Sunday, 28 July 2013

5 Islands of Terror

**Please note that there may be spoilers throughout the blog**

I think everybody wishes that they could be whisked away from their every day lives and were able to spend some time on a island far far away.  Well, these lucky souls got their wish, but it doesn't seem like they got what they bargained for.  Instead of relaxing times sipping tropical drinks on on glorious beaches that are made to order, they have been sent on perilous journeys filled with mad scientists, ghosts searching for revenge and mutant creatures that are looking to spill their blood!

Here are 5 Islands of Terror:

5. Uninhabited (2010) - A marine biologist, Beth and her boyfriend, Harry take a vacation on a deserted island.  While there, odd things start happening like, somebody hangs all of Beth panties on the bushes by there camp and they're video camera is being used to record them sleeping.  They search the island and discover a mysterious cabin with a grave marked Coral beside it, which they hadn't noticed before.  Inside the cabin they find a book, that tells them a terrible tale of a girl named Coral, who was poisoned by a fish and when she ask for help, she was raped my nine men.  The book also has some terrifying accounts from other people that have vacationed on the island, warning them to get off the island because the ghost of Coral is out for revenge on anybody who stays on the island.
  The couple tries to laugh it off but more strange things keep happening, like they are hearing voices in the woods and in the cabin and their SAT phone goes missing, which leaves them unable to contact any off the island.  Are this couple being pranked by hidden inhabitants on the island or is the ghost of Coral preparing to get her revenge on the couple for something that happened nearly 100 years ago. 
  This was an alright little ghost movie from Australia.  The pacing is a bit slow but there are some interesting, (maybe obvious) twists but I think it has some good moments at times.  This seems to be a smaller project by director Bill Bennett (Two If By Sea, The Nugget), with some newer talent taking the lead.  Henry James (?) and Geraldine Hakewell (Wasted on the Young, Ad Nauseam) are alright in this with the dialogue that they were given.  It may not perfect but they get the vibe of the situation across.   There isn't a lot of gore in this and the terror comes from the suspense element.  I found the ending to be a little confusing and it's not as satisfying as one would expect.  Still, I've seen worse ghost movies (looking at you Ghost Dad) and if you want to watch people who can afford to go to a gorgeous private island being tormented by the supernatural, then you may enjoy this.

4. The Shuttered Room (1967) - As a child, Susannah Whately was terrorized by nightmares of a dark figure attacking her while she slept at night.  Her parents sent her away to the city, on the advice of her Aunt Agatha, so she could grow up with better opportunities and avoid the Whately curse.  Many years later and after the passing of her parents from a freak lightening storm, she returns home with her, metropolitan husband, Mike to see if they can use the old homestead as a vacation house.  Unfortunately when the arrive, they're warned by the locals that there is a curse on the old Whately place and if the want to live the should go back from whence they came.  Also, Susannah's cousin, Ethan and his gang of middle aged hoodlums like the look of her and start putting some rapey plans together.  Will Susannah and Mike to be able to survive the ghost tales and make this there summer home or will they fall victim to the Whately curse like so many others?
  This was based on a short story by August Derleth and H.P. Lovecraft, so I was really looking forward to seeing this.  However, like most Lovecraft films, there are elements that are hard to transfer over to film or the studio didn't think would work in 1967.  So there as been some alterations.  Although the story starts off well, it begins drifts away from a supernatural element, once they Susannah and Mike arrive in the small town and  it seems to focuses more on, Susannah's cousin Ethan, played by Oliver Reed (Burnt Offerings, Condorman) and his gang of ruffians.  The gang reminds me of the bad guys in Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs", as they are always trying to separate the couple, so they can take advantage of (rape) Susannah.
  There is a creature/person/thing in the film but it's not like in the book.  There is some mild violence but the monster/person never seems as threatening as the gang.  The ending sort of works but it doesn't because nothing is really explained why.  Still, it's worth a reluctant watch but it's a shame that it's linked to Lovecraft's name to it because it sets up an expectation that is never met.

