31 Days of Horror: #16 – A Drive-In Double Feature of Filipino Awesomeness! Brides of Blood & Beast of the Yellow Night
Your daily bitesized guide to the films you should be watching this Halloween season…Brides of Blood (1968)
Directed by Eddie Romero, Gerardo de Leon
Written by Cesar Amigo
Starring Kent Taylor, Beverly Powers, John Ashley, Eva Darren
If the nature of this double bill appeals to you then you owe it to yourself to check out Mark Hartley’s documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed, which lovingly details how cheap labour, exotic locations and non-existent health and safety regulations converted the Philippines into a haven for genre filmmaking. One Filipino native who was soon to establish himself as a filmmaking legend in the country was Eddie Romero, whose most notable works included The Twilight People and Black Mama White Mama.
Shot in ’68, Brides of Blood formed part of Romero’s Blood series of films that followed on from Mad Doctor of Blood Island. Here, Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor – a veteran of 30s and 40s B-pictures) and his wife Carla head to Blood Island to conduct some atomic research. The radiation on the island, however, has caused the plants to mutate into bloodthirsty carnivores, and before long the lives of our ill-matched couple are plunged into danger. Brides of Blood is a perfect introduction to Eddie Romero and is a crazy, campy thrill-ride of cinematic excess, with guys in monster suits, garish colours and a batshit crazy storyline.
Written & Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Mary Charlotte Wilcox, Leopoldo Salcedo, Eddie Garcia
Brides of Blood is certainly one of Eddie Romero’s more commercial successes, but pairing it with Beast of the Yellow Night provides the perfect opportunity to discover one of his lesser known pictures.
The movie stars John Ashley, a regular Romero collaborator as Joseph Langdon, a man who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for immortality and the task of recruiting others to fall under the spell of Satan. The Beast of the title refers to the creature that Langdon transforms into sporadically, though by creature we’re strictly in the realm of a hairy pair of gloves and a badly constructed mask. The dialogue is pretty hammy, but Romero’s script manages to include a pretty ambitious philosophically themed narrative; pairing it with some snappy pacing and a knowing wink towards Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Beast of the Yellow Night is an underrated slice of Filipino drive-in magic.
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