If you’re a fan of Filipino horror films, then you were familiar with Eddie Garcia. Actually, if you were a fan of ANY Filipino movies, then you most likely knew who Eddie Garcia was. The man is credited with 653 acting credits on IMDB! There were years that he was appearing in over a dozen titles in one year alone. In 1975, he appeared in 33 feature films! Needless to say, the man was busy. He was also the most credited man in the Filipino film business as well, taking home more awards in the FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) than any other person, with 6 Supporting Actor awards, 5 for Best Actor, 5 for Best Director, 3 different Hall of Fame and 1 Lifetime Achievement award. Yeah…just wow.
But of course, this is the Krypt and the ones that we remember him from are the wonderful horror pictures that he made, usually in the ’60s and ’70s, such as Ibulong mo sa hangin (1966), which has multiple different titles, such as Blood of the Vampires, or Creatures of Evil, or even Curse of the Vampires (1966). Then there is Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) or The Twilight People (1972), but it will always be his performance as Dr. Lorca, in the infamous 1970 film Beast of Blood, that I will remember him most fondly from.
Garcia passed away on June 20th, from a fall that happened on the set of his latest TV series. That’s right, Garcia was 90 years old and still working! He spent 12 days in a coma after the fall and never recovered. Our heart goes out to his friends and family, and all of his fans during this difficult time. While the films that we horror fans love might not be his best or most popular, I know that we’ll keep his memory alive because of them.
I was just commenting the other day that either I have missed them or the number of our genre stars that we’ve been losing has been much lower than previous years. And then we lose Stelvio Cipriani last week, and now there are two more.
I’ve been a huge fan of the horror films made in the Philippines, especially the Blood Island films. So I was thrilled when I first heard mention that Severin was going to be releasing these films on Blu-ray. Even more so when I saw the kind of promo stuff they are making available. Granted, the limited edition Dr. Lorca’s Head Bundle is already sold out (Also note…that’s not Dr. Lorca’s Head…just saying), which was a major bummer. But the stuff in the Blood Oath Bundle is pretty damn cool too. Got to give Severin major props for the stuff they come up with. From the Anthropophagus Plush figure, or the beach ball from The Horror of Party Beach, to even the little rubber ball from The Changeling, they are killing it when it comes to new promo items.
So what is in this box set?
Trying to find any information on this actor from the Philippines is damn difficult. But since his face was a staple of movies in the ’60s and ’70s that were filmed there, I thought a little attention needed to put in his direction. If you’ve seen any of the famous Blood Island Trilogy, Brides of Blood (1968), Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968), and Beast of Blood (1971), then you’ve seen Punzalan. He is usually cast as a bad guy, usually a thug of whoever is in charge. He had a very distinct face that always made him easy to pic out in the casts. He worked many times with director Eddie Romero, as well as with actors Sid Haig and Vic Diaz (another staple of Pilipino movies).
While not much is known about this actor, we feel that because of his contributions to the horror genre, we think that people should at least know who he is. So when they see that same face again, they can say “Hey…that’s Bruno Punzalan!”, impressing everyone around them. Not to mention, keeping this actor’s memory alive.
He also appeared with Ingrid Pitt in The Omegans (1968), as well as Blood Thirst (1971), Black Mama, White Mama (1973), and Savage Sisters (1973).
Beast of Blood (1970)
Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Celeste Yarnall, Eddie Garcia, Lisa Belmonte, Bruno Punzalan, Beverly Miller
This is the last of the famous Blood Island trilogy and is a direct sequel to Mad Doctor of Blood Island, starting right where the last one left off. While on the boat leaving the island, it seems that our favorite chlorophyll-blooded monster had stowed away. It comes out and starts attacking the crew members, causing a fire to start. The boat blows up, with star John Ashley being thrown overboard. After recovering in the hospital, Ashley decides to return to Blood Island to once again, find out what’s going on there. Joining him on this trip is a reporter, played by Celeste Yarnall, who is in search of a story about the infamous Blood Island after the events from the last film. She knows she’ll get it too, especially once they arrive back on the island and find out “the green men have returned.”