Review of “Death in Vivid Blue” by Lawrence Buentello

Plot:

Liam Terrell sees the beauty of the euthanasia agent when it first enters the sparse room. The agent is a robot and, though not designed to look human, displays an artistic form and grace. It walks on two legs. Its hands are crafted to handle delicate and fine manipulations. The whole body is finished in cobalt blue, which sets off the red of the sensors that serve as eyes.

“I’m so sorry we have to meet under these circumstances,” the agent tells Terrell in a voice that makes him wonder if there isn’t a human under the cobalt blue finish. “But I am here to fulfill your wishes. I assure you that you’ll feel no pain. You’ll simply fall asleep and not sense anything thereafter. That is what you wish, isn’t it?”

Medications no longer block the pain his cancer inflicts on him. He is ready for his life and his suffering to end.

However, he has a couple of questions.

He begins by asking the robot, “What do you think of human life?”

Thoughts:

Though assisted suicide is central to the story, the story neither advocates nor condemns it. The reader is merely offered a world where—given the right circumstances, authorizations, and correctly filled out paperwork—it is an option.

More at issue are the differences between a human and a life-like robot. Is programmed material real? What about aspects of life like caring and compassion? Can robots learn such human traits?

The reader can’t expect a happy Hallmark ending, given the topic. Just the same, the ending makes sense and is satisfying.

Bio:

According to his blurb, author Lawrence Buentello has published over 100 short stories in various genres and is a Pushcart Prize and Edgar Award nominee. His fiction has appeared in Murky Depths, Cover of Darkness, Bete Noire, and several other publications. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

The story can be read here.

Title: “Death in Vivid Blue”
Author: Lawrence Buentello
First published: October 23, 2020, Theme of Absence

Review of “Assisted Suicide” by Brian Wells

Plot:

Keith spreads out the paint cloth across the dining room floor. His phone rings. His curiosity overcoming annoyance, he answers.

Need help murdering your wife?

This has to be a joke. Besides, no one could know what he was planning. “Who is this?”

It’s his credit card app. It tells him it wants Keith to “get the results you require from the products you charge on your card. It’s my way of thanking you for your business.”

“Larry?” Keith asks. “Is that you?”

Thoughts:

This short little piece is entertaining, building up to the nice little plot twist at the end. If the end isn’t a complete surprise, the journey there is engaging and enjoyable. Keith is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Underlying all this is the idea that people are becoming more reliant on impersonal sources of knowledge. Unlike that encyclopedias or card catalogs of yore, these sources are becoming ever more adept at harvesting information from the seeker. The story illustrates how searches might come back to, er, bite the searcher.

This is a quick little read, with every step leading up to the end. I liked it.

Bio:

According to his blurb, author Brian Wells is a physicist-barista who discusses quantum mechanics with customers when not making words and lattes. He’s managed to give fictional characters the wherewithal to save the world, save the solar system, and even save the universe from malevolent and incompetent forces. (Salvation of the universe is still pending completion of his current WIP.)


This story can be read here.

Title: “Assisted Suicide”
Author: Brian Wells
First published: October 19, 2020, Daily Science Fiction

Review of “The Devil Doll” (1936)

Trailer “The Devil Doll”


Saturday pizza and bad movie night with Svengoolie. This was an old-fashioned melodrama of sorts. And pizza.

Plot:

Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) and an elderly Marcel (Henry B. Walthall) escape Devil’s Island—no mean feat. They arrive at Marcel’s home, where his wife Malita (Rafaela Ottiano) has been carrying on his experiments in shrinking living beings, namely dogs, small enough to be held in one’s hand. Malita uses a crutch for a bad leg and has a white streak in her hair, a la the bride of Frankenstein. Marcel’s idea is that because smaller animals need less food to survive, there will be no more food shortages. This is all for the good of mankind.

Marcel and Malita did not experiment on humans because there seem to be problems with the smaller animals’ minds. They lose all will of their own and will only act when commanded. Marcel says he has now figured out how to overcome that problem. Tragically, he dies while showing Lavond how to use the miniaturizing machine on the servant girl, Lachna (Grace Ford).

Some months later, in Paris, three bankers read of the prison escape, which the police have only now made public. They expect the convict Lavond to return to Paris, where his aged mother still lives. The bankers falsely accused Lavond of embezzlement and murder. This could go very bad for them.

At about the same time, an elderly woman with a robust frame, Madame Mandelip, opens a doll shop in Paris. Her assistant uses a crutch for a bad leg and has a white streak in her hair. Her dolls are incredibly life-like.

