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Monday, April 1, 2019

Island of Terror (1966)

Here we have another of those movies that I grew up watching all the time on the late-night creature feature shows. It has just about everything you could want. Monsters, a pretty girl, a legendary genre actor, and some very effective gore (at least if you are 7 years old and it is after midnight on a Friday night!). Without wasting anymore time lets hop into the review of Island of Terror.

Scientists working on an isolated island off the coast of Ireland accidentally create monsters while trying to find a cure for cancer. These silicates (what they name the creatures) attack anything living and dissolve their bones. Two doctors try and stop the creatures from overrunning the island and killing everyone. But when bullets and bombs can’t stop the rampage, they are at a loss for how to defend themselves. Only thru a lucky series of events do they find a possible solution that involves radiation and feeding the creatures cattle. But will it work in time? This leads the survivors to hold up in the clinic while they wait to see if the creatures took the bait and if the radiation will be enough to kill them.

This is a decent creature feature with the story being solid, but familiar. You have the bit about science running amok and creating what could be mankind’s downfall. Brute force can’t stop the creatures, but a clever trick just might do it. This of course leads to all sorts of tension, as the complicated plan must be pulled off in a limited amount of time. It also makes for an exciting movie where the action never stops. Our heroes have to run from one side of the island to the other to figure out how to save themselves. Some of the science might be goofy, but this is a creature feature so that is to be expected. What I want from a movie like this is some monsters, a body count, and maybe a couple spooky moments. Island of Terror has all of this, so for me it works.  Plus, the great Peter Cushing stars and the thing is directed by the legendary Terence Fisher. 

The Creatures!
Of course, being a creature feature we have to talk about the monsters. The silicates are kind of silly looking with their green bodies and stalks that they attack their victims with when not flailing around. Star Trek fans might be reminded of the Horta from the original series. They aren’t scary looking and as far as movie monsters go really don’t add up to much, but the movie more than makes up for it with some nifty effects on the victims. We get to see several squishy people after the monsters are done with them. How else would they look after all their bones have been dissolved? What the creatures themselves lack this special attention on the bodies of the victims makes my inner gore hound happy. In a crazy way it isn’t what the creatures look like that makes them work, but the fact that we see what is left after they attack. Oh, and there is also a surprising thing that happens to Cushing’s character that surprised me the first time that I sat down to watch this one. Very nice and unexpected addition to the effects work.

Island of Terror is a fun bit of British horror that fans should take the time to track down. While this one used to be hard to find the last few years have been kind to it and the fans with a nice Blu-Ray release. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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