Film Review: Night of the Blood Beast (1958)

Also known as: Creature From Galaxy 27 (working title)
Release Date: August, 1958
Directed by: Bernard L. Kowalski
Written by: Martin Varno, Gene Corman
Music by: Alexander Laszlo
Cast: Michael Emmet, Angela Greene, John Baer, Ed Nelson

American International Pictures, 62 Minutes

Review:

“A wounded animal that large isn’t good!” – Dr. Alex Wyman

Night of the Blood Beast was not directed by Roger Corman but he produced it along with his brother Gene, who also co-authored the script.

It fits in with the substance and style of those other late 1950s Corman pictures. It has a big cheesy monster, bad acting, bad dialogue and a fairly scant run time. Also, this Corman flick was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

This film was released on a double bill with She Gods of Shark Reef. Like typical Corman productions, it was made quickly and cheaply. The script was completed in six weeks by 21 year-old Martin Varno. It was then shot in just seven days at the Charlie Chaplin studios, as well as some location shooting at Bronson Canyon. The alien suit was actually used previously by Corman on his film Teenage Caveman.

By modern standards, people will find the film to be slow and boring, even at 62 minutes. However, the plot isn’t that bad. It sees an astronaut crash back down to Earth, dead. However, in his body, alien seeds are gestating. There is a slow build until we finally get to the big monster reveal. And sure, the monster isn’t anything exceptional but it has the right sort of hokey charm that one can expect from a sci-fi creature from a Corman picture of this era.

The picture is better than most pictures like it. It isn’t so straightforward in its derivative narrative of “Here comes the evil alien creature, kill it before it kills us!” There are some layers to it. The layers and plot flourishes aren’t amazing or anything but at least more thought went into this than most sci-fi horror cheapies of the era.

This is far from the worst of Corman’s productions but it also isn’t the best. It fits somewhere in the middle but leans into the positive end of the spectrum.

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