The VHS Vault opens to deliver a bizarre tale of tiny terrors on an island of death!
We start our journey on the North Atlantic in the 1920’s where a ship is in distress and various passengers get aboard dinghies. Unfortunately for one group, their dingy goes off course and floats off to a previously uncharted island.
When they get there they have to care for one of their number who is badly injured, as well as find food and water. The blokes all nip off to try to get help for the injured member of their party aside from Morgan, who is a jerk and stays with the ladies. Not because he fancies them mind you, just because he thinks the guy will be dead soon anyway.
The crew look for food and chat about their lives before they got aboard the ship that sent them to their doom. Oh no, have I spoiled the ending? I am so sorry for that. Not really, I’m just fooling! Two people survive and you will guess straight away who they are. Finding water is a bit of a hassle though as the water is acid and will burn your face off, which it does to some poor chap. There are other things on the island to0 – only briefly seen.
They get back to the wounded guy but he is dead, his bones stripped free of flesh. This is not as good as it looks and resembles a skeleton from a fancy dress shop before you put the cobwebs on it for Halloween. Night falls and the group are attacked by small creatures with glowing eyes. From here on out, it’s a cat and mouse game with the survivors trying to flee from the creatures and the little devils trying to leap on them whenever they get the chance.
Let’s get this out of the way so we all know where we stand. This film is rubbish, but strangely enjoyable all at the same time. Much like when you eat ice cream too fast and get a brain freeze, this film numbs your brain by making you enjoy the dribble you are viewing!
The start is edited together quite nicely with clips of the unfortunates flaying about while the credits pop up. There is an awesome title sequence that jumps out at you; it covers so much screen you really need to keep a safe distance or it will take your eye out.
The volume on other bits, however, is all over the place. Sometimes you just have no idea what is going on because it is either too dark or the sound equipment is just not picking up anyone talking. In comparison, the dubbed on sound is far too loud. There is a great camp fire scene that combines all of these elements where it is too dark to see anyone. The fire crackling noise is so loud it is deafening and causes blood to run down the listener’s ears. To top that off, the characters are talking but can you understand what they are saying? Not a chance. It makes no difference really, as dialogue is not really this film’s strong point anyway! The film does have a cracking tune which is your typical keyboard style tune for this era. Shame it is played constantly!
There are some very strange camera angles employed in this flick. In one great scene, the captain is addressing the survivors in a medium shot but you can only see his hands as the rest of the people look on. Acting and characters share a lot in this film – they are both shit. This is the type of film that you only learn a characters name when some screams out their name when they are dying. There are only a few characters that stand out. The captain is the guy that gives orders, Catherine is a lady dressed in bright yellow who screams a lot, Diana is a young rebel wanting to see the world and Mrs. Gordon is the older lady who does nothing much really. Then there is Morgan…
Morgan looks like a really grumpy version of Leslie Nielson. He moans constantly about everything and contributes little to the plot other than you wish he would give it a rest for a bit. Much like Harry Cooper from Night of the Living Dead, he is there to be hated but unlike Harry, Morgan’s arguments are obvious and irrelevant. Still, at least this guy has character as the rest of the gang just mope about looking confused until something is thrown at them or on them. Morgan’s funniest moment is when he becomes delirious from a wound on his leg caused by a creature having a Morgan sandwich, starts dribbling, builds up super human speed to outrace everyone who is chasing him and ends up in an acid bath. At least he went out in style.
So as you can see, this film pretty much sucks in a lot of places but the bits that it excels at keep you watching through to the end. The plot formula is pretty basic. People walk for a bit, which is really really dull and looks like the same shot of grass and undergrowth just taken from numerous directions but then something will attack them and they will get spooked and run away. It’s great when you know the dull stuff will lead to a murder of some kind.
The deaths are hilarious. There is the acid bath death, which is gross and cheesy in one fell swoop. The death itsself is quite gruesome with the guys hands melted of flesh and his face a bloody mess. The problem is the bloody mess resembles a tin of tomatoes thrown onto someone with a bit of red paint for extra measure! Awful, but hilarious. Then there is the fat bearded guy. Now I don’t want to be mean but as I never heard any one clearly say his name so why should I worry about what he is called. I have to call him something. Sure, I could look at the credits but there are numerous unnamed men in this film. All I ask for in a movie is that they bother to at least name the actors so I know who is who! Is that too much to ask? He has the personality of cardboard anyway so it’s not like I was rooting for him to last till the end. Anyway he eats some berries and then thinks, “bugger they may poison me” so he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He does have the funniest death where he sets off one of the little creature’s booby traps and falls chest first onto a spike. He then tries to remove it, screams and then falls on the floor pretty much dead. Other deaths involve a trench which some poor sap falls into then gets jumped on by monsters and the stream massacre.
This is one of the best parts of the movie where the group are attacked near a stream. Mrs. Gordon dies in the stream having about five of the creatures bite her all up but she manages to drown one of the little buggers with the added bonus of bubbles slowly disappearing from its mouth! This prompts fat bearded man to scream out in anguish more so than when anyone else dies. With the amount of missed dialogue in this film, they probably had an affair which I was unaware of. Anyway, the rest of the cast get to roll around and jump, holding onto the creatures that are biting them so they don’t fall off! The best bit is when the monsters leg it, the people all let out a sigh of relief and dust themselves off and then the creatures attack again! I have never seen this in a movie before and it had me howling with laughter.
I have teased you long enough so let us finally discuss the creatures. The introduction to them is great and actually well plotted out. We just see one pair of glowing eyes in the dark and much like the school yard scene in The Birds, we are teased more and more until they attack. For a low budget film, they actually look pretty good with their flicked back hair and massive eyes. They look very much like something that should exist in the Charles Band cannon of films. The animatronics on these suckers was really well thought out. Their arms and mouths move, which looks great when they are attacking people, but the best thing is how these suckers legs move! They speed off like Speedy Gonzales after every attack and each time I’m amazed by their little legs whizzing off into the distance. Hats off to the special effects guys on this one as they did a grand job. It was also a nice touch to give them a primitive idol to worship. Not really necessary but it’s more exposition than we got for most of the human cast so I embrace it.
To cap it all off, the ending to this flick makes no sense. The two remaining people run back to the beach (I think in this film they just do a full circle as they start on the beach anyway) but cannot find the boat. The monsters are quickly on their tail but no worries, as a small boat run by two hairy guys who look like fisherman are there and they get rescued. As far as I was aware, this island was uncharted so what the heck was a ship doing there? Especially a little fishing boat of all things. Did they get lost at sea too? If people did know about this island then why not put some blooming signs up that say monster death island or keep out big eyed beast or something like that. Either way, it’s not believable in the slightest.
It did not stop my enjoyment of this movie though. Sure it’s stupid and trashy and has no likable characters, but it has a strange kind of innocence to it that can only be found in the video age. Someone decided to make a silly horror flick about little monsters and they did it. Sure, they did not do it that well, but its fun enough for me to watch so what do I care!
If you were interested in this flick but really don’t want to spend and hour and a half watching it then this handy YouTube video has all the best bits rammed into three minutes. Personally I would watch it all just for the sheer hell of it.