Island of the Fishmen (1979 Italy) (a.k.a. Screamers)

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Island of the Fishmen (1979 Italy) (a.k.a. Screamers)

Post  BoG on Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:34 pm


Variation of The Island of Dr. Moreau, taking place in 1891... BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
What's Happening: In 1891, sailors are marooned on island with mad scientist and deadly fishmen
Famous For: Roger Corman added a prologue; a.k.a. "Screamers"
Unlike, say, J. Carrol Naish, Joseph Cotten was always able to find good roles in good movies as his career slid from A-movies in the 1940s and 50s to B-movies in the 1960s and 70s. Cotten's role as the well-meaning scientist is small here, but the movie itself is excellent: an unabashed fantasy adventure in the Island of Dr. Moreau or Land that Time Forgot tradition. It gets more fantastic as it goes, eventually bringing us to the ruins of Atlantis and an ancient volcano curse. A few scenes of people wandering in the woods are too slow, and some late scenes in the woods or the caves are too obviously brightly lit. But all else works wonderfully for a straightforward and unpretentious adventure that even offers coherent explanations for what's happening and a few surprises along the way. Good music too. The amphibious fishmen have bits of hair on their backs and shoulders.
As shot in Italy, the 99-minute movie has brief gore and obscured partial nudity, but is never gratuitous and can be viewed by boys as young as 10 or 12. When Roger Corman distributed the movie in the US in 1981, he commissioned a 12-minute prologue featuring Cameron Mitchell as a sailor and Mel Ferrer as a treasure-seeker. This simple prologue depicts several sailors and treasure seekers hunted and killed by the fishmen at night. It's gorier than the rest of the movie, and it's extraneous, but it is effective in itself and might be worth seeking out.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 40247-40277). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.


Fishy Trivia:
Barbara Bach was the Russian heroine from The Spy Who Loved Me. Richard Johnson played a villain also in Zombie. Martino also made Torso and several good giallos.

Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 40278-40283). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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