SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!
On a remote island, scientists have been experimenting to create a cure for cancer. But their experiments go wrong and create a creature that goes about killing the locals. Now doctors from the mainland must travel to the island to stop these creatures before they consume the entire population.
Island of Terror is a 1966 Planet Film Productions production. It stars Edward Judd, Peter Cushing and Carole Gray. It was directed by Terence Fisher.
“If we're successful today, we may have the cure for cancer.” Just from that one line alone I now know they're not going to have the cure for cancer and that instead it's going to go horribly wrong. This is reinforced by the title blasting onto the screen just after he delivers that line. ISLAND OF TERROR in massive red on screen text.
Hmm, intriguing a body has been found but there's something not quite right about it. It has no bones. He's just a sort of jelly thing, think Boneless Chicken.
Woh shit! I wasn't sure whether we'd get to see the boneless guy, all we'd seen was the body from obscure angles and seen/heard people's reactions to it. But then we get a shot of his face when the doctors are about to perform an autopsy. It completely got me by surprise. Then on top of that is Cushing's Dr Stanley who delivers the best possible response “Not a very pretty sight.” Classic.
Oh no! This infection is spreading. They head to Dr Phillips' place (Dr Phillips is the one who was working on the cancer cure) to use his lab, but they find that he and others have gone mushy too.
No, not the animals. It's effecting the animals too, a farmer found his horse all squishy.
Ooh! Something slid down the back of the car, we see if from inside the car so it looked like a flat creature. It looked a bit like a giant pancake. It would be funny if it turned out to be Pancake Day and some guy figured he'd try and beat the Guinness World Record, but when he flipped it it flew out the window and landed on the car.
Ooh! They've bumped into two of the creatures back at Dr Phillips' place. (They are not pancakes.)
As it turns out, these creatures are of Dr Phillips' creation. He was creating a creature to consume cancerous cells, but it went wrong and he accidentally created a creature that consumes bone. Now these creatures are running riot all over the island consuming people's bones. And if that isn't enough, every 6 hours they divide doubling their population each time. Additionally, they have a strong exoskeleton so they're hard to kill. So essentially, the people of this island are screwed.
That was brilliant! There's a group of people, locals and the mainland doctors, throwing bombs and shooting the creatures in the woods. But then no one noticed one of them lurking up a tree which then drops down and lands on top of one of the locals. Classic.
Intriguing. A radioactive dog (contaminated from one of Dr Phillips' previous experiments) got eaten by one of the creatures, but it killed the creature. HA! They are effected by radioactive material. The plan: contaminate the cattle and make them radioactive so the creatures eat them and die.
Shit! One of the creatures latched onto Dr Stanley's hand, so the other guy did the only thing he could to to save his life. He chopped Dr Stanley's hand off with an axe. Got me by surprise I was expecting him to cut the creature's tentacle latching thing, but no Dr Stanley's hand. Bit like Evil Dead 2. Holy shit, Peter Cushing running around with a chainsaw for a hand would be awesome.
Yey! It worked. After what appeared to be a failed attempt to stop the creatures as after they consumed the cattle they divided which in turn halved the effect of the radioactive substance. But it just made the effect take longer to kick in. It managed to kill them just in time before the creatures got all the locals.
As the helicopter flies in to land, one of the men says “We're lucky this is an island. If this had have happened anywhere else I don't think we would have been able to destroy them.” Next thing we see is another lab (I presume in China seen as the signs on the door are in Chinese) where a scientist screams as he is killed off screen by one of the creatures.
I rather liked this, I knew absolutely nothing about it so I was expecting a horror but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a sci-fi. The story seems to me like something you could picture being either a Quatermass film or a Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker Doctor Who story. It's a good story, the acting is good. It's an enjoyable sci-fi. It's got Peter Cushing starring and it's directed by Terence Fisher so you know it's going to be good. I really liked the model work for the boneless people, I thought it was really good and as I mentioned earlier it got me off guard because I was expecting not to see it as it had avoided showing the face for some time then the reveal got my by surprise which was great. It's a good 60s science fiction film, watch it.
Island of Terror 4/5