Despite all the guffaws and snickers directed at Ed Wood, there remains some Producer-Directors much more deserving of any denigrating epithet one can muster. One such director is Al Adamson.
Ed Wood’s films are goofy but Adamson’s films are downright deranged. For the amateur bad-movie watcher, they could result in personal injury. They challenge the very concept of narrative structure in a manner which could afflict Jean-Luc Godard with a massive priapic condition.
Al Adamson’s movies do more than challenge your notion of film, they make you question why Edison bothered inventing that form of entertainment in the first place.
Psycho-a-go-go, Dracula vs Frankenstein, Satan’s Sadists are all borderline crazy but it’s Horror of the Blood Monsters (also released as Vampire Men of the Lost Planet or Space Mission to the Lost Planet) that really takes the golden straitjacket home.
Here’s the plot in a nutshell: An outbreak of violent vampirism has broken down in dimly lit areas of Earth.
The source of that contamination has been identified. It is a small distant planet which is worthy of note for two reasons:
The first reason is that their sun ‘s radiation produces odd monochromatic hues in the atmosphere of the planet. This effect is brought to you in the film via the magic of Spectrum X.
Spectrum X was simply using black and white footage and printing it monochromatically.
It’s really useful for working footage of an older black and white movie into your new color film.
The second thing that’s worthy of note about that planet is that their humanoid inhabitants are still in the cave-dweller stage of their development.
And afflicted as they are with the vampire plague, this can only mean one thing: Vampire Cavemen.
Or more precisely, Saber-toothed Vampire Cavemen.
The bulk of Horror of the Blood Monsters comes from a 1956 Philipino caveman/horror film called or Kahariang Bato or Tagani. Spectrum-X and the whole hokum about the atmosphere of the planet was an excuse to recycle the 14 year old Philipino footage into the new film.
The space travel scenes come from the sci-fi cheapie Wizard of Mars and they’ve even thrown in the same damn “crocodile vs lizard” footage from the 1941 One Million Years B.C. used in countless films including Robot Monster.
As if all of this wasn’t whacked enough, they’ve hired “Brother Theodore” to narrate. For those unfamiliar with the New-York art scene, Brother Theodore Gotlieb is a philosopher and podiatrist who became a regular fixture on Late Night with David Letterman with is patented brand of insane ranting.
And, of course, the crowning touch is the casting of John Carradine in the scenes meant to tie all this together. Carradine is the patriarch of a legendary acting dynasty and an accomplished actor but, from the late 50s on, one should be weary of any film that gives him top billing.
The resulting unholy mixture has been taking viewers off guard for decades- especially since the mid-eighties when the movie started showing up on late night television where it used the lateness of the hour to escape the attention of a sober, coherent audience.
But now, thanks to the magic of YouTube, you don’t have to wait until 3am to get your brains scrambled. Trust me, no matter what time of the day you watch this you’ll feel it’s 3am and that you’re running the kind nasty fever that has you conversing with distant ancestors.
Pain Level: 9/10
Quality of Pain: Like a hickey from a really really primitive person.
Painjoyment™ Level: Very high.
[Note: In more recent years, Adamson’s oeuvre has been eclipsed with the odd B-movie way in which he died. In 1995, his body was found under his newly renovated hot tub. The contractor who did the renovation work is currently serving a 25 year sentence for the murder. The Cinémasochist prefers to remember the man for is work.]