Pure Terror: Night of the Blood Beast

May 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Maybe I have watched too many bad movies but I find this movie to be very enjoyable. It is certainly better than most of the movies on the Pure Terror box set. That’s not a high bar, I know. Night of the Blood Beast is notorious for having been on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I would say it is in the upper half of movies that appeared on that show. People make the mistake of thinking that because a movie was on MST3K that the movie in question is one of the worst of all time. Similarly, these same people will see the name Roger Corman involved in the projects and make certain assumptions. I believe that, like most movies from American International Pictures, Night of the Blood Beast makes the most out of what little they had available. Unlike a movie like Guru the Mad Monk, these people were trying to make a good movie. Or at least an entertaining movie. All of that being said, don’t get me wrong, this is a cheesy b-sci fi movie from the late 50’s. But it is incredibly watchable. I also feel like they really captured the spirit of what this kind of movie is suppose to be. If you wanted a text book definition of late 50’s sci fi movies, this certainly qualifies. Scientist spend a lot of time in a lab talking about the philosophical implications of the situation they face, then they face the situation, destroy the menace, and warn the audience to watch the skies because the menace could be back any day now.

Major John Corcoran is on a routine space flight when things go bad. His ship gets damaged and he crash lands back to Earth. The rescue team tracks down the crash site and finds Corcoran mostly dead. I say mostly because while he has suffered from blunt force trauma and shows no life signs, his body hasn’t start to decompose or go through any of the stages the body is suppose to upon death. They get him back to the lab and find out he has blood pressure and an alien parasite in his blood. Then things get strange when Doctor Wyman is attacked by a mysterious creature. It ate his brain. Just then, Major Corcoran comes back to life. Walking, talking, the whole bit. The parasite is gone from his blood but down he has alien embryos in his body. Corcoran has also gain telepathy with the creature. He believes the creature is here for peaceful purposes.

The team uses Corcoran to track down the creature. The dramatic conclusion involves an info dump from the creature, whom now speaks in Doctor Wyman’s voice, and a philosophical debate before the humans decide to torch the alien. The end of this movie is a huge screenwriting no-no. We are told the story of the movie, not shown anything, other than the decision to kill the alien. The movie ends with exposition and lots of it. The alien certainly looks goofy and being given the voice of an elderly scientist did little to enhance his menace. The creature explains that he ate Doctor Wyman’s brain to learn our language and customs. He impregnated Corcoran to not only save his life but also to creature a new race of hybrid human-aliens. His world is dying and he wants to share his advanced culture with humanity and usher in a new stage of evolution. The humans doubt his sincerity and burns the alien alive, along with Corcoran and his alien hybrid fetus’s.

One thing I liked about the ending was that it’s not entirely clear that the humans did the right thing. It is entirely possible that the alien failed is diplomacy roll, resulting in a clumsy attempt at first contact. With his civilization dying, he may have been so desperate to save it that he made some hasty decisions that caused the humans not to trust him. I’m sure they had to wrap up the movie quickly due to budget concerns. The ending felt rushed, as did the costume for the alien. The movie would have been better served if they had developed some of the concepts that were info dumped at the end instead of just telling us the whole story.

Night of the Blood Beast was an enjoyable movie in my opinion. It benefits that I watched it after some really dreadful movies, so I was grateful that this movie was merely bad.  There was a good build up and a rushed pay off to the story. I feel like they should remake this and put a little more time into developing the plot. If you are a bad movie fan, chances are you have already seen this on MST3K. This is enjoyable to watch on its own. For general audiences, I can’t imagine they will get much out of this movie other than a good laugh at a cheesy old sci fi movie. Film students could probably gain more from watching other, better sci fi movies from the period, just to understand the history of the genre. Although, I will repeat, this is a good example of the genre. Night of the Blood Beast is worth checking out.

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Entry filed under: Horror. Tags: , , , , , , .

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