DVD Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Disc Grade: A-
  • Reviewed Format: DVD
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Stars: Kent Taylor, John Ashley, Beverly Hills, Eva Darren
  • Writer: n/a
  • Directors: Gerardo DeLeon & Eddie Romero
  • Distributor: Image Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: 1968
  • Retail Price: $19.99
  • Extras: commentary; trailers; interview; essay; galleries


A marriage made in red

By ANDREW HERSHBERGER     July 16, 2003

Rubber monsters unleashed on nubile topless native girls may be the main drawing force to this Hemisphere Entertainment Philippines-shot classic, but once inside the viewer may be stunned to discover an enjoyable nuclear scare film that boasts good acting, a well written script and rather impressive direction.

Peace Corps worker Jim Farrell (John Ashley), Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor) and Henderson's nymphomaniac wife Carla (Beverly Hills a.k.a. Beverly Powers) arrive at Blood Island at the most inopportune time. Seems that the natives have reverted to their primitive ways and have been conducting lotteries to decide which of their lovely young women is to be stripped of their clothing and given as a sacrifice to the local monster (a creature that looks like BASKET CASE's Belial with legs). In the meantime, lingering radiation has been affecting the local plant and animal life, causing them to transform at certain points into deadly monsters that can strangle, bite and slap upside the head all who dare come near. Nothing is quite as it seems on this Blood Island (who the hell named this place anyway?) and with all this were-plant/were-butterfly crap going on, who knows what crazy things will happen?

BRIDES OF BLOOD will thrill anyone looking for a choice '60s rubber monster movie. Featuring a story in the E.C. Comics vein (E.C. published TALES FROM THE CRYPT for those who'd like a reference), the film manages to maintain a strong sense of dread (that is, at least, till the tacked on "love dance" sequence) and provide interesting characters the three leads, Kent Taylor (THE MIGHTY GORGA), John Ashley (BEACH BLANKET BINGO) and Beverly Powers (SPEEDWAY) all do commendable jobs, particularly Ashley as the hero. We also get yet another monster resulting from a ludicrous side effect of radiation! This is also the first part of the John Ashley "Blood Island" trilogy with MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND and BEAST OF BLOOD following.

Released as part of Image Entertainment's "Blood Collection," BRIDES OF BLOOD is presented fullscreen and has been restored to the original version. The print quality is a bit rough, with scratches/debris showing up from time to time and the color quality is a bit faded, particularly in some of the night and darker scenes. The sound is all right, with an expected level of hiss for a release of this type (semi-obscure cult title from a small distribution company).

There are plenty of extras on this rather generous disc. First off is an interview with co-director Eddie Romero that will have film buffs rewinding constantly to make out what he is saying. When BRIDES OF BLOOD was released in the theater there was a promotional gimmick where unmarried women were given really crappy fake rings; a promo advertising this is on the disc. Whatever the hell the "House of Terror" was/is, there is a rare promo for it here. If like me you have no clue who Christopher William Koenig is, you'll be perplexed as to why there is any essay on BRIDES OF BLOOD by him that consists mostly of his attempts to locate a good video dupe of the film in the past (but having no luck). Even more interesting, the article starts out with a wistful remembrance of all things Drive-In only to reveal later on that Koenig is an '80s child who never could have been to a Drive-In in their heyday. What gives!? In one of the most bizarre review quotes I've seen, Harrison Ray, of no less a prestigious source than the Internet Movie Database, is featured on the box. Who is Harrison Ray? Why, he is the only person to offer a review of BRIDES OF BLOOD on IMDB as of the date of this disc's release...

It's trailers galore on this DVD with the theme being blood. You'll get MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND (v/o by Brother Theodore), BEAST OF BLOOD, Al Adamson's BRAIN OF BLOOD (like the way that reads), BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRES, THE BLOOD DRINKERS and RAIDERS OF THE LIVING DEAD (featuring Scott Schwartz of both THE TOY and NEW WAVE HOOKERS 5 fame... I wonder what THE TOY is about.) Of all the surprises, there is a trailer for BRIDES OF BLOOD on the disc as well.

Sexy Beverly Hills/Powers gets a pin-up gallery featuring some mild cheesecake shots. There is also a gallery of artwork and stills from the various "Blood" features. In fact, one of the only extras the disc doesn't boast is a writer's credit for BRIDES OF BLOOD - who scribbled this masterpiece?

Best of all the extras is the audio commentary by Sam Sherman, which is one of those rare sequel commentary tracks as it's part two of the history of Hemisphere Pictures (part one was on THE BLOOD DRINKERS disc). Sherman doesn't really talk too much about BRIDES OF BLOOD as a film, concentrating more on the publicity behind the film, especially the publicity he had a hand in. Regardless, Sherman has proved himself a rather entertaining and informative speaker, particularly in regards to his films with Al Adamson, and even when he talks for only 46 minutes, like he does here, his commentary tracks still warrant a listen. Some would even say they're worth seeking out... some.

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