BACK OF THE VHS BLURB:
The survivors of not one, but a whopping TWO shipwrecks (the first not on film, however) find themselves on an island inhabited by some rich guy, a lady who rides horses, voodoo priestesses, and a whole swarm of fishmen. We come to find this island is no regular island, but the highest peak of the now sunken Atlantis. Our rich antagonist uses imprisonment, illicit experimental science, and overwhelming greed to use the fishmen to plunder Atlantis of its treasure and be a horrible host of his island getaway. Volcanoes erupt, fishmen revolt, and shit gets real.
So...WTF did I just watch?
MOVIE: Screamers (no not the Peter Weller film) (AKA Island of the Fishmen and Something waits In The Dark. Like I said, complicated.)
YEAR: 1981 (and 1979, its, well complicated)
DIRECTOR: Sergio Martino
CAST: Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson, Joseph Cotton, and a small appearance by Mel Ferrer
So, this Italian horror film is such a fun ride. So many great moments pop up in it that it had me going the whole time. Let’s go through the B-movie brilliance here.
The intro of this movie is somewhat legendary, having been re-shot for the American release, and almost a half hour of the original Italian film being removed. So, what we get in the intro is a gore filled sequence that ends up feeling out of place with the rest of the film, but for the ridiculous kills, its worth it.
Another fun fact was I watched the trailer for this film, which is a lady screaming a few times, some shots of creatures coming out of some slimy green ooze, and a computer malfunction. Turns out as the film begins, its set in 1891. 1891. Let that register, and think back to that the trailer has a COMPUTER MALFUNCTION. I was a bit confused, and the creatures look different than in the trailer, so this movie just adds to its own mystery.
So, the movie itself starts with that batshit intro, and then leads to the actual story of shipwrecked prisoners and the ships doctor, drifting, and then getting shipwrecked again. The old double whammy double shipwreck strikes again! The survivors regroup on the island, and the fishmen start striking. Not quite up to the intro, the fishmen use the classic face rake with razor claws and the kills start piling up.
After finding some strange voodoo village in the center, we are introduced to the landlord of the uncharted island, Edmund Rackham. This guy is a dick, and does well to make you hate his guts by the end. We meet his resident voodoo priestess Shakira (HIPS DON'T LIE) and we find things are not quite normal at the enormous plantation on an uncharted island run by two white people and a staff of voodoo warriors. Who'd figure that be a place to give off a weird vibe?
The doctor, Claude de Ross, is now the only survivor and is starting to have a bit of a relationship brewing with the mysterious lady, Amanda Marvin. What we find out is that Amanda's father is held captive by Mr. Rackham, forced to do his experiments to help him keep the fishmen under his control and to keep plundering Atlantis. Mr. Rackham seems to have maintained all authority because he has a revolver, which, makes ABSOLUTE sense. No way to overwhelm a guy with six shots. Not possible.
Let's talk about the fishmen. Men in rubber suits with heads looking like some grouper with nasty teeth. The design was actually decent for being terrible, and there was a good amount of sequences with them. They also seemed to hunt in packs, which lead to some cool action-packed scenes.
The movie surges to its end as we find Amanda's father, Ernest Marvin, has actually been making the fishmen out of shipwreck survivors, and had a Black Lagoon looking motherfucker brewing until our boy Claude puts the unfinished fishman out of his misery. Things go mad, the volcano that sank Atlantis erupts, people start dying again, the fishmen revolt, and the whole island starts sinking.
The movie finishes pretty well, and I found myself thoroughly entertained. A solid feature to put in a terror from the seas marathon, or maybe if your having an Italian movie binge as well. So, my recommendation is that you find this movie. Buy it, stream it, watch it, whatever it takes. Don't miss out on this B-MOVIE BLOCKBUSTER.
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