Color, 1973, 92 mins. 37 secs. / 86 mins. 45 secs.
Directed by Alejandro Martí
Starring George Rigaud, Frank Braña, Michael Flynn, Catherine Franck, Martin Trévières, Teresa Gimpera
Mondo Macabro (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), Le Chat Qui Fume (UHD & Blu-ray) (France R0 4K/HD) / WS (1.66:1) (16:9)

Several years ago, Love Brides of the Blood Mummythe gray market trading circuit was abuzz about the emergence of a bizarre Love Brides of the Blood MummyEuro horror oddity that had been presumed lost for ages: Love Brides of the Blood Mummy (to go by its initial North American theatrical title), a Spanish-French co-production also released as El secreto de la momia egipcia and Le sang des autres, ou la volupté de l'horreur. The video version that turned up was the mildest of the numerous options prepared by the distributor, the 82-minute clothed Spanish version that lowers the film's sleazy perversity down to a very low simmer. Even in that state it was still a bizarre curio, and thankfully the world has now been blessed with the emergence of the film in pristine condition from the original negative revealing how much stronger it was for French audiences.

Sometime in the late 1800s, horseback-riding Egyptologist James Barton (Braña) makes his way through a village to the forbidding English(!) castle of Count Dartmoor (Horror Express' Rigaud), a reclusive collector of ancient antiquities whose home is the center of multiple disappearances. Dartmoor turns out to be an eccentric individual indeed as exhibits signs of paranoia, performs a magic act involving a snake, and flogs a dessicated hand chained to the wall. In flashback Love Brides of the Blood Mummywe hear about the recent events that led to this state of affairs involving Dartmoor and his servant, John (Trévières), who imported an Egyptian sarcophagus and revived the mummy inside (played Love Brides of the Blood Mummyby the mysterious Michael Flynn). Unfortunately the new arrival possesses an extreme sex drive (whether his partners are consenting or not) and needs blood to survive, which poses a problem when Dartmoor's daughter (Franck) and her best friend (Gimpera) decide to pay a visit.

In terms of outrageousness, the film's second act definitely takes the cake with a string of sequences in which the "mummy" repeatedly does his routine with a series of naked actresses, and the fact that Flynn is the least expressive actor imaginable just adds to the weirdness of it all. However, it's the ending that actually lingers as the story swerves into outright Gothic horror territory with a rampaging severed hand wreaking havoc around the castle, a fun and unexpected finale possibly influenced by the previous year's And Now the Screaming Starts! It's all quite beautifully shot with Love Brides of the Blood Mummyplenty of castle atmosphere and spooky landscapes, often feeling like a slightly more lavish and polished Eurociné production.

The gorgeous 4K restoration of this film bowed almost simultaneously in France and the U.S., the former option Love Brides of the Blood Mummyas a combo UHD(!) and Blu-ray package under the title Le sang des autres, ou la volupté de l'horreur. Shot without live sound and dubbed no matter how you saw it, the film features French and English tracks (the latter is wildly entertaining) with optional French and English subtitles. Extras include "non-sexy" clothed sequences from the Spanish version (12m12s) with French or English audio, an alternate "semi-sexy" sequence with the actress in question going half naked (5m44s), and alternate bits for another intended French release under the title Perversions Sexuelles (2m10s), plus French and English trailers (the latter as Lips of Blood).

The U.S. Blu-ray release from Mondo Macabro expands the slate of extras quite a bit, starting with the option to watch the complete feature in both the complete, strongest 92-minute version as well as an alternate 86-minute "horror version" that's a bit less repetitive in the middle section. Image quality is identical between them (and Love Brides of the Blood Mummythe same as the French Blu-ray; it's worth noting that the UHD Love Brides of the Blood Mummydid not have HDR so the resolution bump was the only plus). Both the English and French tracks are included for both versions (which bear the Lips of Blood title on screen) with optional English subtitles, while the long cut also has a new audio commentary by David Flint. The volume is low on this one but it's worth a listen as he parses out the confusing credits behind the film, its international release history, its use of horror and erotic tropes, the careers of recognizable faces like Rigaud, and the state of early '70s Euro horror. The alternate scenes are all compiled here into 19m59s reel, which plays fine that way, while other extras include a U.K. Super 8mm cut down version (10m47s), one English and two French trailers, the French opening and closing credits, and a "publicity parade" of stills and posters (5m34s).

Reviewed on November 9, 2022