Review: BEAST OF BLOOD (1970)

Directed by Eddie Romero, BEAST OF BLOOD is the most monotonous of the BLOOD ISLAND pictures. This 1970 film picks up right where THE MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND left off, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. That 1969 flick was less than compelling in its own right, but BEAST OF BLOOD drags the saga to a near standstill.

Romero is credited with the screenplay of this horror outing, with a story by Beverly Miller. It’s a pretty terse affair and little of consequence actually happens, especially when it comes to more traditional chills and thrills. And while BEAST OF BLOOD may look outlandish with respect to its advertising, the actual product is less than interesting.

Dr. Bill Foster (John Ashley) is back and on his way to Blood Island after a monster attack. He wants to get to the bottom of things. Along for the ride is a reporter (Celeste Yarnall) and the captain of the ship (Miller). Foster tracks the beast and discovers the natives in a state of distress.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that the science and mayhem behind the events of MAD DOCTOR may not have been fully put to bed. This leads to a seemingly ceaseless search through the bush, as Foster and his pals try to take on the monster and the madness at the root of Blood Island’s terror.

A critical hinge of BEAST OF BLOOD is the return of the titular mad doctor from its predecessor, so right away the plot takes a turn for the worse. Eddie Garcia’s character is hardly compelling as a baddie, even if he does have a monster’s head in a jar.

Most of BEAST OF BLOOD is spent watching two groups – the heroes and the villains – make their way through the jungle. At one point, a cutie (Liza Belmonte) shoots her shot with Dr. Foster. We also get to see people slash at leaves with machetes, climb up hills, climb down hills, and so on.

The action is predominantly related to the two groups fighting each other. This leads to some machine guns and whatnot, but any monsters or sci-fi creations are caught in the laboratory with our mad doc. Even those scenes drag.

BEAST OF BLOOD takes its time a lot, too. You’ll notice a number of dragging, ponderous shots. This is evident from the opening credits, as Justo Paulino lenses a long, wide shot of the beast returning to Blood Island. This type of thing is repeated a few times, with the lens often lingering on minimal activity. There is a candlelit sex scene mostly witnessed from a docile distance.

By the time the action kicks in, there’s only about five or 10 minutes to go and any inherent friction is lacking. While TERROR IS A MAN toyed with its audience and freed the monster to thrilling effect, BEAST OF BLOOD squanders the moment until it mercifully trudges across the finish line.


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