You know those drama assignments where the drama coach gives the actors a prop and instructs them to improvise a scene using that prop? Horror of the Blood Monsters is kind of like that. Cheetah-print caveman costumes...okay we can make some vampire cavemen, sure. Model rocket...okay, the cavemen are on a different planet. That crab-man costume is freaking sweet, gotta find a place for that too...
If Horror of the Blood Monsters feels as though there are 3 different movies going on at once, it's due in no small part to the fact that it was cobbled together out of original footage and recycled footage from two other movies. Officially, about half of it was swiped from a completely nutso Filipino flick called Tagani -- that's where all the caveman stuff comes from. I also recognized some footage from One Million B.C. that had already been reused in Robot Monster. The recycled stuff is all black and white and the feature is in color. The filmmakers cover up this discrepency by explaining that there's a strange radioactive disturbance on this alien planet that causes the color of the atmosphere to change every few hours. Simplest thing probably would have been to just leave it on one color, but dammit, if you've got an orange filter and a green filter and a red filter and a pink filter and a purple filter, why not use all of the bastards?
The story is, a gang of vampires menacing at least one street corner on Earth, are traced back to a planet millions of miles away. The military sends a shuttle expedition, led by cranky Dr. Rynning (John Carradine) to investigate. The crew discovers on the planet a motley collection of prehistoric wildlife -- some brontosauri chewing kelp off in the distance, a woolly mammoth shaking its head, clearly thinking, "get this fuzzy imitation fur shit off of my elephant skin," some enormous iguanas having a battle royale, etc.
The crew winds up getting "involved" in a fight between a primitive race of humanoids called the Tagani and their attackers, the vampiric Tubaton. I say "involved" in quotes because all of the Tagani/Tubaton stuff is from the stock footage, so there's no real interaction at all.
We know their names and what the conflict is only because it's explained to them by a Tagani woman named Lian. The crew is able to communicate with Lian by implanting a translation device into her skull. Think that sounds cruel? It's worse: when she says her first word of English, Dr. Rynning exclaims, "It works!" They didn't even know it was going to work before they cut her head open.
Unperturbed by the wholly unethical thing that has just happened to her, Lian graciously explains the conflict between the two races. We see flashbacks of the two tribes fighting (insert Tagani footage) and then without any explanation, we're out of the flashback and back on Earth watching a man and a woman having virtual sex while wired to a steel box with a bunch of different colored cathode lights. Then, once again without explanation, we're back to the flashback.
A little while later, it happens again. This time, we spend more time with our two lovebirds, one of whom is the guy in charge of the ground command for the shuttle launch. He explains what's happening with the crew to his lover, demonstrating the color shift phenomenon with a special color gun.
Then they have more future sex, which we watch for...ever. For a few minutes of screen time, we're in that room with them listening to them moan, and the camera is all over that box of cathode lights. I can imagine the prop gophers for this film coming back from the prop room with this little doohickey and exclaiming, "Check out all these sirens and lights!" and the director exclaiming, "Sweeeet! We're going to film the hell out of that thing!"
So yeah, Horror of the Blood Monsters is an absolute shambles. But like the most beloved Ed Wood movies, there's an innocent enthusiasm for working with film gadgetry evident in every moment of this film. Yes, it's a mess, but it's an endearing mess. An early Thon favorite for the "So Bad, It's Good" award.