Newest Reviews
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
Weapon, The
Godzilla vs. Kong
Love and Monsters
Young Wives' Tale
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
  Mystery on Monster Island Le Verne And Surely Not
Year: 1981
Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Stars: Terence Stamp, Peter Cushing, Ian Sera, David Hatton, Gasphar Ipua, Blanca Estrada, Ana Obregón, Frank Braña, Jacinto Molina, Gérard Tichy, Luis Barboo
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A man is pursued through a jungle by three others who take potshots at him, winging his arm. Frantically he searches for shelter and rushes into the nearest cave where he hides out while his attackers follow and end up down a hole that happens to contain a horde of gold bars. The men are delighted, realising they are rich, but then their quarry drops the rope ladder, trapping them as he gloats. They're not beaten however, and one manages to climb out only narrowly escaping being blown to bits by dynamite that kills everyone except him and sets off the volcano. Making it back to his ship, he tells his captain, Skinner (Terence Stamp) about his discovery... they will return.

Supposedly the most expensive Spanish film to that time, poor old Mystery on Monster Island has garnered little praise over the years, mainly because of some dubious choices by its producer and director Juan Piquer Simón, who also co-wrote the script, an adaptation of an obscure Jules Verne story (but not Mysterious Island, confusingly). Most of the cash seems to have been spent on getting the cast and crew out to exotic locations in the Canary Islands and Puerto Rico, as when the monsters of the title turn up, they're somewhat underwhelming.

Also less than impressive is the screen time given to the film's ostensible stars, Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp, as they appear for about five minutes at the beginning and five minutes at the end, and although they seem to be sharing scenes never actually share the screen in the same shot, so they could have been filmed weeks apart for all we know. Whether they met or not, doesn't really matter if you're willing to overlook their lack of contribution because they are chiefly present to set the plot in motion, which is that Cushing's movie son, Jeff Morgan (the considerably less famous Ian Serra) wishes to go off on an adventure before taking over the family business.

Although his father is reluctant, he allows it and soon Jeff has waved goodbye to his fiancée Meg (Ana Obregón) and set off with her elocution teacher Professor Thomas Artelect (David Hatton) - something not quite right there, shouldn't it be the other way around? Anyway, they set sail on the meaningfully named ship Dream and halfway through the voyage they're horrified to find the crew dead and sea monster men chasing them around - abandon ship! They wind up on the island we saw at the start of the film, apparently shipwrecked.

It's not long before they have settled in, however, after luckily finding the encampment of a previous expedition who are now apparently dead and before you can say Swiss Family Robinson the duo have a home of their own. This in spite of the antics of the highly strung Professor, a bungler who jumps at his own shadow and craves the comfort of civilisation that making friends with a chimpanzee doesn't provide. Hatton is incredibly broad in his comic relief performance, but in his defence I'd probably be reacting the same way if I had been washed up on an inhospitable island. In due course the beasts turn up, shuffling arthritically but of impressive size, as do a tribe of African-looking cannibals (in the Pacific?!). It's easy to look down on Mystery on Monster Island for its inanity, but it will remind the less critical viewer of the Amicus fantasies of the seventies like At The Earth's Core or The Land that Time Forgot and in that vein is amusing if undemanding. Catchy music by Alfonso Agulla, Alejandro Monroy and Carlos Villa.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5223 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: