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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

BRAIN OF BLOOD -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

(BRAIN OF BLOOD is part of Severin Films' "Hemisphere Box of Horrors" Collection along with CURSE OF THE VAMPIRES, THE BLOOD DRINKERS, and THE BLACK CAT/ TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM.)

Al Adamson fans who can't get enough of such films as DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN, THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES, and HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS should take special interest in Severin Films' new Blu-ray release of the 1971 Adamson horror-thriller BRAIN OF BLOOD

Originally released by Hemisphere Pictures, it was intended to resemble their quickie Philippines-lensed flicks which had been so successful for them. Adamson managed to pull this off, giving it much the same sleazy, gore-drenched ambience as previous Hemisphere horrors such as BEAST OF BLOOD, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND, and BRIDES OF BLOOD.

Still, it looks and feels enough like his work to please his fans.  Shot quickly and cheaply with a script that doesn't always make sense, BRAIN OF BLOOD ranges from competent (Adamson's staging of the brain transplant sequence is particularly good, and there's a nifty car chase ending in a fiery crash down the side of a cliff) to slapdash, as in some of the later scenes of the monster's pursuit which tend to drag.

The story involves the dying ruler of a Middle Eastern country who plans to have his brain transplanted into a healthy young body. The American surgeon who performs the operation, Dr. Trenton, turns out to be a mad doctor with a dungeon stocked with captive young girls to experiment on and a sadistic dwarf assistant named Dorro who enjoys tormenting them. 

When no other suitable donor body can be found, Dr. Trenton removes the brain (in the film's most gruesome sequence) and pops it into the body of his other assistant Gor, a seven-foot-four acid-scarred galoot with the mind of a child (John Bloom of THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT).

This not only upsets the ruler's blonde bombshell wife Tracy (Adamson's own wife and frequent star Regina Carrol) and their associates Bob (Grant Williams) and Mohammed (Zandor Vorkov), but proves disastrous when the confused behemoth escapes from the laboratory and runs loose.

Meanwhile, dungeon captive Katherine (Vicki Volante) manages to shed her shackles, her subterranean ordeal giving the film a bit of a medieval flavor.  She'll later hook up with Bob as they battle the pathetic brain-beast that Gor has become, as two personalities battle for dominance within his own skull.

The cast is terrific, led by venerable stars Kent Taylor (BRIDES OF BLOOD, THE CRAWLING HAND, PHANTOM FROM 10,000 LEAGUES) as Dr. Trenton and Reed Hadley (THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL, "Racket Squad") as the stricken ruler, Amir.

Also on hand are THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN himself, Grant Williams, plus Adamson regulars Zandor Vorkov and John Bloom of DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN and the aforementioned Regina Carrol. The mad dwarf Dorro is played by genre stalwart Angelo Rossitto (FREAKS).

BRAIN OF BLOOD isn't the most insane Al Adamson movie I've seen, but there are times when it gets pretty darn close.  With such a delightfully eclectic cast and nutty plot, not to mention a 7'4" monster who looks like a jar of Grey Poupon blew up in his face, it pushes the needle pretty high on the fun scale. 

Order it from Severin Films
Order the Hemisphere Box of Horrors From Severin Films

Special Features:

    Memories Of Blood: Interviews With Director Al Adamson, Producer Samuel M. Sherman, Associate Producer J.P. Spohn, Actor Zandor Vorkov, Actor Sean Graver, and Filmmaker Fred Olen Ray
    Partial Audio Commentary With Producer/Co-Writer Samuel M. Sherman
    Radio Spot
    English Captions

Brain of Blood trailer:

Hemisphere Box of Horrors trailer:


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