From the DVD case: The first man into space is killed during his re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists sent to investigate the wreckage discover evidence of an extraterrestrial stowaway alongside the astronaut’s corpse. This insidious force from outer space, reanimates the dead man’s body, using it as a breeding ground for alien embryos. The horrified scientists take refuge in a remote research station while the blood beast picks them off one by one. In a fiery, other-worldly climax the monster reveals his intentions in a dramatic confrontation between the space invader and the forces of Earth. (1958, b&w)
Mark says: The people who wrote the DVD description above should be sued for false advertising. The blood beast certainly does not pick them off “one by one.” In fact, only one person is actually killed by the beast in this picture. I would take issue with the “other-worldly climax,” too, but we’ll leave the description as is for the sake of a synopsis.
Though this movie was directed by Bernard L. Kowalski, it definitely has the cheapie production values of Gene and Roger Corman, who are producer and executive producer, respectively.
If the ideas in this movie were developed a little more, and the monster wasn’t so ridiculously cheap, this movie would rank higher. As it is, though, Blood Beast is slow-paced and lacks merit as a good sci-fi flick, or even a laughably bad B-movie feature (though I have heard Mystery Science Theater 3000 has done a great treatment of this film).
This isn’t to say that Blood Beast does not have it’s share of comical moments. The beast itself, half parrot and half carpet, will surely elicit a giggle, if not a moan. However, for much of the movie (only 62 minutes, but somehow it seems much longer) we are tortured with endless discussion on the intentions of the beast. Even after it tears the head off of Dr. Wyman (Tyler McVey) there is still debate as to if this is a good monster or a bad monster.
Georgianna Carter, who plays the photographer, Donna Bixby, has a promising start in Blood Beast, but then isn’t given much else to do. If given the chance, I think Georgianna could have been a more three-dimensional character than the female lead, Angela Greene. I found myself wishing their roles were reversed. I also wished that Major Corcoran (Michael Emmet) would just put his shirt back on.
Bernard L. Kowalski would later direct Michael Emmet and Tyler McVey in the more entertaining, Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959).
As a collector, I’m glad to have Night of the Blood Beast at my disposal, but I would only purchase this movie at bargain bin prices (surely you won’t find it anywhere else but in a bargain bin).
Scene to watch for: Julie accepts the demise of her fiance, John, extremely quickly. In fact, not much later, she is helping with his autopsy.
Line to listen for: “John Corcoran was the first man to be sent up in a satellite and ejected back to Earth. Only, he was supposed to come back alive.”
Mark’s Rating: ! ! out of 5.