Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

August 29, 2012

Movie Review: Isle of the Snake People (1971, Cheezy Flicks)

Directed by Juan Ibanez, Jack Hill
Starring Boris Karloff, Julissa and Carlos East

A small remote island is the home for voodoo rites, a death cult and an evil priest named Damballah. Local law enforcement turns a blind eye to their evil ways until captain Labesch arrives from the mainland, determined to crack down on the islands lawlessness, and clean up the hard drinking police force. The captain appeals to plantation tycoon, Carl Van Molder (Boris Karloff), for help but is quickly warned not to interfere with the customs of the natives, or face dire consequences.  Undeterred, the captain begins a crackdown on the voodoo rituals which are happening nightly and quickly finds out that the forces of evil inhabiting the island are much more powerful then he ever imagined.

This was one of the last movies to star the legendary horror icon Boris Karloff. At this point in his life, Karloff had lost one of his lungs to cancer and was forced to film his scenes in Hollywood, with the majority of the filming taking place in Mexico, mostly under the direction of one of the kings of 70‘s b-movies, Jack Hill. Even at his advanced age though, Karloff is still pretty feisty and puts in a solid performance. Overall, this film is certainly not an Oscar-worthy effort but by b-movie standards its still pretty fun on quite a few levels. You’ve got Karloff, dressed in his best Colonel Sanders getup, practicing magic with the help of his super-hot housekeeper who is also a snake fondling voodoo priestess. You’ve got a midget witch-doctor who loves whipping native girls, locals re-animating the dead for love slaves, animal sacrifice rituals and voodoo zombies galore.

Helping to ease the pain of a somewhat silly story line is an abundance of over-the-top, melodramatic acting by just about all parties involved, from Karloff to the hot housekeeper to the midget and the police captain. The overall feel of the film is similar to a spaghetti western, with a pretty creepy and effective musical score that compliments the flamboyant acting styles employed by the actors. With that being said, it does get a bit tedious, as the story does at times seem to crawl along slowly. There is one bloody scene that stands out, with some female zombies feasting on someones guts but overall the gore level is very mild. This one seems to favor atmosphere over gore to set the tone of the film. A big sore-spot with this one for me was the sound quality which was pretty bad throughout. It wasn't horrendous but was bad enough to be noticeably annoying at times.

Karloff fans and fans of the silly jungle horror movies of the 70's will find enough here to have a good time, even with its flaws I’m sure. But that's a pretty narrow cinematic niche, so the average movie fan may find this one, well......just plain stupid. It all depends on your personal taste, this one is definitely heavy on the cheese, and that is something that I personally find very appealing. And when you add in the totally bad-ass trailers and intermission reels which are included with all the Cheezy Flicks releases, it makes this one a solid nights entertainment in my book.

I rate it 7 out of 10
*Cheezy Flicks Movie Trailers
*Intermission Time
*About Cheezy Flicks Entertainment

No comments:

Post a Comment