Night of the Blood Beast [DVD] [1958]

Night Of The Blood Beast is one of the stranger (and better) "off-brand" titles to emerge from Roger Corman's orbit -- "off-brand" in that it was made by Corman's organization, and produced by him, and is based on a Gene Corman story, but wasn't directed by Corman. The movie has always had a texture that's like a cross between a nightmare and an episode of The Outer Limits; the latter attribute is no accident, as John M. Nickolaus, Jr., who photographed Night Of The Blood Beast, also worked on The Outer Limits. The plot is also eerie enough, about a seemingly dead astronaut who is reanimated, courtesy of an alien visitor with a sinister goal, to have qualified as an Outer Limits installment -- the direction of Bernard Kowalski is up to that standard, though the script has too much dead weight, but it's all in the right realm of bizarre. Now, contrary to what the notes say, Night Of The Blood Beast isn't a B-movie rarity remotely along the lines of, say, Hand Of Death; it might not be as ubiquitous as, say, Corman's Not Of The Earth or The Wasp Woman, but it was shown fairly often in odd time-slots (thanks to its 65 minute running time) on local television in New York City right into the early 1980's, and later made it onto Mystery Science Theatre 3000. This image on this disc looks somewhat better than the source for that presentation, although Retromedia hasn't given it the "drive-in movie" extras that it usually offers, and there are no extras (Ed Nelson is still with us at this writing, and it might be good to get him interviewed about his experiences in Corman's orbit). The transfer is good enough so that one can simply enjoy the movie on its own terms; this is a diverting little sci-fi/horror chiller, good for reasons that usually eluded even Corman in his best moments. Night Of The Blood Beast casts its spell with what it doesn't show as much as what it does, combining the strangest plot elements of It Conquered The World with the budgetarily-enforced minimalism of Monster From The Ocean Floor. The print is in good shape, with only a few missing frames and stray marks, but the real wonder is the sound -- this DVD is mastered at the loudest volume of any disc this reviewer has ever encountered, but without any distortion -- the dialogue is right in your face, and Alexander Lazslo's music, which intersects with some of his underscores for various action television shows as well as his work on Spencer Gordon Bennet's The Atomic Submarine, get CD-level treatment here. The disc opens automatically on the menu, which includes three simple selections, including a very entertaining (and surprisingly good condition) trailer. Surprisingly, given the care that that taken with the transfer, the movie has only been given six chapter markers. That flaw aside, this disc is a must-own title for any B-horror or sci-fi buff, or any fan of low-budget cinema.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Original theatrical trailer

Synopsis

Night of the Blood Beast
The familiar rocks and rills of LA's Bronson Caverns are seen to good advantage in Night of the Blood Beast. The story begins when a manned space rocket develops trouble and plummets back to earth, apparently killing its occupant, Major John Corcoran (Michael Emmet). Unfortunately, Corcoran's body has become a breeding ground of extraterrestrial embryos, picked up while the rocket was in outer space. The tiny monsters grow and multiply, and before long Corcoran revives from the dead, literally impregnated by the alien beasts. After this promising and decidedly unorthodox buildup, the film goes downhill, settling for standard eek-eek shocks and a most unconvincing "blood beast", whose costume wouldn't have even passed muster at a Halloween party. Still, Night of the Blood Beast is at least half of a good, well-constructed horror flick. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Michael Emmet
    Michael Emmet - Maj. John Corcoran
  • Angela Greene
    Angela Greene - Dr. Julie Benson
  • Image coming soon
    John Baer - Steve Dunlap
  • Ed Nelson
    Ed Nelson - Dave Randall
  • Image coming soon
    Tyler McVey - Dr. Alex Wyman
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