Monday, November 7, 2011

Brides of Blood (1968) and Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)

If you are aware of exploitation movies from the Philippines, you are aware of the name Eddie Romero (no relations to George.) If you aren't: He was a director who found a niche in directing exploitation movies from the 60's to the 70's, then went on to do more "respectable" movies. Well, we aren't here to talk about the latter, we're here to talk about trash, and that's exactly what the "Blood Island" trilogy was-unapologetic exploitation made for drive-in's and Grindhouse theaters. Let's take a look at movies one and two in the trilogy (part three isn't really worth talking about IMO.)

First is "Brides of Blood", in which Jim Farrell (former teen heartthrob John Ashley), Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor) and his libido fueled wife Carla (Beverly Powers) have ended up on Blood Island. Here, man eating plants fill the jungles, and a monster created by radiation maims and rapes women who are offered as virgin sacrifices.

Though it suffers from some serious pacing issues, "Brides" is fun for what it is. This is a movie with cheap looking plants, one of the goofiest looking monsters of all time, and some minor gore and topless beauties. In fact, the thing that makes this (and it's sequel) so interesting is the fact that these are essentially 50's style monster movies that have fallen into the trappings of late 60's exploitation. The monster and plot elements are dated, but they manage to work thanks to it's seedier elements.

Meanwhile, "Mad Doctor of Blood Island" is a sequel in name only. Here, Dr. Bill Forester (Ashley again) ends up in Blood Island, where a monster created by Dr. Lorca (Ronald Remy) is slaughtering people in gruesome manners. Can the monster be stopped? What happened to the man-eating plants? Will Forester be able to nail Sheila Ward (Angelique Pettyjohn)? What's with the mother and son who seem to have an almost incestuous attachment?

I find "Mad Doctor" to be the best of the "Blood Island" movies. Here, the pacing is better, as the movie moves at a decent clip. Also, the exploitation elements have been ramped up, as we get more nudity, and more gore. Severed limbs, decapitation, mutilation and exposed innards are the name of the game here. Also, while "Brides" tends to get a bit talky, "Mad Doctor" is more dedicated to action and cheap thrills, which is a big plus. That out of the way, some of the camerawork is suspect, especially the zooming in and out that occurs whenever the monster attacks.

As a whole, I don't think you can call these good in the traditional sense. However, as far as trash is concerned, these are pretty fun, and serve as good introductions to the more horror related side to Filipino exploitation.


Brides: 7/10
Mad Doctor: 7.5/10
Now, without further adu, the monster from "Brides of Blood."

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