HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Isle of the Dead Grave Matters
Year: 1945
Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Boris Karloff, Ellen Drew, Marc Cramer, Katherine Emery, Helen Thymig, Jason Robards Sr, Alan Napier, Ernst Deutsch, Skelton Knaggs
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1912 and Greece is at war. On a small island off the coast, a Greek general (Boris Karloff) goes to visit the grave of his wife, only to find the tomb has been broken into and the body gone. The General and Oliver, an American reporter (Marc Cramer), discover the island is inhabited by a group of people sheltering from the war - and that there is a deadly plague there. As they begin to drop like flies, could there be another, supernatural explanation for the deaths?

Isle of the Dead was written by Josef Mischel and Ardel Wray, and was one of three horrors that Boris Karloff starred in for producer Val Lewton. The best of these was The Body Snatcher, but the others, Bedlam and this one, are just as interesting. Karloff's glowering visage and funereal voice suit the Lewton atmosphere of insidious superstition and impending doom perfectly.

The General we see at first is a pragmatic man who has such ruthless devotion to his cause that he sends out a colonel to commit suicide after letting down his men - it's the decent thing to do in the General's eyes. But once he gets on the island, an old woman plants the seeds of his downfall in his mind by convincing him that a vampire-like spirit is stalking the land, carried in the body of a young servant girl, Thea (Ellen Drew).

Thea is an unlikely source of evil, being wholesome and innocent, but even she believes that she may be harbouring a baleful power. We even start to believe there could be something unnatural going on ourselves, even though a rational explanation for everything is provided. But the deep shadows, Gothic set design and eerie ambience tell you otherwise - even the daylight scenes look murky and sinister.

Eventually the relentlessly mournful gloom wears you down, and the chirpy reporter seems out of place (he looks as if he's there as a requisite romantic lead more than anyone useful to the story). But the finale, with an Edgar Allan Poe-influenced return from the dead by one character, is excellent. Dressed in white, she follows the vulnerable Thea through the night, all the while gently singing; then she gets hold of a trident and starts stabbing people to death, simultaneously fulfilling the superstition and ridding the surviving characters of it. It's sequences like those that make these old chillers worth watching. Music by Leigh Harline.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7615 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Mark Robson  (1913 - 1978)

Workmanlike Canadian director who occasionally rose above the mainstream. A former editor, he got his break directing some good quality Val Lewton horrors for RKO: The Seventh Victim, The Ghost Ship, Isle of the Dead and Bedlam. Excellent boxing drama Champion led to more high profile work: Home of the Brave, Phffft!, The Harder They Fall, Peyton Place, enjoyable Hitchcock-style thriller The Prize, Von Ryan's Express, campy Valley of the Dolls and Earthquake.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
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
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: