Night of the Blood Beast (1958)

Night of the Blood Beast (1958) movie poster

director  Bernard L. Kowalski
viewed: 10/26/2016

When you’ve watched enough Roger Corman 1950’s horror and science fiction films, you begin to feel that there is a rather low ceiling to how high the quality will ever rise.  But like any creative toiling prolifically in pulp, especially one who brought on lots of first time talent on the cheap, every once in a while, something more interesting comes along.

Re-using the monster costume from his film Teenage Cave Man shot only weeks before, Night of the Blood Beast is typically cheap but atypically interesting.  It was written by Martin Varno (his only writing credit per IMDb), apparently under the spell of Howard Hawks’s The Thing from Another World (1951).  It has, however, more in common with The First Man in Space (1959), a pair of space race sci-fi/horror stories about what might happen when man first made it out of Earth’s atmosphere and tried to return.

In Night of the Blood Beast, the pilot comes back dead but impregnated with alien fetuses and revivified by the creatures he carries inside him.  The monster is pretty silly looking but the image of the embryos under the fluoroscope, as well as an opening title image and visions of cells under the microscope are cheaply but interestingly animated and drawn.  There is also a suggestively gruesome corpse with half its face torn off, dripping blood in near silhouette.

I would not try to suggest that this is necessarily “good” science fiction, but there are some interesting ideas here.  The male impregnation is definitely on of them.  The script also has the pregnant pilot struggling with empathy for the aliens (for whom all the other humans have a “destroy first and ask questions later” attitude about.  It’s almost as though the story was hedging its bets as to whether these were benign aliens or true “blood beasts” until the very end.

Ultimately, I think this has a bit more going for it than some give it credit for.  It surprised me a bit.

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