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Friday, March 29, 2019

Serpent Island (1954)


Well they can’t all be good. In an effort to find some different stuff to cover for the Fab Friday series I’ve been looking for some movies that I’ve not seen before. Normally I would have passed on Serpent Island, but then I noticed the cinematographer was Bert I. Gordon, so I was interested. Probably should have followed my first instinct on this one.

The plot is very simple. There is a girl who is descended from a famous family. They have a legend that one of their ancestors left a fortune of gold in Haiti when they had to flee during the revolution. She has a clue to where it is at and hires a boat as well as an engineer to take her there and help recover it. The captain of the boat and the engineer don’t like each other, and both want to spend quality time with the lady who hired them. The rest of the movie is… well nothing really. We do end up seeing the gold and at the sixty-minute mark of a sixty-three-minute-long movie there is a snake. So, there is that I guess?

This is a terrible movie. I know that I’ve said that before while writing reviews here at the Horror Dude Blog, but this is the worst. The first thing that you will notice is that the movie is in color, which is odd for a low budget fifties flick. But I figured out pretty quickly why that was likely done. Rich people loved shooting their own home movies and color was all the rage around the time that this movie was made. Why do I mention this? Because it is clear that they had a lot of footage of a sailboat and of voodoo ceremonies that are clearly staged for tourists. What can you do with that? Well shoot some wrap around stuff on a sailboat with the cast and then record a voiceover anytime you are using the other footage to explain what is going on and you have a movie. And I’m not making this up while doing my research for this review I found a rumor that the producer shot a bunch of vacation footage and when offered a chance to make a “B” feature on the cheap used it.

There was a snake... eventually
What is insane with Serpent Island is that the movie is barely over an hour long and has at least half that time taken up with stock footage aka. vacation home movies and they still didn’t have enough story to keep it going. Basically, they couldn’t fill thirty minutes of screen time with scripted dialogue and action. I have difficulty even calling this a movie when there isn’t anything of note to be seen. I guess this would have been perfect for the second or third feature at a drive-in when the teenagers had other things on their minds. Then again this could have easily killed the mood and put everyone to sleep. God this thing is awful.

I debated even reviewing this for the blog. I eventually decided that it was important not to gloss over the fact that there are a lot of movies like this from the fifties. Much like the start of the VHS craze there was a need for material to show in the drive-ins so quality control wasn’t always a priority. You will find cobbled together quickies like Serpent Island on a lot of Public Domain collections and online. If I can warn one person off, then my hour watching this turkey was worth it… Okay not really but it makes me feel better. Not recommended.

note: I couldn't find a trailer for the movie and I wasn't going to post a link to the full movie. Seriously people don't watch this one!


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer



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