‘They lived by eating human bones… and threatened to consume the world!
Island of Terror is a 1966 British science-fiction horror feature film directed by Hammer Films regular Terence Fisher – he also helmed The Earth Dies Screaming and Night of the Big Heat for Planet Film – from a screenplay written by Edward Mann (Cauldron of Blood; Seizure; The Mutations) and actor Al Ramsen.
Peter Cushing, Edward Judd (The Vault of Horror), Carole Gray (Devils of Darkness; Curse of the Fly; The Brides of Fu Manchu), Eddie Byrne, Niall MacGinnis (Night of the Demon) and Sam Kydd (The House in Marsh Road).
The idea for the film came when producer Richard Gordon read the Gerry Fernback screenplay The Night the Silicates Came.
Island of Terror was released in the US by Universal Studios on a double-bill with The Projected Man.
On the remote Petrie’s Island, farmer Ian Bellows goes missing and his wife contacts the police. Constable John Harris goes looking for him and finds him dead in a cave without a single bone in his body.
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Horrified, Harris swiftly fetches the town physician Dr Reginald Landers, but Dr Landers is unable to determine what happened to the dead man’s skeleton. Landers’ journeys to the mainland to seek the help of a noted London pathologist, Dr Brian Stanley.
Like Landers, Stanley is unable to even hypothesise what could have happened to Ian Bellows, so both men seek out Dr David West, an expert on bones and bone diseases. Although Stanley and Landers interrupt West’s dinner date with the wealthy jet-setter Toni Merrill, West is intrigued by the problem and so agrees to accompany the two doctors back to Petrie’s Island to examine the corpse.
In order for them to reach the island that much faster, Merrill offers the use of her father’s private helicopter in exchange for the three men allowing her to come along on the adventure…
” …one of the very best monster movies to come out of Great Britain in the 1960s. Not only do its script and direction give the audience credit for a great deal of B-movie erudition, it isn’t overly protective of its main characters (some surprisingly nasty things happen to some surprisingly important people in this movie), and its monsters, though none too convincingly realized, are an extremely imaginative departure from the mutant lizards and gigantic bugs we’re accustomed to in the genre.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“Island of Terror also lacks a great deal of conviction. The scene where Edward Judd is forced to cut off Peter Cushing’s arm to save his life would have had some brutal effect were it not undermined by the sight of Cushing cheerfully sitting up being bandaged in the following scene. The film taps into the peculiar isolationist mentality of 1960s Britain. Unfortunately, the menace is too dull to be effective.” Moria
“Minor genre entry which makes the most of its low budget thanks to first rate direction by Terence Fisher, adequate special effects and attractive cinematography.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982
“It’s a strangely sedate movie, given its outré subject matter and lurid title, which is probably both a strength and a weakness. Fisher shoots it in naturalistic tones and the actors mostly give restrained performances. Cushing is excellent, as always, though his character often takes a backseat to Edward Judd’s more charismatic scientist character. He does get to lose a hand, though, in probably the film’s tensest moment.” Innsmouth Free Press
“Minor genre entry which makes the most of its low budget thanks to first-rate direction by Terence Fisher, adequate special effects and attractive cinematography.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Handbook
“Exteriors are interesting when we see the overcast skies, the foggy woods, the actors breathing in the midst. Action comes very often compared with other sci-fi horror films of the era. Weird blob sound effects might be overdone, and the coda is too campy, but these are minor flaws.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“While Island of Terror is great fun, it is a film of its era. In its day, it was pushing the limits of gore with its grotesque human corpses and the hand-chopping scene—but by today’s standards it is quite tame. Also, Carole Gray’s character is basically a trembling scream machine, but the film strikes a particularly sour chord when, unbeknownst to her, the men make preparations to euthanize her so she won’t be consumed by the silicates alive.” Top 100 Sci Fi Movies
“Fisher, better known for his Hammer horror films, creates some effective if nasty, images.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction
A silicate monster fridge magnet
Cast and characters:
Peter Cushing … Doctor Brian Stanley
Edward Judd … Doctor David West
Carole Gray … Toni Merrill
Eddie Byrne … Doctor Reginald Landers
Sam Kydd … Constable John Harris
Niall MacGinnis … Roger Campbell
James Caffrey … Peter Argyle
Liam Gaffney … Ian Bellows
Roger Heathcote … Dunley
Keith Bell … Halsey
Margaret Lacey … Old Woman
Shay Gorman … Morton
Peter Forbes-Robertson … Doctor Lawrence Phillips
Richard Bidlake … Carson
Joyce Hemson … Mrs Bellows
Filming locations (August 1965):
Black Park, Wexham, Buckinghamshire, England (car driving through woods and battle against silicates)
St. Huberts, St. Huberts Lane, Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire, England (Phillips’s House-exterior)
Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England
Aspect Ratio: 1.66: 1
Audio: Mono (Westrex Recording System)