Plot: What’s it about?
The reports from the infamous Blood Island reveal strange mutations in the plant and animal populace, due to the atomic testing once done in the region. In order to uncover the truth about these events, Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor), his wife Carla (Beverly Hills), and U.S. government worker Jim Farrell (John Ashley) venture to the island to stage a full scale investigation. The trio witnesses all sorts of unusual happenings, but reassurance from a local leader satisfy them for the time, though not for the entire visit. The island is home to all kinds of mutations and what not, like carnivorous insects and more importantly, a creature known as The Evil One, which all the natives serve with total obedience. It seems The Evil One demands virgin sacrifices and if that isn’t done, the wrath that follows could demolish the entire island, it would seem. Soon, Farrell finds himself in love with a young native girl and when she is chosen to be the next sacrifice, he steps in and rescues her, which means serious trouble is soon to arrive. Can the natives stand up to The Evil One, or will it dominate Blood Island forever?
This is what bad drive-in cinema was all about, a low budget horror movie with a hideous monster, lush visuals, and of course, tons of beautiful women. In truth, Brides of Blood turns out to be a pretty effective movie in terms of atmosphere and tension, thanks to some good nighttime visuals and an eerie, well executed storyline. This plot won’t compete with more mainstream offerings, but for what it is, this is good stuff and because of it, Brides of Blood is a few steps above most drive-in schlock from this period. But what would a horror movie be without a monster and in this case, we have a radioactive creature that is a sight to behold, a sort of Stay-Puft marshmallow man wearing a tiki mask, if you can visualize that. I know it doesn’t sound too effective, but within the context of the storyline, the beast is believable and it commands the screen, especially when the backstory begins to unfold. I like how the monster’s past is structured and how it weaves into the main plot, very well done and it enhances the movie quite a lot. But Citizen Kane this isn’t, so don’t expect good by the normal standards, instead expect an upper tier bad movie, one that delivers, but in true low budget schlock fashion. I think this will be of interest to anyone who likes monster movies, but especially B movie nuts and bad movie lovers.
Video: How does it look?
Brides of Blood is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an open matte edition. This is a very low budget movie from 1968 and it shows, but this is still a good looking presentation, given the material involved. A few scenes have a lot of grain present, but most of the print is clean aside from some minor nicks & marks, which is good news. The colors haven’t faded much and come across well, while contrast is strong for the most part, with only a handful of scenes to diminish its record here. So this is not a reference level effort, but I doubt this material could yield much better, so I think Image has done some good work here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The mono soundtrack found here is a little rough around the edges, but when you think about its age & low budget roots, it starts to sound more than acceptable. The usual mono problems aren’t too present here, with minimal hiss and infrequent pops & distortion, so while not pristine, the elements have battled time to some extent. The music is about as good as can expected, while sound effects are thin and tinny, but again, this is pretty much the best it can all sound. I had no complaints with dialogue however, as vocals seemed to be clean and well presented, without any volume balance issues to contend with.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Sam Sherman’s audio commentary leads off the supplements and while he isn’t too informative, he does provide some details about the series, the Hemisphere production studio, and some tidbits on cast & crew members. This disc also includes an interview with Eddie Romero, a look at one of the film’s promotional pushes, a selection of still photos, a gallery of Beverly Hills’ photos, and the film’s theatrical trailer.