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Terror Is a Man (also known as Blood Creature, Creature from Blood Island, The Gory Creatures, Island of Terror and Gore Creature[1]) is a 1959[2] black-and-white Filipino/American horror film directed by Gerardo de Leon.[3]

Terror Is a Man
Poster of the movie Terror Is a Man.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGerardo de Leon
Produced byKane W. Lynn
Eddie Romero
Written byPaul Harber (writer)
H.G. Wells (novel The Island of Dr. Moreau)(uncredited)
StarringFrancis Lederer
Greta Thyssen
Richard Derr
Oscar Keesee
Flory Carlos
Music byAriston Avelino
CinematographyEmmanuel I. Rojas
Edited byGervacio Santos
Distributed byValiant Films (United States)
E.J. Fancey (United Kingdom)
Astral Films (Canada)
Hemisphere Pictures (re-release)
Release date
December, 1959
Running time
89 minutes
CountryPhilippines/United States
LanguageEnglish

It was the first in a series produced by Eddie Romero and Kane W. Lynn known as the "Blood Island" series, which also included Brides of Blood, The Mad Doctor of Blood Island and Beast of Blood. All four films took place on an island called Blood Island, named for its vivid red-hued sunsets.[4]

The film focuses on a shipwreck survivor washed ashore on a small island where a scientist is experimenting on a panther in an effort to make it human.

PlotEdit

William Fitzgerald (Richard Derr), the lone survivor of a shipwreck, washes ashore on Blood Island. He is found by Dr. Charles Girard (Francis Lederer), a scientist who has set up a laboratory on the isolated island with his disenchanted wife, Frances (Greta Thyssen), and his assistant Walter Perrera (Oscar Keesee). The island's natives fear Dr. Girard, as he has been experimenting on a panther, surgically changing it with a series of painful operations into a half-man/half-panther beast, which occasionally escapes from its cage and kills an unwary villager. The creature is swathed in bandages, but his cat-like eyes and ears are still evident. The creature is attracted to Frances, as she is the only person on the island who shows him pity.

As time passes on the island, Fitzgerald and Frances eventually fall in love, and she asks him to take her away. The creature manages to free itself once again, but Walter sets the beast on fire and is able to recapture the scorched monster. Later, the beast escapes again and goes on a rampage, killing Walter and a young servant girl named Selene, and abducting Frances, carrying her off into the jungle. With William and Charles in hot pursuit, the creature is eventually cornered on the edge of a cliff, where it manages to hurl the mad doctor to his death. Before the creature can turn on the others, it is shot several times by William. Fleeing towards the beach, the wounded creature is helped by a young native boy, Tiago (Selene's little brother), and the unconscious beast drifts out to sea in a small rowboat.[5]

CastEdit

  • Francis Lederer as Dr. Charles Girard
  • Greta Thyssen as Frances Girard
  • Richard Derr as William Fitzgerald
  • Oscar Keesee as Walter Perrera
  • Lilia Duran as Selene
  • Peyton Keesee as Tiago - the boy
  • Flory Carlos as the beast-man

ProductionEdit

The film was partially based on H.G. Wells' novel Island of Dr. Moreau, although Wells is uncredited in the film.[6][7][5]

In its early stages, the project was referred to as The Beast of Blood Island. As with most of the films in the "Blood Island" series, it was shot entirely in Manila, Philippines.

ReleaseEdit

The film was theatrically released in the U.S. in December 1959[2] on a double feature with another Eddie Romero film, The Scavengers.[8] It was re-released to theaters in 1969 by distributor Sam Sherman as Blood Creature.[9] A warning bell gimmick sounding like a telephone ringer warned the audience of impending gore during a surgical sequence.[10]

Home mediaEdit

The film was initially released on DVD on June 8, 1999 by Image Entertainment. It was next released as a double feature with Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory by Madacy on March 20, 2001 as part of their "Killer Creature Double Feature" DVD series. Madacy also re-released the film as a part of its five-disc Killer Creature collection on October 5, 2004. Fox Lorber later released the film on September 9, 2003. It was last released by Alpha Video on September 25, 2012.[11]

ReceptionEdit

New York Times critic Howard Thompson gave the film a positive review, complimenting the cinematography and calling it "quiet, sensibly restrained and quite terrifying".[12] Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 2 out of 4 stars, writing that the film "came to life during the last third of the picture".[13]VideoHound gave the film a similar score of 2 out of 4 bones.[6] Hans J. Wollstein from Allmovie criticized the film's photography and stilted direction, calling it "hilariously silly".[14] On his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar said, "I've never quite known what to make of this off-beat variation on the Dr. Moreau story. In fact, off-beat doesn't seem like the right way to explain it; it's not what happens that is unusual, it's how it is handled. It almost seems like it isn't trying to be a horror movie; the characters are fleshed out quietly and subtly, and it refuses to make easy moral statements or decisions. I don't think it's quite successful, but I think it's trying for something out of the ordinary". Sindelar concluded his review by calling it "one of the better horror films to come out of the Philippines".[15] In their book Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Sequels, Series and Remakes, authors Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars, calling it "atmospheric and spooky".[16]

In his book Terror on Tape, James O'Neill wrote, "The first and best Filipino horror film, this grim variation on The Island of Dr. Moreau is better than you'd imagine. Dank photography and good acting beef up this talky flick, which finally bursts into action in the last half hour".[17] Michael Weldon, author of The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, said the film was "the original and best Filipino horror film". He also theorized that the unusual ending of the film was influenced by the ending of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Terror Is a Man (1959) - Notes - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.com. TCM. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b Warren, Bill (1986). Keep Watching The Skies Volume 2. McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-89950-170-2. Page 768
  3. ^ Leavold, Andrew (2006). "Strong Coffee with a National Treasure:An Interview with Eddie Romero". Cashiers du Cinemart.
  4. ^ Ray, Fred Olen (1991). The New Poverty Row. McFarland and Co. Inc. ISBN 0-89950-628-3. Page 71
  5. ^ a b Jeff Rovin (1989). The Encyclopedia of Monsters. Facts on File. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-8160-1824-6.
  6. ^ a b Jim Craddock (2011). VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. Gale/Cengage Learning. p. 1013. ISBN 978-1-4144-4878-7.
  7. ^ Hutchings 2009, pp. 115.
  8. ^ p. 36, Smith, Don G., H.G. Wells on Film: The Utopian Nightmare, McFarland, 15 July 2002
  9. ^ Ray, Fred Olen (1991). The New Poverty Row. McFarland and Co. Inc. ISBN 0-89950-628-3. Page 83
  10. ^ O'Neill, James (1994). Terror on Tape. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7612-1. Page 342
  11. ^ "Terror Is a Man (1959) - Gerardo (Gerry) de Leon". Allmovie.com. AllMovie. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  12. ^ "quiet, sensibly restrained and quite terrifying". New York Times.com. Howard Thompson. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  13. ^ Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 664. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
  14. ^ Wollstein, Hans. "Terror Is a Man (1959) - Gerardo (Gerry) de Leon". Allmovie.com. Hans J. Wollstein. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  15. ^ Sindelar, Dave. "Terror is a Man (1959)". FantsticMovieMusings.com. Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  16. ^ Kim R Holston; Tom Winchester (16 June 2016). Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Sequels, Series and Remakes: An Illustrated Filmography with Plot Synopses and Critical Commentary, Volume I. McFarland. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-7864-9388-3.
  17. ^ O'Neill, James (1994). Terror on Tape. Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-7612-1. Page 342
  18. ^ Weldon, Michael (1983). The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film. Ballantine Books. ISBN 345-34345-5 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: Invalid ISBN.. Page 700

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