Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Reappraisal After All These Years: "Bloodtide" (1982)

This not-bad horror film was shot on a Greek islands, and features an Oscar familiar cast, and I spoil the hell out of this thing.

Martin Kove and Mary Louise Weller are newly married. They spend their honeymoon searching for Kove's sister Deborah Shelton, who disappeared somewhere in the Greek islands. Niagara Falls was booked? Anyway, they find her immediately, but are trapped on the island by evil mayor/sheriff Jose Ferrer. Shelton is not herself, either, constantly spacing out and looking over the ocean. Kove and Weller also find James Earl Jones, a blustery kind of guy who is diving on a site filled with ancient coins and a mysterious walled up cave entrance. Jones' girlfriend, and soon to be monster lunch, is the lovely Lydia Cornell, of TV's "Too Close for Comfort." She is relegated to the dumb blonde role here, too. Jones blows the wall open, but decides to search within later. Big mistake, since he releases that giant land and sea monster that the islanders used to sacrifice virgins to. Guess what? Shelton is referred to as "the crazy virgin" by the islanders, and seems to be next on the monster's "to eat" list. Lila Kedrova is wasted as the local nun who does not much more than cross herself and warn of impending doom. Cornell is killed, and the leftover cast decides to do away with the monster. Jones makes the ultimate sacrifice (using his body as a serving tray for a plastic explosive snack), and the honeymooning couple and the crazy virgin sail away into the sunset.

Besides the waste of Kedrova, Shelton's reasons for being on the island in the first place are very fuzzy. She is restoring an art print at the monastery, which reveals the monster/virgin legend, and she apparently brought Jones to the island, but how and why she is there is never really cleared up. Was her draw because she knew she would be a sacrifice? Or was it the pretty beaches? Don't know. Likewise with Cornell's presence. For such an isolated island, they sure get a lot of American tourists. There is also an incestuous subplot between Kove and Shelton that is hinted at but never expanded on.

Two B horror movie legends behind the camera, Brian Trenchard-Smith and Nico Mastorakis, are listed in the opening credits in various occupations, and they may have had something to do with many of the film's good moments. There are some suspenseful scenes, and the monster is pretty ugly and a little scary. The gore mostly takes place under water, possibly a result of the film's low budget.

All in all, I liked "Bloodtide." Where else will you hear the beautiful Deborah Shelton warble the end credits song (that she wrote the lyrics to), or see James Earl Jones in a scuba wet suit...then again, THAT is scary. I recommend this one, although it is far from perfect. This is unrated, but contains physical violence, gore, some profanity, some sexual content, and adult situations. (* * *) out of five stars.

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