Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reel Grindhouse Presents: The Blood-O-Rama Shock Show

The real funny thing about the film Grindhouse was that I noticed that people didn’t have the patience to sit though almost four hours of film. My, how things have changed. Back in the 70's, the grindhouse afficionado wanted more viewing time for his dollar. The distributors also realized this and came up with a way to squeeze a couple of more bucks out of previously released product. They created a marathon viewing experience: The Blood O Rama Shock Show.

This had been done back in the 50's & 60's around Halloween, so it wasn’t really a new concept. What made this one unique was you were never told what films you would see. It could be three, sometimes four movies. The Blood O Rama trailer had clips from several different movies, all with blood in the title. A lot of Hemisphere films were used.

I’m sure that Sam Sherman, Hemisphere’s state side partner, was involved in this. Sam’s company was Independent International, a company that turned out many grindhouse films, courtesy of Sam’s partner, director Al Adamson. Al gave us Satan’s Sadists, Dracula vs Frankenstein, Hell’s Bloody Devils, Five Bloody Graves, Nurse Sherri and many others.

The films used for Blood O Rama were Blood Creature ( aka Terror is a Man), Blood Drinkers, Blood Demon, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Brides of Blood , Horror of the Blood Monsters, Beast of Blood, and others. Drive ins got into the act with a dusk to dawn show with six movies. Granted, you weren’t there until sunrise, unless you passed out in the car, but you definitely got your $2.50's worth.

Another company got into the act with their Spend a Night in A Grave concept. This one had three movies: Ted V Mikel’s Corpse Grinders, The Undertaker & His Pals, and The Embalmer( Monster of Venice) . It was a cold winter night in the old ‘63 Dodge Dart at the Morris Plains Drive In. Three pints of cheap hootch and a shitty heater couldn’t take the chill off. I left during the Embalmer with a pair of frozen nuts.

There is a back story here concerning three films. Brides of Blood, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Beast of Blood were known as the Blood Island Trilogy. And they were directed by Romero. Not George, swerved ya on that one!! Eddie Romero directed all three films as well as the “first” blood island movie, Terror is a Man.

All three films were horribly edited for late night TV. Even worse, they were given new titles. Worse than that, they were released to home video by a sleazy outfit called Regal Home Video. Brides of Blood became Brides of the Beast. Mad Doctor of Blood Island became the Return of Doctor X or something like that. But it’s gets worse. The box synopsis leads you to believe it’s the Mad Doctor, but it was the wrong movie. Something about plants. If you fans want me to write the definite article on the Blood Island Trilogy, Just ask.

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