Saturday, April 12, 2014

Island of the Fishmen, Barbara Bach and Sea Monsters!

In 1979 Sergio Martino directed Barbara Bach and Claudio Cassinelli in "The Big Alligator River" (reviewed in this blog on March 13th).  Also in 1979, this trio teamed up for "Island of the Fishmen."  I have always been partial to movies with sea creatures, and movies with Barbara Bach, so both these Italian flicks are perfect for this blog.  "Alligator" featured an evil land developer and a big toothy alligator, and "Fishmen" features mad scientists and humanoid sea creatures.  Add in some voodoo, an ominous volcano, the lost continent of Atlantis, and Joseph Cotten (Baron Blood) and we have the makings of a perfect B Movie.
The plot: Claude (Cassinelli) is a prison doctor who is aboard a lifeboat, with several violent convicts, after his prison ship sinks.  Close to death from starvation and thirst, their boat is attacked by humanoid sea creatures who claw to death most of the prisoners.  The survivors (Claude and a few Devil's Island refugees) then wash up on a mysterious island which is displaying an alarming amount of volcanic activity.  Once on the island, the convicts begin to meet horrible fates at the hands of the monsters, and are spooked to find numerous signs of voodoo.  Claude almost perishes when a viper lunges at him, but a mysterious gal on horseback, named Amanda (Bach), blows the serpent in half.  Amanda then warns our survivors to get back to the beach and leave the island any way they can, or die.
 Captivated by her beauty, the trio follow Amanda to a luxurious compound where they meet Edmund (Richard Johnson) who initially wants the men gone, but when he finds out that Claude is a doctor, he changes his mind.  Amanda is a mysterious figure to Claude.  Initially all we know about her is that she likes to shoot, ride horseback, and take baths (see above picture).  Claude and Amanda begin making goo-goo eyes at each other and Edmund has to remind her not to get too attached to someone who will be dead soon.  The drama heightens as the remaining convicts are picked off by the creatures and Amanda is spied rendezvousing with these beasts, who seem to adore her.  As the volcanic activity increases, Edmund reveals to Claude the secret of these creatures, and it is a hideous one.
   This is a good-looking cast and the relationship between Amanda and Claude intensifies as the movie progresses.  Throw in Joseph Cotten as a deranged biologist who turns humans into gilled slave laborers (see picture above), and a subplot about a voodoo revolt and Atlantis, and this movie is a guaranteed winner.  Will Amanda's relationship with her adoring sea creatures free her from Edmund's bondage?  Will the sea creatures approve of Claude as her new main-squeeze?  Will Joseph Cotten be allowed to continue his experiments?  Well acted, and neat sea monsters make "Island of the Fishmen" a must see.

1 comment:

  1. You can't make this stuff up. I need to see this one!