Friday, October 20, 2006

BRIDES OF BLOOD (1968) film review

Review by Patrick of Repulsive Cinema!

A boat comes to shore at a remote island somewhere in Asia. The passengers onboard are a respected scientist, Dr. Paul Henderson, his wife, Carla Henderson and his assistant Jim Farrell. They have come to research the local plant life and to help out the villagers with charitable work. As they are about to go ashore, the captain warns them about entering the island, telling them, no one ever visits Blood Island. But they refuse to turn back now. When the group comes on land on the island they are met by a group of people carrying a blood stained blanket towards the sea. One of the carriers slips and drops the blanket, and out of it fall a severed head and foot. The ghastly sight shocks the three newcomers, and when asking the chief of the village for the cause of death, he just changes the subject after telling them it was an accident. But it doesn’t take long before the chief tells them that they should have gone back, the island which was a paradise before, has changed. “We have gone back to primitive ways” he tells them, before leaving them with even more unanswered questions. But Jim and the Doctor manages to forget their questions and do what they came for. However even more strange things begin to occur; a premature sunset, the finding of a huge abnormal land crab in the jungle, and the villagers acting more and more queer. And even the jungle itself comes to life! As if that wasn’t enough, the group is met by a big brutish man, Goro, in the jungle. He wants to take them to the Islands wealthiest man, Esteban Powers, for dinner. When the group arrives at the estate of Powers, they soon start to discuss the weird things happening on the Island. Doctor Henderson mentions an atomic bomb test during the 40s and tells Powers that this is the reason for his coming to the island, and he believes that the strange phenomenon they have witnessed is a direct result of the tests. Powers claims that the island was in the safe zone and still is for both human and animal life. But when the trio leave Powers’ house they stumble upon a disturbing, ancient ritual. Now it seems as the weird occurrences on the island is turning into a horrible nightmare of human sacrifice and a fight for survival…

Brides of Blood is the first entry in the infamous Blood Island series, and this is perhaps the best of the three films featured in telling the tale of horror taking place on the Island. We get to meet John Ashley, who’ll be your guide to Blood Island in two more films, although as a different character, and we get introduced to Goro, who’ll be the evil henchman through the series, also as another character. The acting is as good as you can expect from a Pilipino horror film from the late 60s, but John Ashley does a more than decent job. The music in the film and the lighting helps the movie to become very atmospheric and sometimes even frightening. There is plentiful of cheesy gore effects, creepy branches, cool monster makeup and even some nudity for you to feast your eyes upon in the film. Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero made something magical with this first trip to the infamous island, and there is something special about Brides of Blood, not apparent in the next two films. I guess I made it pretty clear that this first trip to the island is highly recommended, so get moving and pick up this one, because it’s pure gold!!