3. Island of Lost Souls (1932) - Edward Parker is found floating a drift at sea and is rescued by a freighter headed to the Island of Dr. Moreau. Dun Dun Dunnnn.  While aboard, Parker sends a message to his fiancee on the mainland, letting her know that he survived his ship sinking and then inspects the strange collection of animals on board being shipped to the small island.  Another passenger on the ship, Montgomery explains that he is Moreau's assistant and they work on various scientific experiments on the remote island.  Moments later, the drunken captain of the freighter starts bullying Montgomery's unusual looking assistant M'ling and Parker steps in to stop the captain from abusing the odd looking man.  Parker ends up knocking the captain da fuck out and although it is much appreciated by Montgomery and M'ling, the captain holds this grudge and has his crew toss Parker overboard when another boat arrives to collect it's passengers for The Island of Doctor Moreau. Dun Dun Dunnn.
  Fortunately, Montgomery brings Parker on board and invites him to the island.  When they arrive Dr. Moreau is surprised to see a visitor and lets him know that he is more than welcome to spend the night and will have crew bring him to the nearest coast in the morning.  Over dinner, Moreau explains that his work on the island is almost complete and soon he will be able to unveil it to the world.  That night, Moreau introduces Parker to a very exotic woman, Lota and leaves them to get acquainted.  While talking they hear screams coming from down stairs, Lota explains that the screams are coming from the "House of Pain", so Parker goes to investigate and discovers a creature jumping around on the operating table of Dr. Moreau!  Parker grabs Lota and tries to escape but are caught by the island mutated inhabitants.  Will Parker ever escape the clutches of the mad doctor or will he become part of his hideous experiments?
  Classic horror movie from director, Erle C. Kenton (House of Dracula, House of Frankenstein) and the first of many adaptation of H.G Well's timeless novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Charles Laughton (The Old Dark House, The Paradine Case) is brilliant in his portrayal of Moreau.  Bela Lugosi (Glen or Glenda, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla) gets second billing as the Sayer of Law, even though he really isn't in the film as much as I would like.  The special effects in this are pretty decent considering it was made in 1932 and the visuals that Kenton filmed really pushed the boundaries for that time.  It was initially banned because of the vivisection scene and need to be edited to fit an X rating in 1958.  However in 2011, the moive was released complete again and only garnered a PG rating.  This is a great film and any lover of classic horror or old films will appreciate seeing this for the first time or seeing it again.

2. Zombi Holocaust (1980) - Gorgeous morgue assistant and part time anthropology researcher, Lori Ridge way has been discovering corpses that have been mutilated and with missing parts in her New York hospital morgue.  Not long after, the hospital staff discover that an attendant from the Moluccas islands has been stealing parts of these bodies for midnight snacks.  They try and catch him but he tosses himself out a 18 story window and dies.  However, before he dies, he whispers to Lori the name of an ancient island god, Kito and she notices a strange tattoo on his chest.
  For some sort of explanation of the recent events, Lori visits Dr. Peter Chandler, who in a small world coincidence, is already investigating a series of body mutilation and theft and invites her along on an expedition, with him, his assistant, George and his girlfriend, Susan to the Molucca's Islands in search for answers.  She agrees to go and soon they are in the Molucca's islands, on their way to visit renowned scientist and island expert, Dr. Obrero.  When they arrive, Dr. Obrero sets them up with a guide named Molotto and 3 porters for their expedition the next day.  Lori is tired and heads for bed.  She takes a quick shower and finds a mutilated head in her bed when she turns down the covers.  Dr. Obero warns the group that this will be a dangerous journey, but Peter and Lori are desperate to find this cannibal tribe on the island of Kito.
  On the way to the island the next day, their boat has engine issues and they stop at a closer island to make repairs.  Unfortunately, one of the porters wanders off in the jungle and is murdered.  When the team finds the body they see the sign of Kito on a tree.  Peter realizes they are on the island of Kito and asks Molotto why he was bringing them to another island?  Molotto tells Peter all the islands look the same and that he was confused.  With one dead porter, a guide that can't be trusted and an island of full of cannibals, will Lori and Peter every find the answers that they are looking for? Oh yeah, there are zombies too!
  This is a fun little jungle/cannibal/zombie horror movie.  Apparently, the script is a mixture of "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals" and Fulci's "Zombie" and it even has Ian McCulloch (It!, Contamination), who plays Peter Chandler and Dakar (Spirits of the Dead, Caribbean Papaya), who plays Molotto in similar roles as in Zombie.  It also borrows some footage from "Zombie", like the church burning and some land rover shots.  Although, the special effects team still did a fantastic job even though they must have had a smaller budget, because some of it may not look as realistic but the gore is still pretty killer.
  My only real issue with this movie is the lack of zombies, which is in the title, so you would think that would be the central focus.  For most of the film, they are just focused on the cannibal aspect and then a third of the way through they introduce the zombies.  They're not the Romero eat your flesh zombies either but more of the old school slave zombies and have a purpose to either capture or kill.  The make up work on the zombies is still good but again I think it could have been better.  Anyway, a great watch for any gore hound with a charming romp through a deadly island full cannibals and zombies.

