It’s been a while since I had a chance to sit down with a bad old horror movie and just fall in love with it. Being as such, I’m likely to be a bit softer on this review than I might otherwise be.
The poster, at least this version of it, is pretty sweet. Maybe just by accident but the stripped down style is pretty direct. Three colors, black (ish), white and red. It’s like a White Stripes video!
Ok, I’m reaching. I do like it in a campily classic sort of way. The buxom blonde in her nighty threatened by the horror of the undead is an awesome staple of these kinds of flicks. We also have the mad scientist dealing with his undead creation in the background.
Can you dig the glass coffin?
Ok so the placement of the figures is a bit off. The zombie on the left isn’t actually facing the woman. Look at his feet, they aren’t pointing at her at all. Maybe it’s intentional, as if he might stumble right by her and come after the viewer instead. The zombie in the background though is definitely making eyes at her so I think maybe he’s got a shot.
This might actually be the worst movie ever made that still maintains some level of entertainment value. The badly put together flashbacks, goofy dated music and acting is so far out there this movie is PERFECT viewing when you and your movie loving buddies are a few drinks in and ready to laugh at the first half of the movie and stop paying attention after that only to tune in occasionally and say “WTF is going on here?”
So if you lost the plot like I did I’ll fill you in at least a little bit. A Vietnam soldier was shot and left brain dead only to be reanimated by a pioneering doctor who developed a way to help the brain take over the functions of the damaged section. All well and good but the person the experiment was done on wakes up a psycho killer. Then a lot of other things happen. (Yep.)
Right off the bat we get some pretty unrealistic killings by a zombie with some serious ninja skills. He sneaks up COMPLETELY silently as no-one notices him at all. He kills about five people in the space of a minute by choking them to death.
Not only does he choke them but he does it FAST! The fist pair he does at the same time; killing a john and a hooker who goes crosseyed like crazy. It’s actually pretty comical.
Are these guys even zombies? Do they eat their victims? This isn’t the first zombie flick I’ve written about where the dead, though zombified, don’t eat the living. It actually seems to be a staple of the time and the influence of the zombie’s origin in voodoo culture which is directly referenced here.
This movie is FULL of incredible signs of the low budget poorly planned and acted schlock of the era. Plot points are jumped to with little realism or clear flow and the dialogue is often stiffer and less lifelike than the zombies.
I couldn’t help but feel there was a real parallel between Bella Lugosi appearing in Plan 9 and David Carradine appearing in this.
So apparently this movie got kicked around a lot in different forms. Originally shot as a crime drama called “Psycho a Go Go” in 1965 it was later recut with new footage and called “The Fiend with the Electronic Brain,” before more extra footage was added and it was released in the form we are dealing with here that includes zombies. This 1972 film is the “Blood of Ghastly Horror” whatever that means.
Looking about online I found a couple different versions of that sequence but whatever happened it’s a good example of how a lot of these low budget flicks could get kicked around, recut and reedited to make totally different movies. Since they would run with limited releases it would be unlikely people would notice or even care.
Today, we see bits lifted from other movies still happening. There was the 90’s debacle when Star Trek Generations lifted the climactic effects shots from Star Trek VI and more recently when Michael Bay lifted footage from his own movie the Island to be reused in Transformers. Perhaps the worst example of a director recutting his movie and adding extra footage is the original Star Wars movies. I finally saw the fully restored version put together by fans recently and WOW! It’s a totally different film. It’s WAY better than anything I remember from growing up.
It’s ugly but it’s part of the industry.