Horror has always been of a chop ‘em up variety, and not just with bodies hacked to bits onscreen. Film is cobbled together from old projects, scenes (and many a musical score) are stolen, and projects are slapped together willy-nilly on zero budgets.
The straight-to-on-demand releases of today found in the ads of Fangoria share a lot with the classic Hammer monster films of the 50s and 60s: “I don’t care how good the movie is, just throw some blood in it and get it to the people, fast.” Hell, release the same movie twice, three times — and use the same footage from your first feature.
It’s the American way, and that’s exactly what horror writer/director Al Adamson did for Blood of Ghastly Horror (1972, aka ‘Fiend with the Electronic Brain’).
After pilfering his 1965’s crime thriller Psycho A-Go-Go, he threw in a zombie subplot to make for a cut-up mess that makes as much sense as a mess can — which is just about none.
Presented in Chill-O-Rama, a crazed Vietnam veteran (Tommy Kirk) is implanted with an electronic brain by a mad scientist (John Carradine), which is all well and good when you’re looking to perform a bank heist with a brain-dead conterpart (as luck would have it, some jewel thieves are). But it turns all well and bad when the guy goes postal, strangles some dancing girls, and comes back to the mad scientist for REVENGE.
The cops catch up with him — in Lake Tahoe of all places — and successfully take him out, leaving the veteran’s father to take the course of REVENGE. I could describe more, but I sense you’re as bored as I am. How does coffee sound? You like pour-overs? I know a place, let’s head out (big thanks to Cavett Binion of Rovi for helping me piece this one together: I seriously believed I was having a stroke at more than a few points).
The flick comes after Adamson’s better-known Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) and Satan’s Sadists (1969), both of which are far more fun B-movie ventures. Blood of Ghastly Horror was also released no less than three times under titles like The Fiend with the Electronic Brain and The Man with the Synthetic Brain. There’s nothing to say about the blue-skinned zombie here: close-ups at the film’s beginning are almost impossible to distinguish. Some of Adamson’s piecework is unintentionally hilarious, through. Fortunately, lines like, “There’s a connection in all these horrible murders” can easily be interpreted as “all these horrible mechanical zombie murders.” Still, another subplot might as well be “horrible swathed in peanut butter and fed to poodles murders.” And still, “horrible death by chocolate — no, actual, literal death by chocolate—murders.”
Step One: Undead, Step Two: Profit
I suppose plot doesn’t matter much when you’re at the drive-in and only stealing glimpses while making out with a girl in the front seat. Adamson got paid (at least I hope….somehow), and you had something to do, so everyone’s happy. But I do get pissed when one certain audience is robbed: fans. Too many producers out there — some small, and some enormous — are trying to take our money and time by throwing undead into a title found in the bargain bin. Blood of Ghastly Horror: what’s inside doesn’t deliver. What’s inside seems to be assembled by a man with a mechanical malfunctioning brain. Wait… I GET IT! Wait, no I don’t. Still blows.
Watch Blood of Ghastly Horror (1972):
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Written by: Ben Mueller