Mad Doctor of Blood Island – Philippines/USA, 1968

The Mad Doctor of Blood Island is a 1968 Filipino science fiction horror feature film, co-directed by Eddie Romero and Gerardo de Leon from a screenplay by Reuben Canoy. The movie stars John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn and Ronald Remy.

It was the third in a series of four Filipino horror films produced by Romero and Kane W. Lynn known as the “Blood Island” series, which also included Terror Is a ManBrides of Blood and Beast of Blood. It was re-issued as Grave Desires and also released as Tomb of the Living Dead.

American pathologist Dr. Bill Foster (John Ashley) is on a ship to Blood Island to investigate a strange chlorophyll disease that has afflicted the population. Meanwhile, Sheila Willard (Angelique Pettyjohn) has travelled to the island to reunite with her estranged father. The captain of their ship claims that the place is cursed and recounts a story of a native they picked up on a raft who “turned into a raving lunatic” and bled green blood after being shot, before he escaped into the sea…

Reviews:

” …this Filipino-lensed mishmash of Weird Tales-style pulp adventure and ’60s-era exploitation has a loopy charm that will be best appreciated by fans of low-budget horror. The special effects, while subpar by Hollywood standards, are appropriately gooey, and actresses Alicia Alonso and Angelique Pettyjohn provide sufficient eye candy…” Paul Gaita, AllMovie

“It’s kind of fun in that sleazy drive-in sense, but I found the annoying camera tricks whenever the monster shows up (we get rapid zoom-in-zoom-out-zoom-in-zoom-out-etc. effects) is almost nauseating, and not in a fun way. There’s also a fair amount of nudity to add to the gore…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“Hardly any of the actresses manage to escape from the film without either taking off their clothes for the camera or shooting a scene which ends with them lying in a heap of offal and stage blood— and in most cases, the one is followed directly by the other. It was awfully intense for the 60’s, and is nothing to scoff at even today. Consequently, if you judge a drive-in movie by its power to shock and offend, Mad Doctor of Blood Island deserves high marks indeed.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

” …the best of the “Blood Island” movies. Here, the pacing is better, as the movie moves at a decent clip. Also, the exploitation elements have been ramped up, as we get more nudity, and more gore. Severed limbs, decapitation, mutilation and exposed innards are the name of the game here. Also, while Brides tends to get a bit talky, Mad Doctor is more dedicated to action and cheap thrills…” Talk of Horrors

“Romero gets a Pavlovian response out of his audience every time the monster shows up, because whenever it is about to attack, the camera gets real shaky and zoomy. The shaky cam stuff is kinda cool at first, but Romero goes a little overboard with it sometimes and it’s enough to make you dizzy. The green faced zombie himself is pretty cool looking…” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Dr. Lorca: “When he comes to… give him some hot soup. And no green vegetables, of course.”

Dr. Lorca: “My dear Dr. Foster, you talk like a lovesick shop girl. We all rot away in the end.”

Cast and characters:

  • John Ashley … Dr. Bill Foster
  • Angelique Pettyjohn … Sheila Willard – Biohazard
  • Ronald Remy … Dr. Lorca
  • Alicia Alonzo … Marla
  • Ronaldo Valdez … Carlos Lopez
  • Tita Muñoz … Mrs. Lopez
  • Tony Edmunds … Mr. Willard
  • Alfonso Carvajal … Ramu
  • Bruno Punzalan … Razak
  • Edward D. Murphy … Captain
  • Eddie Garcia … The monster

Promotion:

A prologue to the film suggested that attendees partake in a bizarre initiation, and each patron was given a free packet of coloured liquid labelled “green blood”. At a certain point, the audience was told to “recite the oath of green blood” as they tore open the little packets and drank the coloured liquid inside. By doing this, the viewer could safely watch “the unnatural green-blooded ones without fear of contamination”. The prologue was filmed at Clark Air Base in Manila using American teenagers.

Release:

Mad Doctor was released in the USA in 1969 on a double-bill with the 1967 West German horror film Blood Demon.

In 1969, a practice arose in some states (Rhode Island, in particular) wherein the local newspapers began omitting the word “blood” from the titles of films they were advertising. In certain areas, Mad Doctor was advertised as The Mad Doctor of Crimson Island and Blood Demon became The Crimson Demon.

Image Entertainment released Mad Doctor on DVD in 2002, featuring a commentary track by Sam Sherman and an interview with co-director Eddie Romero.

On 23 October 2018, Severin Films is releasing Mad Doctor on Blu-ray as part of the Blood Island Collection

Some image credits: Video Collector

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Brides of Blood – Philippines, 1968

Beast of Blood aka Blood Devils – Philippines, 1970



Categories: 1960s, Blu-ray, mad scientist, medical horror, monster movie

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