“Could this mutation affect humans as well?”
Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor), his wife Carla (Beverly Hills) and a young Peace Corp volunteer Jim Farrell (John Ashley) come to Blood Island to do research concerning radiation from atomic testing. The captain warns them that the island is cursed. The first thing they see when they land on the island is a funeral procession. Two dismembered women are thrown into the ocean. The group is then met by Arcadio (Andres Centanera) and his granddaughter Alma (Eva Darren). Arcadio is the tribes elder and can speak English. Alma also speaks English and is to be Jim’s interpreter.
A man named Goro (Bruno Punzalan) shows up. He tells them that they have been invited to visit his master Esteban Powers (Mario Montenegro). Esteban greets them and invites them to stay in his home while they are on the island. Carla accepts for her and her husband while Jim says that he needs to live with the natives to be able to help them at all. After lunch the group returns to the village so that Carla and Paul can pack. On the way Carla is attacked by a banana tree. It appears that the fallout from the bombs has affected some of the flora and fauna of the island. Some of the animals can change from normal to killer creatures. Apparently some banana trees can too.
In the village a ritual is taking place. Two women are selected in a lottery. They are strapped to X shaped sacrificial beams. Out of the jungle comes a monster that attacks the women. It tears them to pieces. Alma tells the newcomers that the beast uses mutilation as a form of sexual release. She says that if the ritual is not done the beast will destroy everyone on the island.
The villagers select two more sacrifices. This time, Alma is chosen. When Jim tries to stop the sacrifice he is tied up. He manages to escape and save Alma. In doing so he interrupts the normal sacrificial ritual. The villagers now believe the entire village is in jeopardy.
“Brides of Blood”, AKA “Brides of the Beast” and “Grave Desires” was released in 1968 and was directed by Eddie Romero and Gerardo de Leon. The movie is a Filipino horror film. It was the second in a series of four horror films produced by Romero and Kane W. Lynn known as the "Blood Island" series. Included in the series is “Terror Is a Man”, “The Mad Doctor of Blood Island” and “Beast of Blood”. “Brides of Blood” was later released to television syndication in some areas as “Island of Living Horror”.
“Terror is a Man” may not have intended to be part of the Blood Island Trilogy but it was the first in the 4 movie series that are based on Blood Island so it does warrant honorable mention. This is where Romero goes from thought provoking thriller to your basic horror movie. There isn’t an over abundance of the horror movie blood, guts and gore trifecta but there is some. And if you’re looking for a lot of sex, don’t get your hopes up too high. This monster gets his jollies by ripping women apart not by having sex with them.
There was a Castlesque hook with this movie too. All the women in the audience got a cheap plastic engagement ring set so they could be a bride of blood too. Producer Sam Sherman tried to persuade Romero to add a phony printed marriage license to the package, but producer Kane Lynn vetoed the idea. He had concerns that the phony licenses could lead the film distributors, Hemisphere Pictures, into unwanted legal situations involving minors, such as unwanted pregnancies. Strange I know but that’s the 60’s for you.
As for the monster, it’s your average middle of the road guy in a suit. Not the best, not the worst. It did remind me a little bit of one of the aliens from “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”, and those things were terrifying.