Good, gruesome climax mostly saves rather slow thriller.
Doghouse King | Omaha, NE United States | 08/13/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Peter Blood (no relation to Captain) has a problem. His name makes it obvious he's the villain. But I jest; certainly his is a convenient moniker, at least for horror movie purposes, with Frankenstein being taken, but since the people in this movie are quite thick-headed his secret stays safe for a long time. His real problem is that he has discovered a way to bring the dead back to life, and cannot make the simpletons around him see that it is okay for him to vivisect living humans to gain the parts he needs.
He returns to his childhood home on the English coast, after being kicked out of medical school in Vienna for his grisly dealings. His town has been wracked with disappearances and thefts over the past while, and the audience knows Blood has been doing it, because the opening scene showed him to be a madman. Yet for a few minutes the filmmakers hide his face as if this movie is going to be a mystery. Apparently news of his transgressions at school did not make it back home, because he is welcomed with open arms. He promptly pitches in on trying to locate the fiend, while simultaneously using his medical knowledge and good reputation to lead the authorities astray, as well as romancing the beguilingly beautiful Hazel Court, a nurse in his father's clinic. We instinctively know all this hard work is going to catch up to Blood, because, well, he's a crazed villain. And besides, you're just not supposed to date your co-workers.
Anyway, Blood dispatches a few more villagers, is nearly discovered when one crawls away and barely lacks the strength to ID him, is discovered, kills one more, is discovered again, by Hazel, and races off to the cave where he has been keeping his still-living victims and performing his experiments.
If the flick hasn't been exactly bad up to this point, but merely pokey and obvious, here's where it gets good. He finally succeeds in his experiment, transplanting a still-beating heart into Hazel's dead husband's corpse. This he does to spite her for rejecting his creepy advances. Talk about holding a grudge. The moldy stiff gets up and attacks Hazel. The cops seem to have stopped for tea on the way, and are nowhere to be found, as the undead fiend from heck menaces our heroine. But Blood, in a fit of conscience(?), stops the thing and fights with it himself. For a dead guy, Hazel's ex sure can scrap. Not that we can see much in the sloppily-directed Toho-esque elbows-and-angles style bout. At any rate, his transplanted heart must have been like a diesel engine, because the rotting man manages to strangle Blood. Then he expires himself, for some unknown reason. Hazel stumbles out of the cave, to the police, who act like they had intended to storm the cave but had experienced car troubles.
That is a happy ending, I suppose, although I still don't know where the titular Coffin of Dr. Blood fits into the story. That seems a more fitting title for any eventual sequel. But I digress.
Kieron Moore does well as Dr. Blood, but looks vaguely like a somewhat handsomer Cosmo Kramer, spoiling his manic performance a trifle. Hazel Court does very well just being Hazel Court. Her uncredited dead husband looks suitably grody.
But the story's pacing and seen-it-all-before nature hurt. The modern setting didn't help, either; there's a lot less mystique to the 1960's than to the 1860's. With phones in existence, why didn't someone from Vienna warn the town a dangerous mad scientist was on his way? And how did Blood beat Hazel and the cops back to the cave by enough of a margin to complete open-heart surgery? In horse-and-buggy days, I might have overlooked it, but in Volkswagen times, that plot convenience sticks out sorely.
The print is surprisingly good for a company that allows typos on the box and cannot be bothered to get their brief synopsis correct.
In summation, I've made much sport of this movie, and it is funny in a dry way, but it's mostly well-done and I do recommend it for genre fans.
See also: The Hammer Frankensteins; Mania; The Body Snatcher"
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Peter Blood (Kieron Moore from Day Of The Triffids) returns to the tiny village of his youth, in order to fulfill his dream of re-animating the dead. Alas, the town-folk aren't very understanding, forcing Blood to operate in secrecy. Thankfully, the cops are incompetent boobs who cannot fathom why people just keep vanishing and / or turning up dead. The loverly Hazel Court plays a nurse, and Ian Hunter is Dr. Blood's dad. DBC is a gruesome little chiller w/ a snappy zombie-rises-to-seek-revenge finalé. Great stuff..."
Cheezy describes the audio track on this DVD
Ron M. | Rutherford, NJ USA | 08/31/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Don't know about the earlier Alpha release on both VHS and DVD of this film, but the audio track on the Cheezy Flicks release is for the birds -- muffled, out of sync. Otherwise, it's a good flick, with Hazel Court looking absolutely gorgeous in her prime. Call me a chauvinist, but she was (and I'm sure still is) a real beauty, and someone with great class and dignity."
Alpha Finally Gets One Right
Gary A. Smith | Los Angeles, ca USA | 03/31/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Considering the quality (or lack of) on most of their product, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Alpha DVD of DR. BLOOD'S COFFIN is a very nice transfer with good color and sound. If only some of their other stuff looked this good! This is well worth the money if you want to add this title to your horror movie collection."