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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961)

A doctor is caught doing forbidden experiments in an attempt to bring back the dead. He is kicked out of medical school and returns home… though I don’t think we are supposed to make that connection yet. Too obvious not to though. Anyway, when he returns to the English countryside, he does a couple of things. One is to determine whose life is not being lived correctly and therefore can be used for his experiments. The other is to romance his father’s nurse (he comes from a family of doctors). 

When people start to disappear, the locals catch onto something being wrong. After some searching, they do eventually figure out that the young Dr. Blood is doing bad things. One of those things is bringing back the dead husband of the nurse he was romancing… because that is going to endear him to her. Though by then he may have just been trying to prove a point that he was right and everyone else was narrowminded. As you would expect our mad scientist and his monster die horribly and everyone else lives happily ever after. 

I really wanted to like Doctor Blood’s Coffin as it stars one of my favorite British horror actresses, Hazel Court. She was in so many great movies like Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death and Hammer’s The Curse of Frankenstein. Sadly, this isn’t one of those great movies. They make the questionable decision to spend far more time on the romancing of Court’s character, Linda, and the younger Dr. Blood. There is a lot of them talking and walking around. Honestly, I want my mad scientists to be a bit more focused on their horrible experiments. Seeing their dating life isn’t at all what I’m signing up for when watching a movie from this subgenre. 

The above is further complicated by the fact that when they are going for the spooky stuff it ends up being a lot of skulking around the mines (where he hides his lab) and the countryside. At times it is creepy, but they linger far too long to the point of any fun being lost to the boredom of watching the searches and chases dragging on. I will give the movie credit for having some decent makeup when the dead husband, referred to as Zombie Steve from this point forward, makes his appearance. 

Zombie Steve time!
Though this is ultimately disappointing as it takes way too long to happen and for inexplicable reasons, he tries to kill his former wife. Instead of talking about their hopes and dreams maybe we could have gotten some dialogue from Dr. Blood as to the complications of his experiments. Or maybe another character could have talked about bringing back long dead bodies without their souls. Anything to explain why the dead are so pissed off and homicidal. When I say the dead that makes is seem like we get a few examples when the only time it works is on Zombie Steve so there isn’t much to the story itself. 

I was hoping for a Frankenstein inspired mad scientist flick. I would have even settled for a regular old monster movie. Instead, what I got was a romantic melodrama with a bit of murder and Zombie Steve at the very end. I can’t recommend Doctor Blood’s Coffin which by the way never has a coffin in it. Weird…

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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