Image Entertainment presents
Brides of Blood: SE (1968)
"We have gone back to primitive ways. For this, we are not proud."- Arcadio (Andres Centenera)
Stars: Kent Taylor, John Ashley, Beverly Hills
Other Stars: Eva Darren, Mario Montenegro
Director: Gerardo DeLeon and Eddie Romero
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some violence and mild gore, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:37m:00s
Release Date: 2002-09-24
DVD ReviewIt would seem like an interesting vacation: traveling to an exotic island, meeting interesting, tribal peoples, and seeing some sights. Unfortunately, when your vacation is booked at Blood Island, you'll have to contend with giant, biting butterflies, mean-spirited trees, paranoid natives, and a giant, rubbery, blob-like monster who loves ripping apart young girls. Such is the confusing bit of terror that our cast of characters has wandered into in Brides of Blood, a very entertaining and twisted piece of cinema. Although it's a B-movie through-and-through, this creepy little yarn comes across as hilariously earnest, thanks to a dead serious cast and direction that, surprisingly enough, conquers some weak special effects and a lacking budget.
Stars Kent Taylor, John Ashley (Beach Blanket Bingo, High School Caesar, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini), and Beverly "Hills" Powers, decide to travel to Blood Island as Peace Corps volunteers to provide the natives with irrigated crops, medicine, and a schoolhouse. Right as they arrive, however, the procession of a funeral (in which the body is in pieces) leads them to suspect something is not quite right on the island. As they settle in, they encounter Estaban Powers, a mysterious and seemingly wealthy local plantation owner who lives shuttered away in an expensive manor with a mass of dwarf servants. Already convinced the island can't get any weirder, they discover a mutated crab as well as some rather nasty foliage which convinces them that radiation poisoning has caused new forms of life to sprout up in the jungles of Blood Island. Their fears are confirmed when they learn of a tribal lottery in which girls are selected to be sacrificed to "Evil One", a strange creature that wanders the night, prowling for female victims.
Atmospheric and often heavy-handed, Brides of Blood is quite sleazy and tawdry at times (the girls must be stripped nude to be sacrificed, of course), but is so confusingly odd that it works. The two biggest problems are the laughable "Evil One" monster (who is simply a patchwork of latex appendages that looks like a melted chocolate drop) and actress Beverly Hills who, while fulfilling her role as a buxom pin-up figure required of a typical B-style female lead, is also one of the most awful performers I've ever seen. Her dialogue delivery is barely better than reading off cue cards after taking 3 doses of Ny-Quil, though she can scream reasonably well. Beyond those serious problems, the charming nature of the movie really grabbed me and made me want to see how it all turns out because, while often unintentionally funny, the atmosphere does work. Especially unnerving is the wild screaming and breathing that accompanies the Evil One as he stalks the night but is, thankfully, rarely heard. The pacing is also completely lacking in those awkward, all-dialogue moments many of the low-budget horror films use to pad out the time.
Despite said low budget, the setting is surprisingly effective, complete with a small, Filipino village in which most of the terror strikes. Believe it or not, this goes a long way to adding some much needed credibility to this whole affair. There's little in the way of technical ineptitude, although many of the sequences with the attacking plants (including an impressive, large-scale scene in which a whole tree takes on half the village) have visible strings, on which random crew members were undoubtedly tugging. The film's most laughable moment, which kills all tension or potential terror, involves a giant butterfly on a totally obvious wire as it intimidates our trusted heroes. Still, the passion to make a disturbing and creepy film manages to poke through the flaws just enough that Brides of Blood is extremely enjoyable and fun to watch. It's the kind of "good bad" movie that makes perfect curl-up-and-eat-popcorn fodder.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Despite some source print damage and general age issues, the image looks rather nice, with a surprisingly deep color palette, which fits the jungle setting quite well. Although there are some serious areas that have scratches and holes, the print is well put together from the myriad of other cuts and different versions floating about. The original opening credits are restored, and the film is uncut.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is 2-channel mono and, according to the liner notes, is a restored copy of the original magnetic audio from the film. While mono obviously isn't going to give you a major sound experience, for a film this old and generally not well cared for in its many cuts, the audio is extremely sharp and solid with little in the way of unnatural distortion.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Beast of Blood, Brain Of Blood, Blood Of The Vampires, The Blood Drinkers, Raiders of the Living Dead
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Hemisphere Pictures producer Sam Sherman
- Still Photo Gallery
- Beverly Hills "pin-up" gallery
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsBrides of Blood is definitely one of the better of the horror/exploitation B-movies from the late 1960s, and is pure drive-in era entertainment. While obviously made solely to profit on the gory monster craze of the day, it's technically well made and holds its own against many other similar projects.
Dan Lopez 2002-10-14