Newest Reviews
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Salon Kitty
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Newest Articles
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
  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 4026 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: