This special “I can’t believe it has been so long” edition of What I Watched Last Night presents a classic, double creature feature from the islands of “It’s More Fun in the” Philippines. Come to a land of beautiful sunsets, lush jungles, gorgeous, exotic women, blood thirsty vampires and horny, homicidal plant-people monsters and prepare your mind for the Twin Tales of Tagalog Terror!
The first feature was 1964’s The Blood Drinkers (aka Blood is the Color of Night), directed by Gerardo de León. The Blood Drinkers was the good movie for the night, a sure fire winner of a vampire film with its tragic love story and doomed search for redemption. There is even a rubber bat (named Basra!)
Gerardo de León created a vibrant palette, beautiful and daring, to add a colorful layer to the story. Scenes go from full color to blood red or icy blue, sometimes in a single frame, as the story proceeds to its fiery climax. Think Mario Bava, set to 11. I live in the world that believes it this was a creative decision on the part of the director and not due to a shortage of color film stock. But it was too illogical and inconsistent for most everyone's tastes. There is more about The Blood Drinkers here.
But it was equally surprising how much everyone loved Brides of Blood (1968, directed by de Leon and Filipino auteur, Eddie Romero), the first part of The Blood Island Trilogy. Brides of Blood acted as a marketing campaign to showcase what a filmmaker’s paradise the archipelago was with its cooperative government and cheap labor. The history of exploitation films and the Marcos Era Philippine Islands is long, colorful and rich, especially for fans of Schlock and Ew! filmmaking. The documentary Machete Maidens Unleashed is a great introduction to this crazy world and is available for streaming via Netflix.
Brides of Blood was built on the formula Blood-Breasts-Beasts.
To add international cachet to the Filipino production, three American actors were imported to star: B-Movie staple Kent Taylor, second tier teen heartthrob John Ashley (who made a second career out producing and starring in Filipino films for many years) and Beverly Powers (under the name Beverly Hills!) were the three Americans who came to Blood Island while a man in a green rubber monster suit was tearing apart the young daughters of the natives (who fight monsters in colorful loin cloths, sarongs and leis.)
|Kent Taylor, Beverly Hills, John Ashley and Filipino actress Eva Darren|
|Eva Darren and her band perform their version of "Jungle Fever"|
Interesting side note, Beverly Hills, after many years playing strippers and party girls became an ordained minister in Hawaii.