Thursday, 19 September 2013



Yet another cheap horror movie that's fallen down the back of the international distribution sofa, and if it wasn't for YouTube (yet again) it would probably be even more obscure and forgotten, which considering the strength of the cast would be a great shame. I was first aware of it when I chances upon the soundtrack LP in a London HMV; it was only when looking it up afterwards that I found it was originally a trashy Italian horror movie entitled Island Of The Fishmen. Of course that was before Roger Corman got his claws on it and added some new, unrelated material to the start of the movie and gave it a significantly less silly title. Still, with Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson, Cameron Mitchell and Mel Ferrer on hand, how can it possibly go wrong?

As it transpires, quite easily, since the story is headbangingly wacko. Evil bastard Richard Johnson (who only just stops short of twirling his moustache and tying damsels to railway tracks) has imprisoned legendary biologist Joseph Cotten and is forcing him to breed a race of amphibian fish people who can retrieve the treasures of the Temple Of The Sun God in the Lost City Of Atlantis for him, and is keeping Cotten's comely daughter Barbara Bach prisoner as leverage (and the occasional object of his perverted lusts and desires). But a prison ship has sunk in nearby storms, and the surviving doctor (Claudio Cassinelli) promptly saves Cotten, defeats Johnson, rescues Bach, and then a volcano erupts and the film stops.

It's really no surprise that Screamers is a load of old tosh. But it's got a great cast of hasbeens and cult actors (Barbara Bach is worth seeing in almost anything, even if it's one of the least exciting Bond films of the canon), the bursts of gore are occasionally startling and the fishman suits are actually pretty good. It's still nothing remarkable, however, and whether it works better in its original Italian version (without the Mitchell/Ferrer prologue) isn't really worth investigating. A moderately engaging diversion but no more.


No comments: