Saturday, 23 October 2010


In the right mood, I'm quite fond of a series of US/Phillipines co-production, particularly this one, which usually have blood in the title and are sometimes even related like Mad Doctor of Blood Island which I've recently ordered. But Brides of Blood (1968) in particular is big fun. They're made cheaply enough, a fading/aging star as lead, with a handful of American actors in the other major roles, the rest done by Phillipino cast and crew. The director is Eddie Romero, a national treasure (if you're a Phillipino) and legend in his homeland and this is one of his earlier works.

Basically an aging American scientists (Kent Taylor) comes to Blood Island to do some scientific research. He's brought along his younger sluttish wife (Beverly Hills aka Beverley Powers, who is damn sexy) who has a quickie with a rough trade sailor before they've disembarked.
Also along is John Ashley as the young male lead here to help the primitive people with social projects like irrigation.What they find is that plant and insect life are prone to sudden  mutation which sometimes just abruptly reverses itself which is all a result of nuclear testing a few hundred miles away. So we get lots of dangerous plants with wobbly rattling branches and lumpen roots just waiting for someone to grab and turn and wrap them around themselves as if they were actually moving. To be fair, this is quite effective.

They soon learn that there's a monster on the island and the islanders are sacrificing, by means of a lottery, the local virgins to appease its hunger. This means the population is on a rapid downward spiral as it's a small island with a small and getting rapidly smaller population. So the sacrifices are pretty stupid really but at least the monster doesn't wreck the village as it passes through on its way to the sacrificial area where the girls are tied up after having their tops riffed off to entertain the viewer, I mean to make it easier to get at the meat. The headman has a nubile daughter who speaks English and the young male lead isn't exactly immune to her charms. And who can blame him?
This still is taken from the ritual courting dance (at the end of the movie after....) where the soon to be ex-virgins dance to entice their chosen mate. Towards the end the headman's daughter gets up and couldn't make her intentions more plain if she had a neon sign above her head saying "Shag me! Now!", though it takes the young male lead a little while to get the message before he finally stands up and she drags him into the bushes. Literally.

But you aren't interest in that soppy rubbish, you want to know about the monster. Well it so happens there's an old mansion on the hill where lives an educated and handsome Spanish type aged between the young and old leads (and you just know can't be totally kosher as he has a sinister manservant  and load of midgets to do the housework) and whom Beverly gets the hots for. This is a mistake as every night he turns green, toothy, and carnivorous.

There are various exciting bits with man-hungry plants (as opposed to man-hungry Beverley), the monster, chasing the young lead when he rescues her above before she can be eaten by the monster, and stuff like that. This is the movie that the word cult was created for.

Just recently, and as a result of my foray into the world of Rareflix, I came across another Eddie Romero film -Beast of the Yellow Night (1971)- as part of a Grindhouse double with Keep My Grave Open (1976).

John Ashley from Brides is the lead here. The idea is interesting but not much happens with it. Satan sort of  saves an American murderer (living in the Phillipines, as if it would be set anywhere else) from the police and has him inhabit the bodies of decent people and corrupt them at which point he moves on to someone else. Twenty years later he's given the body of an American businessman whose face was blown thereby enabling Ashley to have his own face restored.

Much to Satan's annoyance he begins to fall in love with his new wife and to start having regrets about his previous evil deeds so Satan has him change periodically into the Beast of the title. I don't, however, know what a Yellow Night has to do with anything as it's never mentioned once. Needless to say, it all ends badly and with a face like this it's no surprise.

Keep My Grave Open is an interesting little curio. Someone in a big house appears to be murdering intruders, or anyone they dislike, with a sword. Now there are only two people living there, a brother and sister, but we only ever see the sister -the lead played by Camilla Carr- who is as batty as a fruit cake.

Aha, thinks the perceptive horror fan -in this case, your humble writer- there is no brother! (Did you hear the rumble of thunder at the end of that sentence?) Or he's dead and she killed him because she is the murderer!

That he's not around at the very least appears to be born out when she puts on makeup and offers herself to him for sex. We seen no sign of him, though the camera takes what would be his point of view. Fruitcake, murderer, right?

She has a young handyman and a girl comes round pestering him at work for sex. Once night she comes round and the madperson with a sword kills her. A few scenes later, just after the sort of sex scene, the handyman calls and it appears the sister is trying to seduce him. What happens is, wearing the clothes of the killer, she kills him. With the sword. Now, totally bananas, she lures a prostitute, whom the handyman had sex with, to the house to have sex with her brother just in case he'd told her anything. She then appears, dressed as her brother and, after a long stalk and chase during which she gets slashed in the arm, she manages to kill the woman who tried to hide in a station wagon where the sister had stored the bodies.

She calls her shrink, gives him her will, and takes an overdose. Only two people attend the funeral. And that is it.

Hold it! Where do you think you're going? I only thought that was it. After the mourners have gone, the brother appears and makes a few comments before going to the house, picks up a spade and, looking at the bodies, says, "Well you could have buried them for me."

Da dum! I didn't see that one coming and I had to rethink the whole movie. So he killed the first... And he did have... And he was...

Neat little twist. Better movie than I expected. Reasonably okay print unlike Beast which was fucking terrible. That's all folks.

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