Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971)

Poster for Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971)Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971)
by #AlAdamson

w/ #JohnCarradine #KentTaylor #TommyKirk #ReginaCarrol

A mad doctor creates a fiend with an electronic brain.

“Human Zombies Rise From Their Coffins As Living Corpses”

#Horror #SciFi

What can I say about Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971)? It’s the third (or is it the fourth?) version of Al Adamson’s first feature film (not counting the movie he co-directed with his father).

According to Sam Sherman, it started life as something called Echo of Terror, which was a pretty good low budget crime film. Unfortunately, Al Adamson couldn’t find any distributor willing to take it. So, he added in some music and go-go dancing and changed the name to Psycho a Go Go (1965), which did find some limited distribution.

This is the first version of the movie that I ever saw – and I liked it. I wrote about it on a previous Friday:

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Psycho a Go Go (1965)

Still, it wasn’t a huge success. So, Adamson (and Sherman) got the idea to add some more footage into the movie and make it more of a horror film. They also hired famous actor John Carradine to appear in it. This would make the movie more marketable. They managed to sell it to television, where Sherman claims it played quite a bit in syndication. This version of the movie was called The Fiend with the Electronic Brain (1967) and I wrote about it on another Friday:

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Fiend with the Electronic Brain (1967)

Still not satisfied, Adamson and Sherman added even more horror footage to the movie – this time featuring zombies of a sort – plus some new scenes with character actors Tommy Kirk and Kent Taylor. And some scenes featuring Adamson’s wife, Regina Carrol. I believe that they were going for the drive-in market with this one, and they pretty much got it. Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971) played top and bottom halves of drive-in bills for years. 

Sherman admits that the best version of the movie is probably the original version that never saw the light of day. It just wasn’t marketable, and at the end of the day, this was a business. So, even though he had to compromise his artistic vision, Al Adamson was okay with “ruining” his movie to create these other films.

Ruining is my word, but Sherman has used it in the past to describe what he did to other movies by adding new footage, so I don’t think he would mind me using it here.

Basically, I think I agree with Sherman. Psycho a Go Go (1965) is my favourite version of this film. I can enjoy the added scenes with Carradine, and I’m always glad to see Regina Carrol, but basically the movie worked best as a low budget crime film. The added horror stuff is fine, but it doesn’t really belong. 

Of course, I haven’t seen the Echo of Terror version, which may have been the very first version (if it in fact exists). But I actually LIKE the songs performed by Tacey Robbins – and the go go dancing – so I think I’m going to assume that Psycho a Go Go is the most satisfying version of the movie. 

Still, Blood of Ghastly Horror (1971) is about as #NotQuiteClassicCinema as any movie can be. It was made for drive-ins, and it certainly deserves a chance to  improve – or ruin – your next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Fiend with the Electronic Brain (1967)

Vide box for The Fiend with the Electronic Brain AKA The Man with the Synthetic Brain (1967)#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

The Fiend with the Electronic Brain
The Man with the Synthetic Brain (1967)
by #AlAdamson

w/ #JohnCarradine #RoyMorton #TaceyRobbins

An injured Vietnam veteran becomes violently insane when a mad scientist experiments on his brain.

#Horror #SciFi


Not too long ago I reviewed an Al Adamson movie called Psycho a Go Go (1965). As I said then:

One of the things that Al Adamson is known for, is using footage from old movies to create new movies. Or adding new footage to old movies, retitling them, and releasing them as new movies.

Psycho a Go Go was Al’s first feature film, and the original version of… well, let’s call it Psycho a Go Go. In 1969 (or was it 1967?), Al re-edited it and added some new footage of legendary actor John Carradine, playing a mad scientist. The “new” movie was released as The Fiend with the Electronic Brain.

Still not satisfied (or perhaps just seeing another opportunity) Al added some more material, featuring other actors – including his future wife Regina Carrol. He called this “new” movie Blood of Ghastly Horror. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a TV version created in 1972 called The Man With the Synthetic Brain.

There seems to be a lot of discrepancy and differing opinions as to the dates of some of these versions of Psycho a Go Go. Severin’s big box set of Al Adamson movies has The Fiend with the Electronic Brain. listed as 1964 – the same year they list Psycho a Go Go. The IMDb claims Psycho a Go Go is from 1965. The IMDb doesn’t even list The Fiend with the Electronic Brain as a separate movie. They simply send you to the page for Blood of Ghastly Horror (which they say is from 1967). Severin lists Blood of Ghastly Horror as from 1971. 

Severin also includes, as an extra on their Blu-ray, the alternate title sequence for The Fiend with the Electronic Brain, which uses the title The Man With the Synthetic Brain. They also include the trailer. 

Confession: I had never seen The Fiend with the Electronic Brain before last Friday. When I tweeted about the movie (right before I watched it) I took some images from the trailer, which I logically assumed were images from the actual movie. They were not.

I am guessing that they are actually from a later cut of the movie (that uses the title The Man With the Synthetic Brain. But I can’t really say for sure. You can see those images in my tweet, below.

In reality, The Fiend with the Electronic Brain is pretty much the same movie as Psycho a Go Go, but with the added footage of John Carradine. He talks about the character of Joe Cory, played by Roy Morton, being a Vietnam veteran – and how he experimented on Joe (to save his life) but may have made him violently insane. Oops.

I had been looking forward to seeing the more zombie-like monster version of Joe, which I thought that I was seeing in the trailer. Sadly, he was not in this movie. Perhaps I can look forward to that in the next version of this epic, Blood of Ghastly Horror. Only time will tell.

Is The Fiend with the Electronic Brain an improvement over Psycho a Go Go? Probably not. If you’re a big John Carradine fan you might think so, as any John Carradine is better than no John Carradine. It’s perhaps slightly crazier than the original movie, but I’ve always liked Psycho a Go Go as it was (and thought that it was plenty crazy in it’s own way). Still, I enjoyed this “new” version – and I think it’s a fascinating artifact for any fan of Al Adamson. I’ve always wondered about his penchant for reusing his old work, and now I can see one of the many stages of this strange film’s development.

Whatever you call it, The Fiend with the Electronic Brain is undoubtedly #NotQuiteClassicCinema. For fans of Al, it’s almost certainly a must see. And as I said the last time:

There are few sure things in this life, but I would say that any movie with Al Adamson’s name on it is going to enliven any #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.