen of Blood (1966)
Responding to an alien message from an alien craft crash-landed on Mars, a team of astronauts headed by John Saxon are sent on a mission to rescue the survivors and return them to Earth. On landing, they discover a single survivor - a woman with green skin and pointy hair. They take her back to the ship and try to restore her to health, but she isn’t too interested because, as it turns out, she quite likes drinking human blood. She proceeds to knock off and guzzle the plasma of the crew members, although John Saxon’s girlfriend (Judi Meredith) seems to be the only one who takes seriously the possibility that their bloodless husks might be related in some way to the mysterious extraterrestrial they happen to have on board.
Queen of Blood is a quality sci-fi horror film, with a genuinely creepy monster (Florence Marly, in a completely silent performance) and solid performances by leads Saxon and Meredith, and even by Dennis Hopper, who manages to not be extremely annoying for a change. The great Basil Rathbone makes a limited appearance as a chief scientist, and ‘Famous Monsters’ mogul Forrest Ackerman appears briefly as his aide.
Just as Peter Bogdanovich’s Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968) used footage from the Soviet sci-fi film Planeta Bur (1959) so does Queen of Blood make use of effects footage taken from the same film and from the USSR’s Mechte Navstrechu (1963). Once the alien queen is on board, though, it becomes less about space rockets and windswept Martian landscapes and more about fear, dread, and exsanguination.
Although available for a long time as a low 4:3 pan-and-scan release, the folks at Warner Archives have recently put out a lovely full-frame 16:9 transfer with all the lurid colours lovingly restored.