Madame Mandelip has become friendly with a young girl who works in a laundry, Lorraine Lavond (Maureen O’Sullivan). She even calls on the young girl’s grandmother, Mme. Lavond (Lucy Beaumont), where she learns that Lorraine has not forgiven her father for being a convict and leaving the family in poverty.

Because he can control the dolls through a type of hypnosis, Lavond sends them out to steal from the bankers who unjustly accused him and to physically injure them. He seeks not to kill the men but to destroy.

More than vengeance on the bankers, he wishes to win the love of his daughter.

Thoughts:

What happened to all the dogs, normal and miniaturized, when Lavond and Malita set out for Paris?

The special effects would not pass muster for 2020, but for 1936, they seem quite nice. The human “dolls” crawl across furniture and bedding. The dogs, however, are another matter. When Marcel and Lavond hold the miniature dogs in their hands, they are quite clearly toy dogs. The story explains their lethargy as a lack of will brought on by the miniaturization process. Once they are given commands, they spring to life, not in the hand, but on the tabletop.

One of the dolls is a miniaturized banker, Victor Radin (Arthur Hohl). Madame Mandelip brought a doll to show him as a means to persuade him to invest in her shop. She ended up injecting him with a paralyzing agent, then shrinking him, thus robbing him of will and stature.

In one sequence, little Radin and little Lachna, led by a gleeful Malita, perform a dance on a tabletop. For no apparent reason, little Radin slaps little Lachna and throws her to the ground. He then twirls her almost like an ice skater, sending her spinning over the table edge onto the floor. Oh, what a time for the shop’s bell to ring!

A customer refers to a weeping Lachna doll with a term that that sounds like “apasch.” A little searching revealed it’s spelled “Apache” and denotes a style of dance popular in the early twentieth century in France. The name was drawn from Parisian street gangs and involved slapping, kicking, or throwing one’s partner around—presumably, these were stage rather than actual blows. I found a couple of clips from the 30s. These were hard for me to watch, even though I admired the athleticism of the couples.

Yeah, so this is what Malita had Radin and Lachna doing to each other for her entertainment.

The movie offers some comic relief also. A policeman comes to call after a necklace belonging to one a wife of one of the bankers. It’s known that Madame Mandelip was at the banker’s house the day before, admiring the necklace. He’s already pried the gem out of its setting. Malita has to hide it while Madame Mandelip and the officer are talking.

The movie is based on the 1932 novel Burn, Witch, Burn! by weird fiction author Abraham Merritt.

The ending was not what I expected, frankly, it did pose the question, abstractly: is revenge worth it?




Title: The Devil Doll (1936)

Directed by
Tod Browning…(uncredited)

Writing Credits
Garrett Fort…(screenplay)&
Guy Endore…(screenplay) and
Erich von Stroheim…(screenplay) (as Eric Von Stroheim)
Tod Browning…(story)
Abraham Merritt…(novel) (Burn, Witch, Burn)
Richard Schayer…(contributor to dialogue) (uncredited)

Cast (in credits order)
Lionel Barrymore…Paul Lavond
Maureen O’Sullivan…Lorraine Lavond
Frank Lawton…Toto
Rafaela Ottiano…Malita
Robert Greig…Emil Coulvet

Released: July 10, 1936
Length: 1 hour, 18 minutes

Review of “Can you come out and play?” by Rick McQuiston

Image by israelbest from Pixabay

Plot:

The narrator is mourning his wife, who died in childbirth. Two earlier pregnancies ended in stillbirths. While there was still hope, he whispered to his wife’s belly, “Can you come out and play?”

Now, months later, the narrator is making himself some tea. He sees something moving in his yard but doesn’t want to think about what it might be.

Thoughts:

The narrator blames himself for his wife’s death. He believes his words, an invitation to their son to come into the world, imbued him with magic to live and come out to wreak the havoc he did in their lives. Is any of this true? It is true enough for the narrator.

The reader feels the narrator’s sense of mourning as a heavy weight. His feelings of guilt, as if he were responsible for his wife’s death, also weighs him down.

Unfortunately, the impact of this is diminished by opening with the narrator’s guilt and remorse. I could picture him in his kitchen, weeping and wailing and pulling his hair out while he was waiting for the water to heat for his tea.

He’s thinking of the invitation he offered to his son, then the reader is told, “Little did I know that now, many months later, how they would come back to haunt me.”

I found the line heavy-handed.

The narrator’s sorrow and longing are credible, not to mention his guilt. This sort of thing adds a layer of pathos, in my opinion, that diminishes the story and the ultimate horror.

Just my two cents’ worth.

Bio:

According to his blurb, Rick McQuiston is a fifty-one-year-old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He’s had over 400 publications so far, and written five novels, ten anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors. He’s also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School.  Currently, he’s working on a new novel.

I wish him the best of luck with that novel.