1. Who Can Kill a Child? (aka Island of the Damned) (1976) - Tom and his pregnant wife, Evelyn take a vacation to visit a Spanish island, Almanzora that Tom loved when he was 12.  When the couple arrives, Tom is put off by a rude child who won't tell him what kind of bait he's using to fish with, but that's okay because he's on vacation and he needs to chill out.  They wander into the town and it looks deserted.  They find the local pub/restaurant and all they find inside is a find burnt chicken on the spit.  Tom asks Evelyn to stay there while he looks for something a store, so he can bring them back something to eat.  Tom leaves and while Evelyn is waiting a young girl comes in and seems distracted by Evelyn's pregnant belly.  Meanwhile Tom has found an empty convenience store and picks up lunch for the two of them.
  When he gets back, the girl is gone and they eat a quick lunch, then go looking for the hotel.  They find a hotel but no one is there either.  They leave to search for people and see an old man walking down the street but before they can ask him any questions another young girl comes out of nowhere and beats the old man to death.  Horrified, Tom chases the girl away and carries the old man's carcass to a barn.  After he closes the barn door, Tom can hear giggling and peaks through the door to see what is happening.  He sees the children have strung up the old man like a pinata and are trying to open him up with a stick. 
  Tom realizes that they're not safe on the island and races back to save Evelyn, so they can get off the island.  However it's too late, the children are looking for fresh blood and are in hunt mode.  Can Tom and Evelyn escape these sadistic children or are they doomed to feel the same fate as every adult on that island.
This movie was pretty creepy and came out just a year before Stephen's King's short story "Children of the Corn", which is very similar.  The pacing is slow but the film is never dull, director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador does a great job controlling the tension in the film.  Lewis Fiander (Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, Not Now Comrade) and Prunella Ransome (Man In the Wilderness, Seagull Island) are exceptional has the couple, trying to escape these small terrors and trying to discover what has turned these children against the adults, it couldn't have been Bieber.  There are some good bloody scenes and terrifying twists that make this an enjoyable film that should be watched without the kids in the room or house if you want to be really safe.

So, when thinking about booking a cruise to an island far away or there is a deal on a remote island somewhere on the seven seas, remember these films because your little plot of paradise may be a nightmare waiting to happen.


  1. A fine list. Though absent is THE Island of Terror (1966) starring the Grand Moff himself - Peter Cushing. Secret medical experiments that result in giant bone sucking slugs . A masterpiece.

    1. Thanks my friend! I did look for The Island of Terror but I couldn't find. It sounds wicked! If I can find it, maybe I'll do a slug n bugs blog.