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Image Entertainment presents
Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1969)

"I hope you will forgive my rudeness, but I have a small crisis. I fear I have mislaid one of my patients. I'll find him. This is a small island."
- Dr. Lorca (Ronald Remy)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: November 03, 2002

Stars: John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn
Other Stars: Ronald Remy, Alicia Alonzo, Alfonso Carvajal, Tony Edmunds, Ronaldo Valdez
Director: Gerardo DeLeon and Eddie Romero

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, gore, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:29m:15s
Release Date: September 24, 2002
UPC: 014381146660
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B-B-B- B-

DVD Review

Made as part of Hemisphere Pictures infamous Philippine-made "Blood" films, this 1969 entry from directors Gerardo DeLeon and Eddie Romero (this is really Romero's picture, despite the billing) is generally regarded as one of the better in the series. Mad Doctor of Blood Island falls smack between Romero's Brides of Blood (1968) and his Beast of Blood (1970), and though part of a cleverly marketed set, the films actually bear very little in common in terms of a continuing story, despite the appearance of John Ashley as the lead in all three (though as a different character each time). These films were better than average drive-in horror material, and it is there that they really found an audience and actually flourished.

This time around it's Ashley starring as Bill Foster, a "doctor of sorts" who ventures to the mysterious title island, along with well-endowed American Sheila (Angelique Pettyjohn), who is in search of her estranged alcoholic doctor father Mr. Willard (Tony Edmunds). Also along for the journey is Carlos (Ronaldo Valdez), returning back to his former homeland of Blood Island in order to retrieve his mother after the mysterious death (hello, foreshadowing!) of his father. The presence of the weird Dr. Lorca (Ronald Remy), and his equally weird experiments, throws a monkey-wrench into all of their plans. When a few of the islanders fall victim to a rumored monster, all fingers point back to Lorca, and justifiably so.

Remy's Lorca is another in a long line of wonderfully evil movie doctors whose only apparent crime is trying a little too hard to help humanity. Lorca's unorthodox experiments with chlorophyll have predictably disastrous results, including a laughable green-blooded "monster" whose face resembles a bowl of melted candle wax. Remy is charismatic, slick as the white-gloved doctor with the really dark sunglasses, and he is certainly one of the reasons to seek out this film.

Romero follows all of the tried-and-true B-movie formula elements, and a film like Mad Doctor of Blood Island is all about unadulterated drive-in camp. Even the appearance of the monster is dolled up with a silly zoom-in/zoom-out effect that he is not shy about using to excess, and it is little touches like that earmark a film like this as simple, mindless drive-in escapism. Romero delivers a steady dose of naked, nubile native girls, a decent amount of gore, and of course eventually nude Angelique Pettyjohn in an array of tight, low-cut outfits, as sort of an ultrasexed-Ginger from Gilligan's Island. The connectivity to the other films in the series is tenuous at best, with Blood Island and the mysterious "Evil One" being the main thread, though as expected, the continuity is a bit loose.

This release from Image lovingly reinstates the long-lost Green Blood Prologue, which played before the film when it ran theatrically. Filmgoers received a vial of "green blood" (colored water), and were instructed to drink it, along with the lily-white group of onscreen "teenagers," as protection from the dreaded Evil One. That's the kind of fun, exploitative marketing that is sadly a long lost art, and the inclusion of it here just makes Mad Doctor of Blood Island that more of a nostalgic good time.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: This new DVD release of Mad Doctor of Blood Island, presented here by Image in 1.33:1 full-frame, is a dramatically huge improvement over earlier VHS incarnations, which were generally quite dismal and dark. Image detail is improved greatly, and though colors are not overly bright, they do look decent enough for what is basically a tacky, late 1960s drive-in horror film. There is some visible color flicker at times, largely at scene changes, as well as a noticeable amount of specking.

Even with some of the more apparent source print flaws, this will likely be as good as Eddie Romero's island classic will ever look.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is typical Dolby Digital English mono, largely unremarkable but perfectly serviceable in presentation. Dialogue is clear, despite a faint low-level hum evident during a few scenes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Brides Of Blood, Beast Of Blood, Brain Of Blood, Blood Of The Vampires, The Blood Drinkers, Raiders Of The Living Dead
Production Notes
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Sam Sherman
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Stills Gallery
  2. The House Of Terror Horror Show Promo
  3. Mad Doctor Of Blood Island Essay by Christopher William Koenig
Extras Review: Producer Sam Sherman, who has been really busy delivering history-rich commentaries on a number of these drive-in horror re-releases (his track on Horror of the Blood Monsters is an absolute treat), comes up a little short on this disc. The commentary clocks in at a scant 50m:07s, and I was extremely disappointed when he signed off, especially considering how effusive he was during the preceding three-quarters of an hour. Sherman is just full of great tidbits on the production of these films that I can't believe he couldn't muster another 35 minutes of remembrances. What's here, however, is good, historical stuff, and it's pretty clear that Sherman holds Mad Doctor of Blood Island in high esteem; he still even sticks up for the use of the goofy zoom-in/zoom-out camera effects during the scenes with the Evil One.

The Interview Documentary With Director Eddie Romero (17m:12s), shot in 2001, more than makes up for the truncated Sherman commentary. Romero recounts his entire career (a fascinating one at that) and like Sherman, he shares a warm fondness for this entry in the Blood series.

An eight-screen article, entitled Mad Doctor of Blood Island Essay by Christopher William Koenig, fills a few more historical cracks that Sherman or Romero might have glossed over, and a two-page insert written by Scary Monster's Jim Arena is an equally well-written bit of nostalgia about not only Mad Doctor of Blood Island, but of the whole Hemisphere Pictures experience.

Also included are an automated Stills Gallery, consisting of about 25 images, a full set of Blood trailers (Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Brides of Blood, Beast of Blood, Brain of Blood, Blood of the Vampires, The Blood Drinkers, Raiders of the Living Dead), as well as the overblown come-ons from The House of Terror Horror Show Promo trailer.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Released as part of Image's Blood Collection, Mad Doctor of Blood Island is arguably one of the better in the series, if for nothing but a genre-worthy performance from the great Ronald Remy as the evil Dr. Lorca.



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