Films

Island of Terror (1966) REVIEW

Island of Terror (1966) REVIEW
Staff Writer

Island of Terror (1966)TITLE: Island of Terror

YEAR RELEASED: 1966

DIRECTOR: Terence Fisher

CAST: Peter Cushing, Edward Judd and Carole Gray

BUY FROM AMAZON: Click here


REVIEW BY STEWART KING


This is a great slice of 1966 sci-fi horror that was shot in rural England and is a particular childhood favourite of mine.  I remember first catching it on a late night showing while on holiday.  It’s a bit like watching a graphic, feature length episode of 60s/70s Doctor Who – it has a distinctly British feel, there’s some mad science and some nasty but cut price monsters that remain hidden at the start of the story.  Peter Cushing’s presence re-enforces this but it’s also atmospheric and hugely enjoyable.

Set on the remote, phoneless (!) Petrie’s Island, just off the coast of  Ireland, a cancer research centre unleashes radioactive lumps of tissue  called the silicates – I told you it’s like Doctor Who – that inject a bone-dissolving enzyme into their victims and leave them looking like human trifles.  The silicates are like small, crawling, organic versions of the saucers from WAR OF THE WORLDS complete with snaking antennae.

When the film opens we see farmer, Ian Bellows, fall victim to the silicates but as we only hear the bone crunching attack can only imagine his fate. Constable John Harris discovers his filleted body and town physician, Dr Reginald Landers (Eddie Byrne) calls in pathologist Dr Brian Stanley (Cushing).  He, in turn, brings in bone expert Dr David West (Edward Judd) who wangles a flight out to the island in a helicopter belonging to the father of glamorous jetsetter, Toni Merrell (Carole Gray) whom West is dining with.  Toni insists on coming along for the ride.

Arriving at the research lab they find that Doctor Lawrence Phillips and his colleagues have also been reduced to quivering heaps of jelly but secure the Doctor’s notes and deduce that the silicates were the result of an experiment with the silicone atom.

Shaky science out of the way it’s time for them to take the battle to the silicates and things go from bad to worse with the monsters attacking more humans as well as learning to climb trees!  Nothing it appears can stop them – bullets, fire or even a good old-fashioned axe.  The rare isotope Strontium-90 is the answer and there’s a store of it back at the lab. Cushing is attacked by a silicate and loses his hand as they try to obtain it.

Cattle are then contaminated with Strontium-90 and our heroes lie in wait for the silicates to take the bait.  Order is restored and everyone is relieved that the reign of terror was isolated.  But we then cut to Japan where similar experiments are already underway.

The screenplay by Gerry Fernback was originally entitled ‘THE NIGHT THE SILICATES CAME and after producer Richard Gordon took on the project and got Terence Fisher to direct ISLAND OF TERROR was released by Universal on a double bill with THE PROJECTED MAN.

Make no bones about it – sorry about that – it’s certainly worth tracking the silicates down on DVD.


STEWART KING is an editor and horror journalist who has written for The Spectator and HuffingtonPost as well as Screem Magazine.  He is also the  author of a brand new collection – GHOST STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS – FESTIVE SKIN CRAWLERS WITH A TWIST available here. Check out his other horror novellas including BLOODBATH ON THE TITANIC, X FACTOR ZOMBIE MASSACRE and STRICTLY CHAINSAW PSYCHOS here.  You can stalk him Twitter.


Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

More in Films

Vampirella

11 greatest Hammer Horrors never made

Barry McCann28th April 2015
Nosferatu (1922) restored

Count Orlock’s shadowy vampire still chills with Nosferatu (1922)

Barry McCann24th April 2015
The-Snarling-1

The Snarling mixes laughs with old school horror

Pollyanna Jones23rd April 2015
The-Nanny-1965

The Nanny (1965) REVIEW

Peter Fuller18th April 2015
The Children (2008)

The Children (2008) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones17th April 2015
Joan Collins in I Don't Want to be Born

I Don’t Want To Be Born (1975) REVIEW

Peter Fuller17th April 2015
Damien-from-The-Omen-(1976)

Top 10 Kills from The Omen

Richard Phillips-Jones16th April 2015
The Godsend

The Godsend (1980) REVIEW

Peter Fuller15th April 2015
Village of the Damned Main

Top 10 Creepiest Kids in British Horror

Richard Phillips-Jones15th April 2015
Citadel-(2012)-scene

Citadel (2012) REVIEW

Ann O'Regan14th April 2015
Omen IV: The Awakening

Omen IV: The Awakening (1991) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones13th April 2015
Jonathan Scott-Taylor in Damien Omen II

Damien: Omen II (1978) REVIEW

Richard Phillips-Jones12th April 2015