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Image Entertainment presents

Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970)

"All they think about is food. It's taken years for Man to enter the confines of another solar system, and they attach a catastrophic importance to a meal."- Dr. Rynning (John Carradine)

Stars: John Carradine, Robert Dix, Vicki Volante
Other Stars: Britt Semand, Joey Benson, Jennifer Bishop, Bruce Powers
Director: Al Adamson

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: PG for (mild violence, mild sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:25m:11s
Release Date: 2002-07-09
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-C+C+ A-


DVD Review

You had to be there. Generally, that phrase is used when it's assumed that you just won't "get" something unless you experienced it in person. This film certainly fits that bill. In the early 1970s, cult king Al Adamson's Horror of the Blood Monsters was a drive-in staple, and in those days it was enjoyed as the weird, hammy sci-fi exploitation film that it is; a perfect example of the kind of mindless entertainment that populated many big outdoor screens of that time. A tacky collection of stock footage from a number of films, including a 1965 Philippine caveman/monster movie called Tagani, Horror of the Blood Monsters had the distinction of being on the scale of Plan 9 From Outer Space, in terms of overall goofiness.

Originally shot in 1966, Adamson and producer Sam Sherman (who provides an amazing commentary track on this disc) retooled Horror of the Blood Monsters in 1970, adding the Philippine footage, in addition to a number of newly written scenes to provide explanation for the film's Spectrum-X tinting. The tinting (in varying shades of red, orange, green or blue) was necessary because Tagani was shot in black & white, and the rest of Adamson's original footage was in color; tinting, or "chromatic radiation" as it's referred to in the film, created an awkward plot point that supposedly allowed the disparate footage to be edited together smoothly.

The plot is pure nonsense. Who cares, really? This is funny stuff. A completely unrelated vampire opening sequence, added strictly to give the film more original color footage, features a laughable narration by Brother Theodore, doing his best Lugosi imitation. Then, it's time for the real story to kick in. John Carradine is Dr. Rynning, a crabby old scientist who is leading a team of cocky young astronaut/scientists to a new solar system, one that he himself discovered. Their ship, the XB-13, encounters a dreaded "solar disturbance," which forces them to crash land on a planet that is conveniently very much like Earth (except for that red tint, that is).

It's on this distant planet that Adamson intercuts the footage from Tagani (here tinted an assortment of colors), and shows a number of fights between the good tribe and the bad tribe, who have snakes growing out their necks. Add in some Claw Men, Bat Men and giant lizards (all from Tagani), and Adamson only has to string together a barely comprehensible story made up mostly of reaction shots from his original cast. Jennifer Bishop is cavegirl Lian Malian, who is supposed to act as some sort of crossover between the Tagani footage and Adamson's, and the fact that she is wearing a white swimsuit (certainly not standard issue cavegirl fashion) doesn't seem to bother anyone.

Horror of the Blood Monsters is one of those goofy films that is hard not to laugh out loud at, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you saw it at the drive-in, you know what I'm talking about.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Image has issued Horror of the Blood Monsters in 1.33:1 full-frame. Colors (when not part of the Spectrum-X tinting process) tend to bleed, and appear very over-saturated at times. The source print has seen better days, but considering it's low-budget roots this is probably its finest hour. Still plenty of nicks, sprocket holes, and scratches to be found here, though.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The mono track is generally clear, but has a fair amount of hiss and occasional crackle present. Not the worst B-movie mono track I've ever heard, but far from one of the better ones.Strictly average.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+ 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
8 Other Trailer(s) featuring Tagani, Mad Doctor Of Blood Island, Brides Of Blood, Beast Of Blood, Brain Of Blood, Blood Of The Vampires, The Blood Drinkers, House Of Horror
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Sam Sherman
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: B-movie fans will find much to enjoy with Independent-International Pictures president Sam Sherman's scene-specific commentary. Sherman delivers a steady stream of inside production information, all the while openly admitting and poking fun at the film itself, even referring to some of the footage as "nonsense." He sets the record straight on "the why, how and wherefores" of the film's infamous Spectrum-X tinting, and in general uncorks with a very informative history of one of the quirkier low-budget sci-fi flicks of the 1970s. This is one of those entertaining commentary tracks that you hate to see (hear?) end, and Sherman is obviously well-versed, from a personal level, in not just the background of this film, but the B-movie industry, too.

Also included are a number of B-movie previews (Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Brides of Blood, Beast of Blood, Brain of Blood, Blood of the Vampires, The Blood Drinkers, House of Horror promo), a trailer for the Philippine film Tagani (much of Horror of the Blood Monster's footage came from this film), as well as a theatrical trailer for the feature.

The disc is split into 12 chapters.

Extras Grade: A-

Final Comments

Certainly one of the more infamously hokey drive-in flicks of the early 1970s, Al Adamson's Horror of the Blood Monsters is probably best known for its nonsensical plot and sloppy inclusion of stock footage from a 1965 Philippine caveman movie.

While the film, in all of its brain-numbing glory, is included here, the highlight is easily the commentary track from Independent-International Pictures president Sam Sherman. The commentary alone makes this a recommended purchase for 1970s B-movie sci-fi fans.

Horror of the Blood Monsters still provides plenty of laughs today, even without the help of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo.

Rich Rosell 2002-09-11