aka Blood Bride
Director/Producer – Robert R. Favorite, Story – Liz Blanda, Bob Favorite, Dottie Favorite, Tom Rahner & Bob Smith, Music – Lee Peters, Art Direction – Stinson Associates. Production Company – Robert R. Favorite Productions
Dolores Heiser (Yvonne), Paul Everett (Carlos De Lorca), Chuck Faulkner (Juan De Lorca), Jan Sherman (Laura), Bob Letizia (Perro), Dolores Starling (Dana), Rita Ballard (Vickie), Ben Robinson (Guy)
Juan De Lorca finds a diary in the wall written by his grandfather Carlos. It tells how Carlos sought to remove the curse that afflicts the De Lorca family and has killed every woman the male heir has married. Carlos sent his manservant Perro out to deliver invites to four women to come and visit Casa De Lorca, promoting it as an historic mansion. He introduced them to Juan, saying he was looking for a wife. One of the women, Yvonne, passed out from drugged wine and Carlos persuaded the others to stay the night to look after her. Laura came around to find herself imprisoned in the cellar as part of an occult ritual. The others were attacked by Juan turned into a vampire, while Yvonne was impregnated to bear Juan’s child.
The Brides Wore Blood was the third film from Robert R. Favorite. Favorite is a completely forgotten director today – not that he attained any notice when he was working – and made two other films, both non-genre, with Indian Raid, Indian Made (1969) and Riverboat Mama (1969).
The title seems to have been intended as a take on Francois Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black (1967). For a time, The Brides Wore Blood intrigues. The location shooting in Saint Augustine, Florida with its Old World, Spanish-styled architecture, adds something very identifiably non-American.
The film was made not long after Rosemary’s Baby (1968), which popularised an interest in matters occult, secret rituals and especially themes of women being impregnated as part of a diabolic scheme. There is an intrigue as the four women are gathered together at the mansion for unclear purpose, lorded over by the frail and crepuscular but decidedly unsettling Paul Everett. You wonder where exactly the film is going. It is a little on the slow side but it certainly holds the attention.
Things sort of go sideways during the second half where the film suffers from a profusion of horror tropes. The De Lorca family are attempting to remove a curse, need to engage in an occult sacrifice to do so, need to keep one of the women as a prisoner and impregnate her, Juan turns into a vampire, while there is also a zombie-like figure with blue skin and decrepit face of unexplained purpose lurking around the cellar. It starts to feels like a case of Favorite and his multiple co-writers having thrown everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. Not unexpectedly, the results seem confusing and unfocused.