Sunday, 11 March 2012


‘Incense For The Damned’ is a film of contrasts: it’s annoying and boring. As a yardstick of just how badly it all turned out, Robert Hartford-Davis (the director of ‘Gonks Go Beat’) actually tried to have his name removed from it. In the end, it was delayed for a couple of years, re-edited (seemingly with a bread knife in the dark) by the studio and stuck out for a couple of weeks in 1970 as a supporting feature before disappearing, only re-emerging in the 1990’s as a BBC1 Friday night film favourite (I have a theory that the regular showing of this film is a Corporation in-joke).

Based on the book ‘Doctors Wear Scarlet’ by Simon Raven, ‘Incense…' (also known as ‘Bloodsuckers’) tells the story of a promising Oxford Classics student (Patrick Mower, the walking nostril) who has an illustrious academic career and a good marriage all mapped out for him by his mentor (Peter Cushing, wasted) until he embarks on a field trip to Crete where he becomes the mindless suck bag of a busty Mediterranean vampire, Chriesis (Imogen Hassall, slathered in so much fake tan that she looks like permanently dirty 'Playschool' doll Hamble).

Cushing sends two men to bring Mower home and, before you know it, there’s a whole lot of donkey riding, a papier mache rock slide and a near seven minute orgy scene with a freakbeat soundtrack that is probably the best part of the film but does not appear in all the versions. Ultimately, busty vampire dispatched, Mower is returned to Oxford, only to prove publicly and bloodily that vampirism is not cured by simply a good talking to and a change of scenery…

Not a good film by any standards, one can only hope that the cast and crew enjoyed their holiday. Here's the best bit...


  1. It should be pointed out in its favour that Incense for the Damned has one of the best drug orgy sequences ever committed to film (think the disco drug scene from Danger Diabolik but with nylon underwear and toe wiggling). The wise and wonderful David McGillivray once told me that the reason why the film ended up in such a parlous final state was because they blew most of the budget on location filming in Greece leaving next to nothing for the actual story - hence the interminable expositionary sequence made up of flash forwards of the action and shots of the same jet liner taking off again and again. Thanks UW for reminding me of so many Friday nights wasted in front of this masterpiece. I shall go and lie down now.

  2. Great review of a mad and maddening film. Ah yes, those many post pub Fridays. Also Patrick Macnee is equally wasted as Cushing in this