Brides of Blood is the second in a series of four horror films produced by Eddie Romero and Kane W. Lynn which are known as the Blood Island series, which also includes Terror Is a Man, The Mad Doctor of Blood Island and Beast of Blood. It’s also known as Island of Living Horror and was also re-released with Count Dracula’s Great Love, with that movie being retitled Cemetery Girls and Brides of Blood being renamed Grave Desires.
Much like all of these Filipino horror films, it’s completely bonkers.
The tropics are the place for three Americans to find, well, complete insanity.
Dr. Paul Henderson, a nuclear scientist investigating nuclear bomb tests, is played by Kent Taylor. He was once a major star, playing the title role in fifty-right Boston Blackie movies. His name is also half of the inspiration for Superman’s alter ego (the other star being Clark Gable).
He’s married to the gorgeous but always ready to cuckold Carla, who is Beverly Powers, who was once the highest paid exotic dancer in the world before becoming an actress and starring with Elvis in Speedway, Kissin’ Cousins and Viva Las Vegas. She also pretty much played herself in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. After all that acting, she went on to become a minister with The Living Ministry in Maui,
Then there’s Jim Farrell, a young Peace Corps members played by John Ashley, who was an AIP star, appearing in Dragstrip Girl and singing his song “Let Yourself Go Go Go” in Zero Hour! He was an AIP beach movie regular, showing up in Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.
After living in Oklahoma for a while, Ashley actually ended up producing these movies with Hemisphere Pictures, living in the Philippines for part of the year and helping to create these little bits of madness.
Our protagonists soon learn that Blood Island is cursed. It’s now a place that has been irradiated by nuclear fallout from those bomb tests, with vines that attack people and butterflies that bite. There’s also a beast in the jungle that tears women apart to get off, because hey, why not?
Carla learns that the beast is one of the villagers, Esteban, but it comes at the price of her own life. She’s an early “sex and people who want sex must be destroyed” casualty decades before made this type of destruction de rigeur.
Between carnivorous trees eating Carla’s remains and the movie ending in a huge orgy, this is probably unlike any other movie you’ve seen before. You can pretty much say that about every single film from this studio.
The pressbook for the movie suggested that all female theatergoers would get the chance to become a Bride of Blood and get a free engagement ring. There was even the idea fo giving away fake marriage certificates, but legal concerns stopped that from happening.