Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scream Yourself Into A State Of Shock

It’s important to note up front that the version of director Al Adamson's HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS that I watched is the Italian cut, 7 PER L’INFINITO CONTRO I MOSTRI SPAZIALI, which translates to 7 FOR INFINITY VS. THE SPACE MONSTERS. Whatever that means.

Originally a 1965 Filipino black-and-white movie called TAGANI, HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS is what Independent-International released in the U.S. in 1970 after Adamson bought TAGANI, spliced in stock shots from other movies, and added new footage filmed at Vasquez Rocks. The Italian cut is markedly different, dropping some scenes from HORROR, repeating shots, and swiping outer space footage from the British TV series UFO.

The plot is credited to Sue McNair, who is probably Adamson and/or producer Sam Sherman, and makes no sense. After Earth is besieged by a rash of vampire attacks (filmed in one night in an L.A. alley with the director playing one of the monsters), Dr. Rynning (John Carradine) and a four-person crew (despite the Italian title’s promise) fly a rocketship to a planet from which they believe the vampires came.

This part of the movie is tinted various colors to disguise the black-and-white origins of TAGANI. Adamson explains it away by explaining radiation is causing “color variations” in the planet’s atmosphere that makes everything appear monochromatic, and Sherman tried to claim in HORROR’s marketing it was filmed in a special process called Spectrum X!

Crewmen Bryce (Bruce Powers), Scott (Fred Meyers), Willy (Joey Benson), and Linda (Britt Semand) explore the planet on foot, leaving Rynning behind (probably because the frail Carradine was unable to shoot long hours in the arid California desert). They find dinosaurs (played by tinted footage from ONE MILLION B.C. and UNKNOWN ISLAND), lobster men, bat men, a tribe of cavemen, and beautiful Malian (Jennifer Bishop), the only Caucasian native, who joins the Earthmen. Meanwhile, Rynning shoots lasers at a bunch of spaceships because Al Adamson, that’s why. Missing from the Italian cut is a ridiculous sex scene between Robert Dix and Vicki Volante, playing American technicians back on Earth.

Choosing the worst film directed by Adamson, who never made a good one, is a difficult chore, but this one is in the running, even given the fact that he can’t be blamed for the repetitive space footage the Italian producers included. The story is ridiculous, the indoor sets and special effects cheap-looking, and the acting indifferent at best. If you’re watching to find out why and how those vampires in the prologue got to L.A., no satisfaction here. I-I released HORROR in the U.S. under many different titles, including VAMPIRE MEN OF THE LOST PLANET and SPACE MEN TO THE LOST PLANET, ensuring many years of confused drive-in audiences. Sherman claims Diane Keaton was a fan.

1 comment:

Reg Van Draught said...

Wow! Poster art by both Neal Adams and Gray Morrow!