Where Brides of Blood (1968) was the first of the Blood Island trilogy of films, Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968) was the most popular, and this one, the third and final feature in the series titled Beast of Blood (1971) was actually the most successful, appearing in more venues and drawing in larger audiences due to the popularity of the previous two films. Produced, co-written, and directed by Eddie Romero (Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Brides of Blood, Beast of the Yellow Night), the film features John Ashley (High School Caesar, Muscle Beach Party, Hell On Wheels) and Celeste Yarnall (The Face of Eve, The Velvet Vampire). Also appearing is Eddie Garcia (Black Mamba, Sudden Death), Bruno Punzalan (Mad Doctor of Blood Island), and Beverly Miller (Beast of the Yellow Night), who also provided the story (a rather lame one at that, I might add).
Picking up directly where Mad Doctor of Blood Island left off we see Dr. Bill Foster (Ashley) on a ship heading away from Blood Island, but things go awry as the fungus man/beast with green blood and homicidal tendencies, who stowed away on the ship prior to its leaving, goes insane in the membrane (insane in the brain!), killing a number of crewmen with an axe before causing a fire that ultimately destroys the vessel. Both Bill and the creature escape, the former knocked unconscious and later rescued while the latter returns to the island, slightly crispier from the fire and soggier from the water. Sometime afterward we see Bill returning to the island (God knows why), along with a plucky reporter named Myra Russell (Yarnall) who's just itching to get the scoop on the not so groovy happenings on the island. The natives don't seem all that happy to see Bill, probably due to the fact that whenever he shows up, things tend to go down the tubes. If'n it were up to me, I'd probably kill his tainted ash and be done with it, but whatever...another thing I've noticed...there aren't as many attractive native women around as there was previously, probably due to the fact a good number of them were either killed of sacrificed in the past. Well, at least there is one that stands out, a slightly pudgy, scantily clad woman named Laida, whom I'm sure Ashley's character will get an opportunity to bag later on...anyway, events lead up to Bill discovering Dr. Lorca, played by Eddie Garcia here, along with his bald. Mute, machete-wielding manservant Razak (Punzalan), managed to survive the last film (a little worse for wear in Lorca's case as besides a limp, he now sports an eye patch and the entire left side of his face had been melted). Not only that, but he's been continuing his `green blood' experiments in a secret laboratory set in the mountains, having captured the fungus man after it washed up on the beach. Poor fungus man...not only is he singed and subsequently quite a bit funkier than before, but now Lorca has gone off and removed his head, keeping both parts alive while conducting vile and nasty experiments on various prisoners. Eventually Lorca kidnaps Myra, Bill mounts a rescue, yadda, yadda, yadda...
It's interesting as in the previous two Blood Island films, there wasn't so much an actual story, but a series of loosely connected events leading up to climatic finales. In Beast of Blood, there is a bit more of a structured story, so it's a little easier to follow, but the downside is so little actually happens. The film opens with a bang, followed by an excessive amount of tedium, capped off with decent ending. Seriously, so much time is spent watching the main characters traipsing around the jungle doing a whole lot of nothing. I was disappointed how little creature action there was in this movie, compared to the previous films...the main monster, who actually looks decent compared to the previous film, spends most of its time with its head on a tray and its body on a gurney, connected to an assortment of electronic gizmos (as I mentioned earlier, Lorca removed the head and managed to keep the separate parts alive). The creature make-up looks a bit more sophisticated than in the previous films, indicating perhaps a slightly larger budget was allocated, but, like I said, there's not much creature action, so it all felt a little pointless. You know what's really funny to me in these films is how Ashley, a poor man's Elvis (besides an actor, Ashley was also a rockabilly singer) was portrayed. Ashley was a modestly handsome man, I'll give him that, but if you were to believe the characters in these films you'd think no creature, woman nor beast, with a pair of ovaries was able to resist Ashley's manly charms, oozing machismo, mutton chop sideburns, and duck tailed hairdo ala Fonzie from the sitcom "Happy Days". Seriously, in each one of these movies he's got like at least two women throwing themselves at him, begging to be shagged by this 1950s throwback. Oddly enough, Bill declines to get it on with the busty native woman Laida (he probably saw how handy she was with a knife), but does manage to pull it together to put it to Myra (Ms.Yarnall had quite the attractive figure, and we do get to see a bit of it during the shagging aka bungle in the jungle sequence). As far as the gore content, there is some spurting blood as we see one hapless schmuck get tossed into a tiger trap (a hole covered in leaves, the bottom populated by sharpened, wooden stakes), while another gets riddled in the chest by a machine gunner with a twitchy finger (Lorca's mercenary army was less than capable). In another sequence we actually see Lorca in an operating room, cutting (more like hacking) into the flesh of something with a scalpel (it was meant to be a human, but I suspect it was a deceased goat). While entertaining, I just didn't get the overall sense of filthy fun I had gotten from the previous films. The potential was here (I liked the headless fungus man bits), but sans the sleaze this comes off as just another jungle adventure flick with the occasional appearance of a monster.
The restored picture, presented in fullscreen (1.33:1) format, on this Image Entertainment release looks very good. It does show signs of aging (some lines, white specking, etc.). The Dolby Digital mono audio comes through very well. As far as extras included, there's a short audio commentary track featuring distributor Sam Sherman, an interview with director Eddie Romero, an interview w/ Celeste Yarnell conducted by Sam Sherman, a `lost' opening sequence, a "House of Terror" live horror show promo, a still gallery, liner notes by Jim Arena, a Beast of Blood essay by Christopher William Koenig, and a trailer for this film, along with ones for Brides of Blood (1968), Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968), Brain of Blood (1972), Blood of the Vampires (1971), The Blood Drinkers (1966), Raiders of the Living Dead (1986), and Horror of the Blood Monster (1970).
By the way, if you're interesting in getting this DVD release, I'd suggest trying to find the four DVD set titled The Blood Island Vacation, released by Image Entertainment, which includes the following...Brides of Blood (1968), Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968), Beast of Blood (1971), and Brain of Blood (1972). It appears significantly less expensive than buying the titles separately.