Meanwhile, the crew is fascinated with the alien, who is now awake. She's the first alien they've ever had contact with. The captain reminds everyone that their first consideration is to get her back to Earth safely. Paul tries to get her to eat some rations, but she refuses. The captain tries to take a sample of her blood, but she reacts violently when she sees the needle.
During the night the alien approaches Paul, hypnotizing him with glowing eyes, and sucks all the blood out of him. The crew later discovers Paul's dead body, and the alien asleep, gorged with human blood. Allan is repulsed by her and calls her a monster. In spite of the horrible thing she has done, the captain is still fascinated by her. He instructs Allan and Laura to give the alien the blood plasma they have on board to keep her from feeding on them. This works well until they run out of blood plasma. Captain Brockman says it will be necessary for the crew to contribute blood. Before they get to that point, the alien attacks the captain and sucks out his blood.
With the Captain gone, Allan ties the alien vampire to her bed. He's thoroughly disgusted with it. Allan and Laura are not safe, however. The alien uses her eyes as laser beams to burn through her bonds. She goes after Allan. Laura wakes and finds the alien feeding on Allan. Laura pulls the alien off Allan, they fight, and Laura scratches the alien. In a panic, the alien screams and runs off.
Laura tends to Allan, who is still alive. The vampire alien is found dead--she bled to death from a scratch. Observing that she must be a hemophiliac, Allan theorizes that on her home planet she may have been royalty.
Just as they land on earth, Laura discovers that the alien has laid eggs all over the ship. Allan is horrified, realizing that the alien woman was like a queen bee, a queen that breeds. She wasn't just an ambassador. Her race sent her to Earth to find a new feeding ground. Allan thinks the alien eggs should be destroyed, but Dr. Farraday is very excited about them. But can the creatures really be controlled?
"Planet of Blood" is also known as "Queen of Blood" and a few other titles: "Flight to a Far Planet," "The Green Woman," "Planet of Terror," and "Planet of Vampires." The film was made in a very short time and on a limited budget. Director Curtis Harrington used stock footage from the Russian film "Mechte Navstrechu" (A Dream Come True) for the scenes of the alien planet and spaceships launching into space.
Rathbone was 74 years old when he made this film, one year before his death from a heart attack. Although he looks old, he appears vibrant and in good health. The role of Dr. Farraday was not a challenge to Rathbone's talents, and he gave a fine performance. Rathbone only worked for three days and earned $3000 per day.1 The cast also includes a very young Dennis Hopper (as Paul Grant), John Saxon (as Allan Brenner), and Forrest J. Ackerman, publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, playing Dr. Farraday's assistant..
According to an article in Castle of Frankenstein magazine,2 the vampire alien had a name: Velana, Queen of the Planet Centurion. Her name was never mentioned in the film. "Velana" was played by Czechoslovakian actress Florence Marly. Although she never uttered a word in this film, her eyes and her smile spoke volumes. She was effectively creepy.
One interesting fact is that Rathbone's character, Dr. Farraday, mentioned that man's first successful landing on the moon took place "twenty years ago," which would have been 1970. That is only one year off from the date the lunar landing actually took place.
It appears that Ridley Scott's film "Alien" (1979) derived its plot from "Planet of Blood," and, in an interview with Horror Wood, Curtis Harrington agrees.3
The special effects in this film are really not bad for a film of the 1960s. The Russian special effects footage was interesting and very good, considering when it was made. Harrington did an excellent job of blending the American and Russian footage into a seamless storyline. Note that the writers' vision of the future is not at all multicultural. Every single person in the film is Caucasian--every astronaut, every scientist, even the alien! Only one of the astronauts was female. Nevertheless, it's a good story, with good acting, and spooky enough to satisfy.
Watch the "Planet of Blood" movie trailer, courtesy of bedazzled.com:
1 Michael Druxman. Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films,
(A.S. Barnes, 1974), 346-348.
Images on this page and page 2 are from the film "Planet of Blood," copyright CinemaWest Productions.