You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Horrormeister Durston dies at 88

Multihyphenate wrote cult classic 'I Drink Your Blood'

Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88.

Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the no-holds-barred horror pic centered around Satan-worshipping hippies who become infected with rabies and go on a killing spree in a small town.

Born in Newcastle, Pa., Durston earned degrees in journalism and drama at Missouri U. before serving four years in the U.S. Air Force during WWII. It was there that he transitioned into entertainment; he was dispatched to New York to act in the USAF co-sponsored production of “Winged Victory” on Broadway. He reprised his “Winged Victory” role in George Cukor’s bigscreen version. While the pic was a success, Durston preferred writing and directing to acting.

He made a series of low-budgeters such as “The Love Statue,” which explored the effects of LSD on a group of Greenwich Village bohemians, and followed that up with “The Blue Sextet” (aka “Leap Into Hell”).

Durston also worked as a script doctor for such films as “Reflections,” which won the Golden Bear at Berlin, as well as “The Seduction of Inga.”

During his decades-long career, Durston wrote scripts for many ground-breaking TV shows including “Playhouse 90,” “Studio One,” “Danger,” and the sci-fi anthology “Tales of Tomorrow.”

He also produced the annual broadcast of Pasadena’s Rose Parade for four years.

He is survived by his nephew, actor Jack Damon.

More Film

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Black Panther' Powers Past $300 Million at International Box Office

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • AMERICA Land of the FreeKS

    Berlin Film Review: 'America: Land of the Freeks'

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • Shape of Water

    How ‘Game of Thrones’ Has an Emotional Connection to ‘Shape of Water’

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • Black Panther

    Box Office: 'Black Panther' Rules With $108 Million in Second Weekend

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • Guillermo del Toro To Open Cinema

    Guillermo del Toro to Open Cinema Named after Him at Guadalajara Fest (EXCLUSIVE)

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • 'Lemonade' Review: A Quietly Seething Romanian

    Berlin Film Review: 'Lemonade'

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

  • Cinema Audio Society 2018 Winners: 'Dunkirk,'

    'Dunkirk,' 'Game of Thrones' Win Cinema Audio Society Awards for Sound Mixing

    Writer-director David Durston, best known for helming the cult classic film “I Drink Your Blood” and producing NBC’s “Your Hit Parade,” died May 6 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 88. Inspired by Charles Manson’s “family,” Durston created “Blood” in 1970, when it was a hit at drive-in theaters. Commissioned by Jerry Gross, the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content