BRIDES OF BLOOD
The Blood Island films kept up a formula that Filipino co-directors Geraldo de Leon and Eddie Romero had hit on with their earlier Terror is a Man (1959), which in itself was an uncredited remake of H.G. Wellss The Island of Dr Moreau (1896). These involved American visitors (usually an imported name actor and actress) arriving on a tropical island and coming up against a mad scientist who was creating monsters and hideous mutations in a jungle laboratory. There was a good deal of gore and splatter, along with much toplessness from the various actresses as they were attacked by/sacrificed to the cheesy-looking monster.
Brides of Blood was one of the earliest of the Filipino horror films and as such the formula of the series that was perfected by the subsequent films is still being discovered. Nevertheless there is a great scene about five minutes in where Beverly Hills as Kent Taylors blonde wife is taunted by a surly bare-chested cabin boy on the ship journey, only to then be dragged into a cabin by him, her top ripped open and she forcibly kissed, which she then starts to enjoy and respond to. This is the essence of the Blood Island films, which are like the perfect incarnations of a lurid pulp cover novel with a barely clad blonde girl being dragged away either by monsters or natives with all the mix of outrage and excitement that such an image is intended to arouse. Brides of Blood also manages to wind in the atomic monster theme that was all the thing in genre cinema a decade earlier, although had died away by the early 1960s, with the explanation of the monster being created by atomic radiation (from atomic tests in the Pacific) although this is the only time that atomic monsters would appear in any of the Filipino horror films with all others opting for mad scientists as the raison detre.
Beneath the film is some appalling colonial and racial attitudes ones that regard white people as the norm and the natives as more raw and primitive in their instincts (something that clearly excites the blonde woman). The white people have a condescending attitude to the natives John Ashley walks in with the Peace Corps superiority of the 1960s, helping them to become more civilised; Beverly Hills wife spends most of her time expressing distaste at life in the village and wanting her creature comforts; while elsewhere scientist Mario Montenegro is seen whipping his native dwarf servant. The natives are seen as representing a sexual openness the aforementioned opening scene where the cabin boy forces himself on sex-starved Beverly Hills, a surprisingly sensual extended dance sequence later on, while the monster is representative of perverse sexuality with women being given to it to use and abuse. In other words, the film seems to be tapping into the motifs that lay under Terror is a Man and in particular the earlier Hollywood-made Dr Moreau adaptation The Island of Lost Souls (1932) where the island is a borderland zone between civilisation and the wild. Here this is given an expressly 1960s sexuality and seen a place where lusts emerge more freely and openly than they do in civilisation.
Aside from the opening scene though, Brides of Blood is one of the more routine Blood Island films, lacking the lurid sensationalism that Eddie Romero and Gerardo De Leon would find with Mad Doctor. Everything about the show is sedate and slow-paced. Finally, about the 35-minute point, we get the monster and a scene where two women are tied up as sacrifices and (naturally) stripped topless. The full version of the monster when seen looks ridiculous.
Outside of the Blood Island series, producer Eddie Romero directed several other Filipino horror efforts such as Terror is a Man (1959), The Beast of the Yellow Night (1971), Beyond Atlantis (1973), The Twilight People (1973) and The Woman Hunt (1973). The amazing story of the Filipino exploitation phenomenon is told in the documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010).
Full film available online here:-