Night Of The Blood Beast (1958)

MAY 4, 2009


I’m surprised Night Of The Blood Beast doesn’t seem to be more popular compared to some of Roger Corman’s other films of the era. It’s just as cheap and awkwardly paced as the rest, but it’s got some notable highlights. For starters, it seems to be actively ripping off Thing From Another World, only to briefly head into Day The Earth Stood Still's "Not all aliens are here to shoot us with spaceguns" territory at the end. I mean, all Corman films are knockoffs of something, but its rare that they are ripping off renowned classics.

Also, given Joe Dante’s love of Corman and horror films of the 50s and 60s, there is little doubt in my mind that “Gizmo’s Theme” was inspired by the score in this movie, which sounds to my (untrained) ear to be only a note or two different. Yet, both the Wikipedia and IMDb pages for the film are barren wastelands of non-information. Had the film not been lampooned on a 7th season episode of MST3k, it’s possible that it wouldn’t have any sort of cultural awareness at all.

As these things go, it’s not all that bad. Unlike the last couple of Corman entries, at least it’s squarely in the horror genre, as there is a monster, an isolated group of people, and a body count (well, two bodies. Still more than Swamp Women, I think). And the monster may move less gracefully than a GI Joe in the hands of a drunken 5 year old, but the design is kind of cool. Imagine the Metaluna Mutant crossed with a giant pile of mud and you’d be on the right track.

Some of the Corman cheapness is even kind of endearing. There’s a part where one of our two corpses is hanging from the ceiling. One of our heroes runs into the room and sees it, and yells “Wyman!” (the dead guy’s name. That, or a rather strange way of pronouncing “Why, man?”) before talking to the other hero. Then, not 20 seconds later, one of the heroines runs in, and the entire scene repeats, same camera angles and all. The call for help (I forget the actual dialogue, but it’s basically “This is the good guy group, rescue team that we never see, can you respond? Over.”) is also repeated some 5 or 6 times, and I swear it’s the same audio being used. There’s also a hilariously sad shot of a guy “putting out a fire”, and it’s painfully obvious that the fire damage (or a few PAs taking an ax and some paint thinner to a section of the wall) was caused hours ago.

I also loved the final “battle”. After the monster begins explaining why he’s there (he’s essentially proposing a symbiotic relationship between his race and Earth), our heroes toss a few molotovs at him and then shoot him with flare guns. Hilariously, rather than have a typical howl or “NOOOOOOOO!”, the monster keeps talking in the same tone of voice, which makes the heroes seem like a couple of assholes, if you ask me.

But I mean, Corman’s name is right there at the top of the film. Consider it a warning, or the largest font ever given to a disclaimer. You know what you’re in for, and you adjust your expectations accordingly. And on that level, I put this in the win column for the man.

What say you?


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