Mad Doctor of Blood Island (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: David Steigman
  • Review Date: Dec 12, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Mad Doctor of Blood Island (Blu-ray Review)

Director

Gerardo de Leon/Eddie Romero

Release Date(s)

1968 (November 13, 2018)

Studio(s)

Valiant Films/Hemisphere Pictures (Severin Films)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: C+
  • Extras Grade: B+

Mad Doctor of Blood Island (Blu-ray Disc)

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Review

The Blood Island series encompasses four low budget horror ventures made in the Philippines by directors Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The four films, Terror is a Man, Brides of Blood, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Beast of Blood, were mostly co-directed by the two, while the latter was helmed by Romero himself, always present as an active producer. Each of the four films were also successful with drive-in audiences, giving them a taste of the exploitation boom that would soon come into being.

Mad Doctor of Blood Island once again stars John Ashley, but this time as Dr. Foster, who arrives on yet another island to investigate a strange disease spreading amongst the natives. His entourage includes Sheila (Angelique Pettyjohn), who wishes to see her father for the first time in decades, and Carlos (Ronaldo Valdez), who has come to reunite with his loving mother (Tita Munoz). Once settled, the three begin hearing stories about a green-skinned, man-sized monster (Eddie Garcia) with chlorophyll for blood that’s been attacking the natives and ripping them apart. Their investigation leads them to the sinister Dr. Lorca (Ronald Remy) and his assistant Razak (Bruno Punzalan), who seem to have something do with the monster’s unholy creation.

The gore and nudity quotient has been raised considerably in Mad Doctor of Blood Island. As with Terror is a Man, it contains yet another gimmick where the camera zooms in and out frantically each time the monster is lurking about. While this can potentially make one dizzy while watching the film, it offers, at the very least, something unique among the other films.

Despite being beloved films by deep-seated horror film fans, Eddie Romero considers the Blood Island films to be the worst that he ever took part in. While you can certainly understand why he would feel that way, it’s easy to see the charm in these films. They’re not meant to be anything more than what they are: exploitative monster movies meant to entertain teenagers who would naturally be spending the majority of the running time doing other things. But even with their limitations, the fact that the Blood Island series is comprehensible at all is saying something.

Severin Films brings Mad Doctor of Blood Island in its uncut form to Blu-ray separately from its inclusion in The Blood Island Collection. It has been newly “scanned in 4K from a recently discovered camera negative and presented totally uncut for the first time ever, including the legendary Oath of Green Blood prologue”. It’s a very nice presentation, but with a couple of cracked frames that pop up during one scene, which likely couldn’t have been repaired easily. For the audio, it features two audio tracks in English and French 2.0 mono DTS-HD. It’s narrow, but everything is discernable. Some mild hiss, crackle, and dropouts are noticeable. There are also optional subtitles in English SDH.

It also features a decent set of extras. There’s an audio commentary with horror film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S. Berger; another audio commentary with Samuel M. Sherman; Tombs of the Living Dead, a 9-minute interview with author Pete Tombs; A Taste of Blood, a 12-minute interview with critic Mark Holcomb; The Mad Director of Blood Island, a 7-minute interview with co-director Eddie Romero; the theatrical trailer; a trailer for the film under the heading Chiller Carnival of Blood, a double-feature release with The Blood Demon (aka The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism); an animated poster and still gallery containing 79 images; and a separate 34-track CD soundtrack for the film.

Offering fans a chance to own some of these films without having to shell out a larger amount of money for The Blood Island Collection Blu-ray boxed set, Severin Films’ treatment of Mad Doctor of Blood Island is highly commendable. Being able to see the film in high definition at all is miracle unto itself, but in such a fine release with a nice amount of extras, it’s too good to be true for long-time fans.

– David Steigman (with Tim Salmons)

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