The story can be read here.

Title: “Can you come out and play?”
Author: Rick McQuiston
First published: October 16, 2020, Theme of Absence

Review of “The Beast Weeps with One Eye” by Morgan Al-Moor

Regarding PodCastle

I’ve been considering adding to the media that I draw reviews from. Some time ago, I stumbled across PodCastle, which, true to its name, offers fantasy stories via podcast. They also have online text versions. They solicit paid subscriptions of various levels, but the podcast and online versions are readily available without cost. The podcasts appear on Tuesdays and last roughly thirty and sixty minutes. I’ve heard stories by contemporary authors as well as Charlotte Perkins Gilman—and not “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Many stories seem to have an element of magical realism and draw from non-Western tradition traditions and settings. This is refreshing, particularly if the story itself is new or lends a new twist to an old story. Of particular note along this line is “South China Sea” by Z.M. Quỳnh, a fantasy-imbued recounting of people fleeing by boat a land they can no longer live in.

On the News section of their page, they note they’ve been nominated for the inaugural Ignyte Awards.

The first review is “The Beast Weeps with One Eye,” by Morgan Al-Moor:

Plot:

The Bjebu people have spent three days fleeing through the grasslands after an attack on their village by murderous ravens. The ravens have destroyed the village, and thirty people have died during their flight. Three hundred remain, overjoyed now to see the Nyamba River and give thanks to the Elders.

Word from Mkiwa, the chief huntress, passes the shamaness (“High Sister”): the ravens are returning. They’ve never left. The shamaness communicates with the earth to seek shelter. She’s told they are within the abode of the Keeper of Sorrows. Despite warnings, she begs the Ancient Land to open a sanctuary.

The earth trembles, and the people see a stone structure that wasn’t there before. With the ravens pursuing them, they follow the shamaness into the structure. She realizes it’s the sanctuary of Babawa-Kunguru, the Keeper of Sorrows and the Father of Ravens. He offers the shamaness and the people not only their lives but a home—in exchange for three offerings of sorrow.

What choice does she have? She agrees.

Thoughts:

No setting is ever specified, but Eastern Africa is implied, with descriptions of landscape and clothing. The shamaness wears a khanga (also spelled kanga), for example. In his notes, Al-Moor said that he is originally from southern Egypt, near the Nubian border, and that this story was intended to reflect folklore from his country of origin.

The story contains some lovely, evocative language. When the Bjebu people arrive at the Nyamba River, the reader is told:

The grasslands stretched around us, bathed in the early rays of dawn — a rippling ocean of green in the fresh wind. The blue mountains guarded the horizon, gathering around their highest peak — Mount Wawazee, the abode of the Elders. I caught a breath of the dewy air. Deer grazed in the shadow of a far tree, oblivious to our clamor.

This scene-setting might seem out of place after a harrowing escape from a deadly attack and a three-day flight, but the shamaness is taking stock. Are they safe yet? It works. The shamaness spends more time talking to the powers of the otherworld—the earth and the Elders and later, Babawa-Kunguru— than she does to human beings. This also works. She’s fighting a battle on an unseen plane. The rent is coming due, and the landlord has hinted at the deepest of miseries to follow.

In the meantime, the Bjebu start to rebuild their lives. The farmers dig an irrigation canal. The shamaness leads a trading party to a nearby village. These steps forward do not come without setbacks, of course. Babawa-Kunguru wants his offerings of sorrow.

What good do the offerings of sorrow do for Babawa-Kunguru? How does he benefit? This is part of what lends the story its strength. He’s not merely out to conquer the universe.

Laurice White, who does the narration, seems to take the many unfamiliar words in stride. That she can do so is one reason why she does this sort of work for a living, and I don’t. She reads at a majestic pace, making sure her words come into your earphones clearly but not too quickly.

Overall, I enjoyed this tale.

This story can be read (and heard) here.



Bio:

According to the author’s blurb, Morgan Al-Moor is a doctor, a writer, and a translator from Toronto, Canada, who can sometimes be found dabbling in cartography or admiring another guitar in an old, forgotten store. On Twitter, Morgan noted that this is a first pro short story.


Title: “The Beast Weeps with One Eye”
Author: Morgan Al-Moor
Narrator: Laurice White
Host: Setsu Uzeume
Audio Producer: Graeme Dunlop
Duration: 1 hour, 2 minutes
Rated: PG-13
First published: January 3, 2019, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Listened to: October 15, 2020, PodCastle

Review of “A Kept Species” by Jamie Wahls

Image by teeveesee from Pixabay

Plot:

The story looks back at the alien invasion:

The aliens [sic]ships deployed missiles the size of roses’ thorns, and sleeted down over our cities. They interfaced with the internet, uploaded themselves into our computers and phones, and seized control.

