Film (1978; vt Island of Mutations; vt Screamers). Dania-Medusa/New World. Directed by Sergio Martino (and Joe Dante, US version only). Written by Martino, Sergio Donati, Cesare Frugoni. Cast includes Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Joseph Cotten, Beryl Cunningham, Mel Ferrer (US version only), Richard Johnson and Cameron Mitchell (US version only). 99 minutes, cut to 91 minutes. Colour.
This is a wild Italian schlock picture, seemingly inspired by the flop The Island of Dr Moreau (1977). In 1891 a shipwrecked doctor (Cassinelli) encounters a tribe of man/fish hybrids, created for sound ethical reasons by a Mad Scientist (Cotten) but being exploited by a vintage Victorian villain (Johnson) to recover the sunken treasures of Atlantis. A heroine strutting in riding boots (Bach) and the villain's voodoo priestess mistress (Cunningham) play roles in a demented story which contains an immensely enjoyable collection of Boy's Own Clichés. For US release (as Screamers) the film was slightly recut by Roger Corman's New World and given a much gorier prologue directed by Joe Dante, with guest stars Ferrer and Mitchell – neither a stranger to Italian exploitation – being chomped by Mutant leftovers from Humanoids from the Deep (1980; vt Monster; vt Beneath the Darkness). [KN]
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