a small island off the coast of Ireland, the local police officer
discovers the body of a resident. The island's doctor examines the body
and finds that it seems to lack bones. Baffled, he heads for London to
contact expert Dr. Brian Stanley (Peter Cushing) and he in
turn contacts bone expert Dr. David West. West's girlfriend borrows a
helicopter from her rich father, and the group fly back to the island.
They discover there, that a scientist who had set-up a lab on the
island to investigate a cure for cancer, had accidentally created a new
species of deadly creature, and that they are beginning to take over
The second of just three productions from Planet Film Studios (the second being similarly island bound Night of the big Heat ), Island of Terror
is hardly an original production - the set-up is very remniscent
of a television show, with the opening on the island to set the scene,
followed by the introduction of the lead characters, brought in to
solve the riddle and save the day - it could easily have worked as
a Doctor Who episode. Fortunately, the film is written well, avoiding
too many of the genre clichés, boasting some nicely written
dialogue and with some genuinely tense scenes especially towards the
film's rather exciting climax and clever ending. Unfortunately, like
many films of its type, the script does suffer from a rather
bizarre love plot that is never properly justified, and several jumps
in logic suggesting scenes that were never filmed.
name Hammer director Terence Fisher had spent many years in the
mid-1960s away from the famous studio, shooting films in Europe, and
some independent British films. When the short lived Planet Film
Productions wanted a director to work with Hammer star Peter Cushing,
Fisher was the obvious choice. Re-united with cinematographer Reginald
Wyer, with whom we worked on some pre-horror Hammer films, including Spaceways
(1953), Fisher gives the film his typical solid, yet unspectacular
style of direction. The opening of the film, until the creatures are
seen, works very effectively and Fisher tries to keep them out of sight
for as long as possible with just glimpses and sounds - inevitably
though, they do have to take a centre stage, and instantly triple the
film's cheese factor.
brought into the cinema world by
Hammer films in the late 1950s, by 1966 Cushing was doing only limited
work for the studio and had done a lot of work with new rivals Amicus
Productions. His casting is obviously for marquee value, but he does
suit the role well and gives a typically strong performance. Island of Terror
is hardly original, but is an unassuming and enjoyable little film,
with some good acting and solid direction. Recommended to fans of Peter
Cushing and low budget British horror/sci-fi.
famous in it?
Peter Cushing - the star of many of the best, and worst, British horror films of the 1960s and 1970s.
Directed by anyone
Terence Fisher - director of many of Hammer's top films, including The Four Sided Triangle (1953) which takes a similar "danger of science" theme, but with a much more thought provoking storyline.
Is it scary?
are a couple of tense scenes that might prove scary.
A few violent scenes, no blood.
Who is it for?
Recommended to fans of British horror cinema and Peter Cushing.
A nice orchestral soundtrack.
Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour. The
print is decent - with faded colours and some noticable grain and speckling although miles better than a VHS or PD DVD.
English original mono sounds fine.
Interview with Christopher Lee about director Terence Fisher. Very interesting and full of information. (25 minutes)
Original Cinema Trailer.
Publicity stills gallery, presented as a video file with no music.
24 page booklet. Extensive background details and notes about the film.