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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Beast of Blood
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Beast of Blood - 1971, Rated PG
Green blooded zombies make a hash out of an island paradise in this low budget Sci-fi horror hybrid that packed them into drive-ins during the days of Nixon, love-ins, and bell-bottoms. Be warned that this is the third film in a quartet of horror flicks but don't fear that you've missed anything worth noting.
This one hits the ground running as a midnight cruise on the Pacific gets downright deadly. The lone American on the boat, Dr. Foster, is gazing at a gorgeous purple sky while a guitar is gently strummed by a crewman so it's kind of surreal when a zombie like creature cuts the song short by slamming the musician in the noggin with an ax (his playing wasn't even half bad). Three sailors quickly enter the fray and are soon swabbing the poop deck with their own guts, as the ghoul appears to have seen his share of Ninja movies. Doctor Foster enters the fracas with some under rehearsed fighting moves but it's over in seconds as the ship blows up proving, once again, that ax fights and oil drums don't mix. If you're one of those bleeding hearts who is pressing for zombie rights then save your venom as we are granted a shot of the ghoulish one washing up on a beach before staggering off into the woods.
Six months later we pick up with Doctor Foster heading back to the scene of the incident. His destination? Blood Island (dun...dun...dun). He is accosted by a female reporter, named Myra, who assures him that she will get the story whether he helps or not. He opts to give her the brush off but since they are the only passengers that proves difficult. Once they get to the island the restless villagers, who are none too pleased that only the Doc and the creature survived and see them as two sides of the same coin, meet them. Luckily a young woman named Laida offers to help out and she appears to be holdover from the first film, though she obviously didn't trade her salary for acting lessons.
The Captain, who rocks a blue shirt and white cap (a la the Skipper of "Gilligan's Island" fame), offers them help.
The four decide to stake out the abandoned lab of a Dr. Lorca who dabbled in genetics, and botany, with an idea toward inventing plant people (the sea monkeys idea was taken). They almost catch a thug who shows up but only succeed in having to rescue Myra when she falls through a trapdoor and is menaced by a spitting cobra. In fact Myra proves to be a real hindrance and is soon kidnapped by Lorca's goons. Despite figuring out how to saw through her bonds with a blade of grass she is promptly recaptured when she stumbles into quicksand. Doctor Foster comes up with a brilliant plan to rescue her which amounts to walking into Lorca's camp and spending the day there while the Captain and Laida raise an army of natives (hey it takes a village) to storm the compound after dark.
This plan gives Lorca time to show up and brag about his latest attempts to mollify his plant/monster by giving it a new head. Unfortunately the procedure proves fatal for all of the donors though it does give the zombie's original cranium time to figure out how to control its body while observing all of this hoo-hah from an unsanitary looking bowl in Lorca's lab. Meanwhile the Captain arrives with back up and there is plenty of the red stuff as Lorca's army gets decimated. Lorca, however, proves untouchable from inside his well-sealed lab but that isn't such a good thing when you have chosen to lock yourself up with a headless corpse that's far from helpless.
This one is outrageous enough that it proves entertaining despite severe budgetary limitations. The story is obviously a hoot but you should also keep your eyes peeled for plenty of gaffs such as the Doc's humming, beeping, and trembling lab equipment. There are also flubbed lines, missed him by a mile fight scenes, and even one instance where you can spot a member of the film crew hovering behind the zombie's disembodied head. Bonus points go to story creator Beverly Miller who, despite having all the charisma of a lump in your mashed potatoes, saw fit to cast himself as the brave Captain.
This one is available, for almost cheap as they made it, in a boxed set called "The Blood Island Vacation" which collects all four films in this forgotten cheese festival and packs them with more extras than you'll care to watch.
Despite the PG rating you should hide the young ones as these flicks contain gratuitous violence, nudity, and enough 70's fashion disasters to warrant a "mature viewers only" label.
Best Line: "Reactivate the artificial head."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: email@example.com.
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