After the successful Philippines-shot "Blood Island" films had ceased production, Hemisphere Pictures was in need of a new horror programmer. Hemisphere associate Sam Sherman came up with an idea to make a bloody effort much in the mood of the aforementioned series. However, this film was shot in the U.S. and directed by Sherman's partner, the legendary Al Adamson. Recycling Tito Arévalo's unforgettable music from BEAST OF BLOOD and shooting in rather obscure West Coast locations, BRAIN OF BLOOD often looks and feels like one of those Philippines chillers.
BRAIN OF BLOOD has one of the best B-movie casts assembled for an Adamson picture, and many of the stars of his masterpiece DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN are here united. The plot is simple. A middle eastern ruler named Amir (Reed Hadley!) is dying of cancer, so two of his cohorts, the kind Dr. Robert Nigserian (a longhaired Grant Williams of INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN and "Hawaiian Eye" fame) and the aptly named Mohammed (Zandor Vorkov, the Count in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN) bring him to an American scientist Dr. Lloyd Trenton for a solution (transplanting his brain to a healthy body).
As expected, Dr. Trenton is quite mad, and he's played by the always reliable Kent Taylor, who had just done BRIDES OF BLOOD for Hemisphere and was in many Adamson productions. He hams it up nicely in his lab which resembles a discount dentist's office. Since a proper body is not readily available for the great Amir, the mad doc transplants the dying leader's brain into a lumbering, mutated giant named Gor (John Bloom, the monster in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN). How did "Gor" become mutated? In a flashback (which is also a highly memorable scene) we see Bloom as grown man in suspenders with the mind of a child--much like his character in the same year's THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT. After two beer-guzzling slobs steal his toy ray gun, Bloom gets violent and as a result get hit over the head with a shovel and has a car's battery acid poured all over his face. Ouch! Ironically, Dr. Trenton later uses a slightly better-looking ray gun (which still resembles a child's toy) to control the hulking and mischievous Gor's mind.
Others in the cast include legendary dwarf actor Angelo Rossitto as Trenton's nasty assistant Dorro. Rossitto wears a floppy golf cap, teases women (such as Adamson regular Vicki Volante) in a basement torture chamber, and utters "wow" as he causes an automobile to explode. Regina Carrol plays a sly bimbo who is up to no good, and Richard Smedley (the "zombie" from BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR) is a thug employed to run the good guys off the road. BRAIN OF BLOOD is PG-rated (well, GP at the time of release) though features a rather unsightly brain operation (courtesy of the local butcher) which was ironically left in the TV version shown as "The Creature's Revenge." Bloom's monster make-up is gruesome and campy, as the actor's hair visibly crawls through the bottom of his bald cap! BRAIN OF BLOOD's fun drive-in antics make this a must for Adamson fans and bad movie addicts in general.
BRAIN OF BLOOD had been available years ago on several cheapo video labels under titles like "The Brain" and "The Undying Brain." These transfers were very dark and horrid, so thankfully Image Entertainment went back to the original negative for this new DVD transfer. The full frame image has nice colors, and picture detail is sharp overall. There is some minor print grain and debris present, but it's nothing to be concerned about. The audio track is nicely presented, with clear dialog and no noticeable distortion.
Included as a commentary with producer Sam Sherman which runs nearly the entire duration of the film. Sherman had more involvement with this than any other titles in the "Blood Collection," as he concocted the story as well. As usual, Sherman has a lot of interesting stories about the cast and the production, and he also continues his history of Hemisphere Pictures. A surprise on the this disc is a video interview with Beverly Powers (aka Beverly Hills) who starred in BRIDES OF BLOOD. Obviously, the interview couldn't be prepped in time for that disc, so its inclusion on this final installment is most appreciated. Powers (who is now a licensed minister in Hawaii) has fond recollections about starring in the first "Blood Island" picture and surprisingly remembers a lot about it. Kudos to Sam Sherman and Image for going through the trouble to seek her out and get this interview.
Other extras are carryovers from all the discs in this collection: Theatrical trailers for BRIDES OF BLOOD, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, THE BLOOD DRINKERS, BEAST OF BLOOD, BRAIN OF BLOOD and BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRES (aka CURSE OF THE VAMPIRES) and the "House of Terror" Live Horror Show Promo; the Eddie Romero video interview; and a still gallery made up of photos and ad art. Jim Arena wrote the wonderful liner notes as an insert book. Jim is a real longtime fan, as his dad took him to see a double bill of BRAIN OF BLOOD and VAMPIRE PEOPLE (aka THE BLOOD DRINKERS) at a drive-in during its original release! (George R. Reis)
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