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.