So, Wendigo: Is this a vampire film or not?
"I command you!" Is Peter Cushing the real Blood Sucker?
It depends on your definition of a vampire movie. In the loosest sense, Wendigo says it's obviously one, but some may disagree if they insist on a supernatural aspect to vampirism. The objection isn't necessarily justified, as modern blood fetishism is thematically akin to traditional vampirism. Also, Chriseis is obviously a vamp in the 20th century sense of the term, i.e. an evil seductress, whether she's a supernatural creature or not.
Blood Suckers (pronounced "Blood Suckas" for the American market) isn't without supernatural bits. Richard's prophecy is one example. One more mysterious instance that may key into traditional vampire myth involves a medallion Richard wears that Chriseis rips from his neck before ravishing him during one of her gang's revels. What the medallion's about isn't clear, but she reacts as if it's a holy symbol that she needs to get out of the way. In the film, Bob speaks for a supernatural interpretation of events, suggesting that Richard is still in danger back in Britain because Chriseis hasn't been properly destroyed. While Tony eventually seems to agree with Bob, the film still leaves room for doubt. Tony had earlier spoken to a psychologist (the late Edward Woodward) who explains vampirism in terms of deviant sexuality ("Sadomasochism is no laughing matter," he says). Chriseis may just have been a kinky lunatic, and Richard's issues with father-figure Walter and needy friends suggest some kind of Freudian explanation for his nuttiness. Because Chriseis is never shown to have any of the vampire's supernatural powers, Wendigo believes that the film itself leans away from her being a true vampire. But the ending with the stakes shows that the filmmakers want to leave the question open. In a way, it's horror enough that rational men like Bob and Tony now believe in vampires, whether their belief is justified or not.
As a film, Blood Suckers takes a while to warm up. The opening scenes are choppily edited and the director doesn't seem very good at dialogue scenes throughout the film, but he finds his footing when he has a chance to show some action. A scene in which Penelope is chased through a Greek town by a gang led by an old woman bent on misguided vengeance, and finally rescued by Bob, is really well done. It takes advantage, as the film does throughout, of great locations in both Greece and Britain. But Hartford-Davis's ability to handle action is undermined by some really poor effects works in a couple of scenes. In one, Penelope has a wine-induced vision of Richard in ceremonial robes being crushed by falling rocks at an ancient temple. In another, Chriseis fends off a pursuing Longbow by setting off a mini-avalanche of rocks that nearly knock him off a cliff. In both cases, Wendigo was annoyed by the plain fakeness of the prop rocks, which look factory-made and give little illusion of weight. The fact that the fake rocks fall in front of a rear-projected Richard makes the effect even more lousy.
Blood Suckers: good locations, lousy special effects.