Island of Terror is a 1966 When on a remote island community a corpse is discovered completely devoid of bone, the local police constable (Sam Kydd) calls in Dr. Landers (Eddie Bryne) who is at a loss to explain. He goes to the mainland to see Dr. Stanley (Peter Cushing) a pathologist. Stanley and Landers go to David West (Edward Judd) who is an expert on bone disease. Intrigued by the bizarre symptoms, West's girlfriend Toni Merril (Carole Gray) follow Landers back to the island.
Plot[edit | edit source]
They discover that well-known cancer specialist Dr. Philips has been doing experiments on the island. They discover Philips and his colleagues' dead, the bodies boneless.
As the Doctors search through Philip's notes they discover he was trying to create a living organism to attack cancer cells, but something went wrong and he ended up creating a silicone based creature that lives off animal bone. These creatures, which Stanley names 'Silicates', are roaming the island......
Made by obscure British company 'Planet Productions' this great little flick was produced by Richard Gordon who also gave us the cult favourite `Fiend Without a Face'. With the expert hand of Hammer Director Terence Fisher at the helm, Gordon has produced a similarly grotesque set of creatures to terrorize his high-class cast. True the 'Silicates' are rather funny looking, like huge rubber cow pats with a vacuum cleaner attachments that they use to grab their victims with, and suffer from the old zombie problem of moving very slowly, but they make for a wonderful sight gliding along in search of food and the manner of death they deal out is so horrible (having your bones dissolved and sucked out while alive) that damaging humour is kept at bay. There are some great attack sequences as various cast members are digested with nicely disgusting slurping sounds by the creatures whom during one sequence even drop out of the trees! More fun is had when they divide and what looks like a gallon of watery tinned spaghetti flows out! They are a bizarre and wonderfully entertaining creation.
The cast is in top form with Peter Cushing in particular giving us a delightful turn as the pathologist with a welcome streak of gentle humour. It's a role that only Cushing could play with this amount of laid back ease and he is a joy to watch. Edward Judd is nicely stoic and handles his scenes with Cushing well, showing he was a much under-used actor. Carole Grays character is the only weak link, as she is strictly the cliché woman in peril sort who is given little to do. Thankfully her love interest scenes with Judd are few and short.
The island atmosphere is captured well and Fisher makes what would normally be a tranquil setting a place of lurking menace. He also takes the viewer by surprise with his treatment of some of the characters, never letting his audience get too complacent in the expectations.
Add to all this a lean and never wasted running time, a suitably manic and funky soundtrack composition plus a typically cynical '60s epilogue and you have a film that should be much more widely known and available.
Planet Productions' also made `Night of the Big Heat', once again with Cushing and Directed by Fisher but this time throwing Christopher Lee into the mix as well and both these films, although `Island of Terror' is very much superior, both are worth tracking down. In these days where the UK only makes small scale independent, and normally U.S influenced horror films this movie reminds us that Britain once produced some unique and delightfully entertaining genre pieces.