Thirst (1979)


An ordinary career woman, Kate Davis (Chantal Contouri, Snapshot), is kidnapped by members of a strange cult of modern vampires. Cult members believe that Kate is the descendant of the sect’s original founder and they want her to become their leader (a sort of “Vampire” Queen!). Kate refuses, triggering a series of unexpected events.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Directed by Rod Hardy, written by John Pinkney, Thirst is one of those movies that are very hard to describe; a nifty Australian horror film that is indeed a true original. Overall, the movie doesn’t have much plot or character development, but it does offer enough cinematic panache to keep the viewer engaged.

I first watched Thirst in the early 1980s when VCRs made many low-budget films available to a wider audience. At the time, I felt the movie was uncommonly good and well-directed, and my recent revisiting of the film has only reinforced my initial reaction. Thirst is probably a little too benign for diehard horror fans, but most viewers who can appreciate a well made psychological thriller are going to be more than satisfied with this movie. It provides an intense emotional rollercoaster, with bizarre twists and turns and plenty of thrills and chills.

Thirst is an intriguing, modern variation of the vampire film subgenre and I can guarantee that you’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Despite its low-budget, this is a technically innovative movie, with more style and energy than half a dozen Hollywood mega blockbusters combined. The movie isn’t perfect, but for the most part, Thirst remains an intense and involving exercise in psychological terror.

As a unique horror experience the movie succeeds with flying colors. For example, the heroine’s endless surreal hallucinations are a major accomplishment considering the limitations imposed by the small budget and the mixture of old movie clichés and quirky touches succeed in grabbing the viewer’s attention.

Brian May’s (Mad Max) pulsating music score is fantastic. May’s music is one of the most important elements of Thirst. Vince Monton’s cinematography is very stylish.

Chantal Contouri is effective as the prototypical scream queen. She is ably supported by David Hemmings (Camelot) and Henry Silva (The Manchurian Candidate). Shirley Cameron nearly steals the show as the cult’s enforcer, Mrs. Baker. With Max Phipps (The Road Warrior) and Robert Thompson (Patrick).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Thirst is a film that I have admired for many years. If you feel like dipping the mind in a pool of mischievousness, I heartily recommend watching this fun chiller. I’m sure most viewers are going to find it an interesting incursion into the strange and macabre. Not to be confused with Park Chan-wook’s 2009 horror movie, which is also about modern-day vampires. Color, 97 minutes, Rated R.

2 responses to “Thirst (1979)

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