“Sam Sherman and The Bloody Brain Monsters of Ghastly Horror!”
[Sam Sherman interview with Michael Weldon in Fangoria #29 (1983), pp.38-39]
Before Sherman and Al Adamson got their own company going,
"I kept telling them to go into horror, go into horror and stop making war pictures, and induced them to do it," recalls Sherman. "They took Terror and retitled it Blood Creature, billed it with The Walls of Hell (a Phillipines-made war movie) and got their first taste of horror; the bill did very well. As a result of that, they purchased another picture from the Phillipines called Blood Drinkers, by the same director as Terror, Gerry DeLeon, a very clever, creative director. That was teamed with a black and white film from
So, 10 years after Terror is a Man was made, it spawned what is now known as "the
Eddie Romero directed yet a fourth John Ashley film, Beast of the Yellow Night, which was to have been Hemisphere's fourth in the Blood Island series, however, the Kansas City backers who had financed the previous three films had a falling out with the producers at Hemisphere, and negotiated a release through the brand-spanking-new company New World Pictures, allowing Roger Corman to enter the burgeoning field of "Blood Island Mania."
Sam Sherman, “Digging Up The Beast Of Blood”
[from Screem Magazine #4 (1994) pp.5-6]
I had a long association with Hemisphere Pictures, starting in the year of the company's inception, 1963. This involvement led from my being a consultant, doing advertising and promotion and eventually producing one of their horror films - Brain Of Blood. The principals of the company consisted of longtime distributor Irwin Pizor (President), Kane Lynn (Executive Vice President) and Eddie Romero (Vice President in charge of Production). The three were also the company's sole original stockholders.
By 1970 when Beast of Blood came along, Hemisphere had already established itself as an important horror film distributor through its earlier releases. Beast Of Blood was to reach the widest audience, through doing most business of any Hemisphere horror picture. Was the film superior to others? Perhaps not. However, the company was building to this movie and the timing was right.
Hemisphere’s so-called Blood series, was a group of individual films generally unconnected by anything except the titles. We were always trying to find some link between the pictures, to tie something new in with the previous film that had some measure of success. That was done with the titles selected, the print ads, the trailers and radio and television spots. In the case of Beast Of Blood, that was the one and only Hemisphere horror title that had any real connection to one of the previous films, as it was a genuine sequel to Mad Doctor Of Blood Island.
Why it was a sequel is an interesting story in itself . That was due to the efforts of the late Beverly "Bev" Miller. He was a former theatre owner in the
The success of Mad Doctor Of Blood Island prompted him to write a sequel story and carve out a nice role for himself as the old Captain. In this capacity he got a free vacation to
Bev Miller's involvement spelled the end for Hemisphere's production of films in the
Mad Doctor Of Blood Island followed Hemisphere's Brides Of Blood (
While Brides and Mad Doctor had little in common plot-wise, Beast Of Blood (
Mad Doctor Of Blood Island (1969) told the story of a scientist, Dr. Bill Foster, who arrives at the Jungle-like Blood Island at the same time as heroine Angelique Pettyjohn, who is searching for her lost father. The mysterious Dr Lorca, played by Ronald Remy, star of a previous Hemisphere film The Blood Drinkers, is conducting the “green blood” experiments. Lorca, in trying to cure an old friend (Don Ramone) of a terminal illness, instead creates a horrible monster, known to the natives as 'The Evil One". At the same time, Lorca is also having an affair with Don’s wife. That sets up the forces in motion in the film. Various natives are used for experiments, get green blood contamination and the picture ends in a big fire with Don Ramone and Doctor Lorca apparently killed. A tag scene in the boat leaving the island with Ashley and Pettyjohn suggested the monster might still be alive.
This now sets up the action for Beast Of Blood. Ashley retums as Dr. Foster on a boat heading back to
After the release of gore and sex loaded Mad Doctor, the ratings system came in and these elements had to be toned down in Beast Of Blood, which was more of a mystery film and jungle action picture than straight horror fare. For these reasons, the plot of Beast Of Blood unfolds slowly, as Dr. Foster and reporter Myra Russell (Celeste Yarnell) trek through the jungles to find Dr Lorca still alive quite late in the movie's running time. Lorca, disfigured in the fire which ended Mad Doctor, is played by Eddie Garcia, who has captured Don Ramone and restrained him in a most unusual way. Ramone's head is kept alive apart from his body, attached to sorne kind of chemicals and lab machines. The same for the body kept alive without a head. Several attempts of Lorca's to graft native heads on to Ramone's body fail in the surgery. However, some unstated psychic connection still exists between the body parts, over which it has some control.
Eventually Ramone's head directs the body to attack and kill Lorca, which leads to the destruction of the lab in a violent fire and explosion. At the end, when Foster, Russell and company trek off from Lorca's domain into the jungle, a native is shown carrying an unusual large wooden box which one might assume contains something that will prompt another sequel. Alas, no green blood drips out and these thoughts only remain in the mind of the viewer.
Eddie Romero directed Beast Of Blood in straight forward narrative and professional technique. The jungle and action scenes didn’t suffer from the limited budget, and set design, lab machines and such, were generally well done. Gone were the shaky zoom effects from Mad Doctor, which I liked, and many others did not. This was the artistic touch of Romero's co-director Gerry De Leon, who pioneered many techniques in Philippine production.
When the next Hemisphere movie Beast Of The Yellow Night went instead to Dimension Pictures, Al Adamson and I made Brain Of Blood for Kane Lynn in