Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Island of Mutations Fishmen flock around Mrs. Ringo
Year: 1979
Director: Sergio Martino
Stars: Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson, Joseph Cotten, Beryl Cunningham. Franco Iavarone, Roberto Posse, Guiseppe Castellano, Franco Mazzieri
Genre: Horror, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sergio Martino’s horror/adventure hybrid exists in several versions under different titles, including Screamers, L’Isola degli uomini pesci (Island of the Fishmen), and Something Waits in the Dark. More on that later, but at heart this is a charming, Jules Verne-style adventure with romance, sci-fi elements and rubber monsters. In the late 19th Century, survivors from a wrecked prison ship – including heroic Lieutenant Claude de Ros (Claudio Cassinelli) – are washed ashore on an uncharted island. Amidst quicksand pits and hostile natives, they stumble across mad scientist Professor Marvin (Joseph Cotten) and his mutant fish people, descended from the lost race of Atlantis. Marvin has devised a means of controlling these creatures, which pistol-wielding cad Edmund Rackham (Richard Johnson) plots to abuse and have them retrieve sunken treasure. Rackham imprisons and murders the shipwrecked crew, but Marvin’s beautiful daughter Amanda (Barbara Bach) rescues Claude. A voodoo priestess (Beryl Cunningham) prophesises doom. Sure enough, and the natives chase Claude, a volcano erupts and the island begins to sink. Meanwhile, Amanda discovers she shares a telepathic link with the fishmen.

An engaging swashbuckler, Island of Mutations benefits from Martino’s solid pacing, and committed performances from the cast. No matter how absurd things get, nobody camps it up. Cassinelli (who was killed in a tragic helicopter accident filming Martino’s Terminator rip-off, Fists of Steel (1986)) is pleasingly intense during his early scenes, involving us in his character’s plight. Former Bond girl (and future Mrs. Ringo Starr) Barbara Bach makes an enchanting heroine. Her sensitive performance throughout the poetic climax is a remarkable feat considering she’s emoting amidst rubber monsters. The story and its fishy fright-figures are strongly reminiscent of Jacques Tourneur’s War Gods of the Deep (1965), featuring Vincent Price in a role not dissimilar to Richard Johnson’s, or even Hajime Sato’s delirious Terror Beneath the Sea (1966).

Roger Corman’s New World Pictures purchased Island of Mutations and, since Jules Verne adventures were out of vogue, reworked it into a bogus slasher movie. Joe Dante and Noah Drake were hired to shoot a new prologue featuring exploitation faves Mel Ferrer and Cameron Mitchell getting gorily mauled by new fishmen created by effects whiz Chris Walas. This version, titled Something Waits in the Dark, found little favour with grindhouse patrons. Corman then hired Jim Wynorski to rework the ad campaign. Wynorski re-titled the film Screamers, and concocted a bogus trailer including newly shot footage (with effects by Rob Bottin) set in a futuristic space lab where a sexy scientist loses her clothes, and an outrageous claim that the film featured a man turning inside out! Screamers was a success, although moviegoers were angered about the absence of a man turning inside out, and Wynorski had to edit in his space lab sequence into one of Cassinelli’s scenes. Ah, the glory days of low-budget exploitation. The full story behind Screamers can be found in Maitland McDonagh’s fascinating book “Filmmaking on the Fringe.”
Martino indulged in some cut-and-paste antics of his own. He snipped footage from Island of Mutations and his post-holocaust actioner 2019: After the Fall of New York (1982) into the deeply weird, kiddie-oriented sequel, The Fishmen and their Queen (1995). But that my friends is another story.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 5967 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: