With zombie make-up that looks like it was done by a high school student, this early Al Adamson film still brings charm.
A soldier is implanted with a device that turns him into a maniac. Let’s dig into 1967’s “Blood of Ghastly Horror”, directed by Al Adamson!
As I See It
Adamson had a prolific film career filled with exploitation and B-grade horror films in the sixties and seventies. Ironically, it was not his career venturing into the morbid and macabre that brought him bad fortune but his second career in real estate that ended with him buried under the platform of his hot tub thanks to a vile contractor with whom he had a dispute over finances.
The story, understandably, is disjointed. I say understandably because this film is not necessarily an original thought but one chopped together from earlier footage from an earlier Adamson film that wasn’t even horror.
It takes a while to get to “it” and when we do the zombie is kinda laughable. But for some reason, it adds some charm.
The real charm though is in the set design which reminds me of the Batman ’66 sets. There are a surprising amount of pastels for the era and some interesting backlighting. The police officer looks like an alternate universe Kevin Spacey (perhaps one where he is still acting), and there is no real nuance or finesse to the dialogue which leaves the action and scenery to tell the story.
If you know what you’re getting into, you can probably find a worse sixties-era genre film to watch than this one.
John Carradine was the patriarch of the famous Carradine family of actors (Keith, Robert, and David most famously). Besides having famous spawn, he’s known for Grapes of Wrath, The Ten Commandments, and most importantly to my childhood as the Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH.
Regina Carrol (Susan) was a frequent actor in Adamson’s films. For good reason. She was his wife.
Of Gratuitous Nature
Apparently, the device does more than make Joe a psychotic killer. It also makes him a typical misogynistic, abusive, Archie Bunker.
They might not be the most elaborate designs to grace the opening of a film, but I loved Bob Le Bar’s title sequence. By today’s Final Cut and Premiere Pro standards, it may be child’s play. But understanding that he pulled off these little analog tricks is all the more impressive.
Ripe for a Remake
Itself being a rearranging of footage from an earlier Adamson film (Psycho a Go-Go) which was more cops and robbers than zombies and mad scientists, there is not much that hasn’t been done already in the fifty plus years since its release.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
Severin Films put out an Al Adamson box set as well as a documentary covering Adamson’s life and tragic death which has been on my queue to watch. Troma had released a DVD which could be found on the secondary market.