Stephen Romano’s RETRO 13 – Thirst


Hi, kids! I’m going to open this week with a terrible confession. Even as a card-carrying, dyed-in-the-wool professional horror fan, I’ve never been all that big on vampires. They’ve been done a lot. And when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, a LOT of these movies were just damn silly. Good thing we have those whacky Aussies to show us dumb Americans the error of our ways. Hence… Thirst! Scroll down to the end of this article to see my tribute to the 1979 film from Down Under, which is equal parts horror, science fiction and a rather original take on an ages-old mythology.

Stephen Romano's RETRO 13

This film and stuff like Cronos and Near Dark tend to be my favorites in the bloodsucking snaggletooth cinema sweepstakes—motion pictures which truly add something original and interesting to the genre. (Yeah, yeah, all you Fright Night fans, I hear ya—and all I can say is this: Comedies don’t really count in my book.)

Vampire films tend to be either too sexy or too self-conscious, and that can sabotage their better intentions. But Thirst strikes a really weird tone that is off-the-wall and even a little bit schizophrenic, not quite a Gothic horror film and not quite dystopian future-shock. My poster is designed in the mode of the former because I thought it might be fun to go especially retro this week, evoking the old Hammer films in a classic style. Chantal Contouri possesses such a striking, classical beauty—she was a natural for the centerpiece image.

And any excuse to paint HENRY SILVA is a good one, folks!

Silva is among my very favorite character actors in motion pictures and with good reason. He’s been in bloody well everything, and he’s super cool. So I’d like to take a second to dedicate this week’s Retro 13 to my main man and provide you with my TOP FIVE HENRY SILVA MOMENTS from his staggering body of work. He’s been in more than one hundred and thirty film and TV shows, but I love him best for the following, counting down to the top:

Henry Silva

5. Torturing Steven Seagal. Ever notice how Big Stevie is never at the mercy of anyone in his films? (He wouldn’t even let Danny Trejo kill him in Machete!) But don’t cast yourself opposite Henry fucking Silva unless you’re ready to go under the knife, man! That’s in Above The Law, where the greasy-skulled mumbler is set upon by Henry and almost done in with a needle. Seagal even screams like a girl: “Get that thing away from meeeee…” Cut and print the motherfucker.

Henry Silva

4. Eaten by the Biggest Damn Alligator You’ve Ever Seen. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Check out Lewis Teague’s Alligator, in which Henry play a big game hunter on safari in NYC, who bribes some street hoods with a couple of six-packs to follow him into a dark alley… umm, where he’s eaten by the biggest damn alligator you’ve ever seen. Amazing beyond belief, and one of the best monster movies of all time, featuring Robert Forester in one of his career-defining performances.

Henry Silva

3. “Bullshit or Not?” In Amazon Women on the Moon, Henry hosts a reality show that poses the question, “Was Jack the Ripper really the Loch Ness Monster?” Then he turns to the camera with a straight face and asks, quite sincerely: “Did I take this job for a quick buck?” We may never know the answer to these questions.

Henry Silva

2. Nobody Leans on Sharky’s Machine… Except BILLY SCORE. Henry’s drugge- out psycho-assassin in Burt Reynolds’ tough-as-nails mid-80s actioner Sharky’s Machine inspired every drugged-out psycho-assassin who ever came after him, ending with a jaw-dropping death scene that actually set a world record. No spoilers. Just SEE IT.

Henry Silva

1. LIKE A MEGAFORCE! Henry’s batshit-crazy turn as the campy bad guy in the absolutely immortal Hal Needham sci-fi action macho-super-hero demolition derby Megaforce is also one of the screen’s great villains. Because of ONE SCENE. When Henry finally meets hero commander Ace Hunter (Barry Bostwick channeling Roger Ramjet while dressed like the Bee Gees), these two guys love each other so much that it’s probably a genuine miracle the film didn’t end with thirty straight minutes of naked, sweaty, tonsil-sucking man-love. If you have not seen this movie, you have not lived life to the fullest, people. It’s on YouTube. Go swiftly!

And enjoy this week’s silly vampire poster!

Click here for the full-size image.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poster is intended as FAN ART only and is designed to be shared, for free, for anyone who wants to own it for themselves. Download it, share it, spread the horror! And come see me at my website for more fun.



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