Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 1st, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 1979
Director: Rod Hardy
Writer: John Pinkney
Cast: Chantal Contouri, Shirley Cameron, Max Phipps, Henry Silva, Rod Mullinar, David Hemmings
DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A woman is abducted by a vampire cult because she is a descendant of Elizabeth Bathory.
Thirst is an unusual twist on vampires and Elizabeth Bathory a blood drinking countess who preyed on virgins. The vampires in the film were fangs that they insert when they drink blood. This is not your shape shifting or afraid of sunlight type of vampires. They even have a full scale operation of cultivating the blood for widespread distribution. The vampire cult rounds up donors (victims) who are kept on a commune like farm for their blood harvesting. The donors are then slowly drained via a machine that attaches a nozzle to their jugulars that sucks out their blood while they are strapped down. The film also alludes to the fact that this is just one of many of these types of farms around the world.
Outside of Kate Davis who has ties to Elizabeth Bathory no one else who is connected to this vampire cult appears to have any heritage that points towards their vampirism. It is almost like the other members of the cult especially the doctors are self appointed chosen ones who view themselves as superior to those who they drain blood from. Besides the elements of vampires, the film also covers the aspect of cults with great effect. When compared to other vampire films Thirst never fully goes for the jugular as the violence is subdued.
The cinematographer on Thirst was whose other notable film include Long Weekend, Fantasm, Fantasm Comes Again, The True Story of Eskimo Nell and Newsfront. Visually the atmospheric and dream like imagery perfectly complements Kate Davis fragile state of mind in the film. One of the film’s more memorable moments is a shower scene where the Kate Davis character is soaked in blood. One of the more amusing moments in the film is a scene where tourists walk through the processing area while donors are being drained. The film’s lush score was composed by Brian May whose other notable scores include Patrick, Mad Max and Dark Forces.
Chantal Contouri is cast is the film’s lead role of Kate Davis. She gives a strong performance that captures the essence of her characters metal breakdown. After starring in Thirst she only appeared in a handful of films like Metal Skin. Two other notable performances in the film are David Hemmings (Blowup, Barbarella, Deep Red) and Henry Silva (The Manchurian Candidate, Assassination). Even though they both play roles that serve a similar function their characters couldn’t be more different. There is a subtlety to the way David Hemmings character Dr. Fraser approaches a problem while Henry Silva character Dr. Gauss is more aggressive and at times careless. Ultimately Thirst’s fascinating premise and strong payoff more than make up for the film’s other short comings.
Synapse Films presents Thirst in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image looks clean, colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look healthy. Black levels are strong and the image remains stable throughout. Overall this progressive flagged transfer is in great shape.
This release comes with two audio options English and Spanish. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes are free of any other defects and the dialog sounds clear and the music sounds robust.
Extras for this release include a photo gallery, cast & crew filmographies, a trailer and three T.V. spots for the film. Other extras include an isolated audio track for the films score. The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with director Rod Hardy and producer Antony I. Ginnane. All the previous content that was included on the now OOP Elite DVD release has been carried over for this release. Even though there are a few moments were both participants pause in between comments. The overall tenor of the audio commentary is very informative and detailed. Overall Thirst returns to DVD via a fully loaded special edition DVD from Synapse Film’s.