“BLOOD TIDE”— Terror in Paradise


Terror in Paradise

Amos Lassen

Terror strikes in paradise with a host of stars— James Earl Jones, José Ferrer and Lila Kedrova in this story of sea monsters and sacrificial virgins. When treasure hunter Frye (James Earl Jones) accidentally awakens an ancient sea monster that has been lying dormant on a Greek island, the locals are forced to resume sacrificing virgins in order to placate the demonic creature. Written and produced by Nico Mastorakis “Blood Tide” is a suspense-filled creature feature surging with blood, nudity and beachside aerobics!

Richard Jefferies directed the actors who speak idiotic dialogue with straight faces and James Earl Jones hams it up by highlighting his every line reading as if it were in a volume of Cliffs Notes but there’s semi-irresistible charm in seeing a man of his talent so obviously slumming  with rotten material, making this fun to watch.  

.This is the kind of lackadaisical horror film that shows gore only when it’s rising to the water’s surface after a victim is being decimated and we get only one look at the monster at the halfway mark. Barbara strips on the beach and runs into the water. A subplot involves Madeline’s stay in a monastery and her becoming obsessed with or possessed over serving as a human sacrifice for the monster. This attempt at a pseudo-religious subtext makes the foolishness of the plot even more ridiculous. There are endless pauses. Director Jefferies comes up with an adequate suspenseful moment now and again when corpses are discovered in the dark, but they’re lame moments. He does, however, give us tension, create mood and atmosphere. There’s the idea of having the creature come ashore but it turns out to be silly.  There is no sense of primal terror but it is fun.

In a cave is a walled off entryway which Frye believes leads to more treasure.  Of course, he is wrong; a sea beast dwells on the other side.  Loose, the beast starts eating virgins.  We get the idea that an order of nuns are preparing  with Madeline as the ultimate sacrifice for the beast.  While in the convent, she finds a painting of the creature with a huge penis.  After Barbara is killed while skinny dipping, Frye makes up his mind he is going to blow up the beast.  At the same time, Neil and Sherry race to save Madeline from her destiny with the monster.

I didn’t dislike the film. The direction is indifferent, the script is  muddled at times, and the monster action is low. However, I like the Greek atmosphere of the movie, and there’s always something about hearing James Earl Jones’ voice in any context. I also liked Jose Ferrer’s underplayed performance as the mayor of the island. There is something disappointing in a monster movie that has just a fleeting glimpse of the monster, and it would have been better if they had saved the glimpse for the end of the movie rather than in the middle. Nevertheless, I did find a little to enjoy in the movie.