Beast of the Yellow Night/Creature with the Blue Hand – Screen 13’s Road Trip Part One
4-15-71, Algona, Iowa – While I’m on a classic EuroHorror kick tonight, The Creature with the Blue Hand came to mind and a search for what I have in my collection so far had to be done. Roger Corman’s New World, the kind of the 1970 Exploitation scene, paired the Krimi with the Made-in-the-Philippines hit Beast of the Yellow Night with John Ashley which is seen as a lesser entry in the series of films the actor was famous for in his post-Teen Idol years.
One can see a good reason for the pick up following the success of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Creature with the Blue Hand being the extended US title to what was originally just The Blue Hand to give the potential viewer a kind of familiar feeling when choosing what to see – and it helped that it was a stylish European Thriller. Based on the Edgar Wallace story, the Klaus Kinski-starring thriller is a good film to catch in it’s original form, and it’s worth on the Drive In market was very good. To the modern watcher, the slight 1967 Mod touches in the Blue Hand might have dated it by it’s US release and Beast of the Yellow Night might have been seen as tame, but the audiences at the time were certainly not examining every detail and more than likely had things to do in the car if the films were not to their taste.
It’s promotion was possibly basic screen filler to generate more business for the then-young company while The Blue Hand was picked up for a limited Distribution from Independent-International, who got the full rights back after New World’s success with it for a coupe of years. For some time, this double feature saw play dates here and there for some time as Horror-themed offerings for the company while it was enjoying more success with it’s in-home Student Nurses style flicks that was it’s main menu through the very Early 70’s. In the Early 80’s, Independent-International re-released it with more gory inserts as The Bloody Hand, with both versions released on a great DVD by Image Entertainment.
4-23-71, San Antonio at the Texas in the Downtown district.
8-13-71, Madison, WI – A very sharp program teaming the double feature with a Corman Classic from the AIP “Poe Trilogy”! Must have shared the same Sub-distributor. the Shrunken Skull gimmick was a nice touch!
9-3-71, Wood River, Illinois – the weekend super show featured the Crown International-released Nightmare in Wax (always to be found as a cool screen filler!) and Ishiro Honda’s Human Vapor. the DI closed circa 1978.
1-26-72, Detroit – The UA was seriously in it’s last years as a theater facing some changes in it’s programming that saw it move into Adult films (though not Porno). There was the occasional week where a genera audience film was shown, and at least there was a way to try to move it into Horror. Sadly, the Downtown business gravitated to the Grand Circus Park of which this and the Summit were not a part of .
2-25-72, Detroit suburbs – Now this is more like it! Another great example of generating business in the Winter Months at the Drive Ins when it was programming either Horror feasts of Skin Flicks. This had a showing at one of the Metro Area’s big DIs, the Bel Air, which opened until the Mid 80’s (closed ’86).
3-26-72, Clovis, NM – The Lyceum was in it’s final years, I think closing up shop in 1975. Exploitation and Horror were it’s main course until the final months as an Adult Movie house (Convicts Woman possibly being the final show).