When people cry out, asking what the aliens want, the only answer they receive is not to be afraid. “We love you.”

Thoughts:

Of course, the aliens aren’t entirely altruistic, though humanity benefits from the invasion. There is a price to pay, both for the favored and for the cast aside.

Wahls draws a parallel between the alien “love” for humanity and human love for pets. Is it, indeed, love? Even if dogs are happy, are they in some way less whole animals than the wolves they evolved from with the selective breeding they’ve endured at the hands of humans? They were once independent creatures, but are now largely dependent on humans. What’s it like to be a dog? What’s it like to be a dog who doesn’t make the cut?

I don’t know if any of this was in the author’s mind, of course. I’m reading a lot into a short short. The little tale says a lot in a few words.


Bio:

According to the bio on his page, author Jamie Wahls is a writer, programmer, pianist, suicide counselor, voice actor, massage therapist, mime, model, ex-millionaire, Krav Magi, scuba diver, game developer, neuroscience enthusiast, dance instructor, vegetarian, and very cautious driver. His short story, “Utopia, LOL,” published in Strange Horizons, was nominated for a Best Short Story Nebula Award in 2017.


“A Kept Species” can be read here.


Title: “A Kept Species”
Author: Jamie Wahls
First published: October 11, 2020, Daily Science Fiction

Review of “Tarantula” (1955)

Image from IMDB

Saturday pizza and bad movie night with Svengoolie featured a 50s black-and-white mad scientist and monster flick—and some unfortunate sheep.

Plot:

The opening scenes show a deformed man (an uncredited Eddie Parker) stumbling through a desert. Dressed in striped pajamas, he’s obviously near death and soon collapses near a highway. The camera pans away from him, and then, the title Tarantula appears.

This is odd. What has one to do with the other?

The action then switches to the return by private plane of Dr. Matt Hastings (John Agar) to the fictional small desert community of Desert Rock, Arizona. Despite being tired from his trip, he answers the summons by the local sheriff, Jack Andrews (Nestor Paiva), to examine a body at the morgue. Dr. Hastings says the body looks like that of Eric Jacobs. However, the deformities on the face and hands appear to result from acromegaly, a pituitary gland disease, and would take an extended period of time to develop. Jacobs seemed fine when Hastings saw him a couple of days earlier.

Professor Gerald Deemer, Jacobs’ boss at the research lab outside of town, shows up and declares the condition to be acromegaly. He is clearly upset at the news of Jacobs’ death. (… Could there be an underlying reason…?) Because Jacobs had no family, Deemer offers to arrange for the funeral. None of this sits well with Hastings, but since Deemer is a highly-esteemed older man, the sheriff takes his word over Hastings’.

Back at the lab, the viewer watches Professor Deemer prepare and note injections for various animals, including a guinea pig of unusual size and a tarantula about the size of a Doberman pinscher. He is attacked by his other research assistant, Paul Lund (Eddie Parker, uncredited yet again). In their struggle, the lab catches fire, and the large tarantula’s enclosure is broken. Lund injects Deemer while he lies unconscious on the floor and expires soon afterward. The tarantula/Doberman saunters out the back door. Deemer revives in time to put the fire out before it spreads. He buries Lund in the backyard.

The sheriff soon receives a complaint from a farmer about some predator attacking his cattle and leaving only bones.

Thoughts:

The mad scientists aren’t all that mad. They were trying to devise an all-in-one nutrient to feed the world’s three billion (and growing) people before we run out of food. (There are approximately 7.7 billion people today.) It caused animals and arachnids to grow rapidly. Why it would act differently on humans as opposed to other mammals is never addressed.

The nutrient is explained to the viewer and to Dr. Hastings by way of a new lab assistant, the comely Stephanie ‘Steve’ Clayton, whose services Eric Jacobs arranged for before his untimely demise. Dr. Hastings likes her, and even arranges a sort of date after his tour of the lab. Professor Deemer, aware Jacobs was expecting an additional assistant, welcomes her, but tells her she doesn’t look like any biologist he knows of. Nevertheless, perhaps aware his own clock is ticking, he shows her the ropes. The fire in the lab he explains as an electrical short. And Paul Lund—uh, uh….he had to go out of town. The Professor is not sure where he is or when he’ll be back.

Steve gets to walk around the desert in a calf-length pencil skirt and spike heels, unaware that a giant tarantula is about to try to topple boulders onto her and her beau. Those 50s women’s styles might look elegant, but they’re not the kind of thing you want to be wearing when you’re running away from monster spiders.

But look, my god, a giant spider is coming over the hill! It’s attacked cattle and left nothing but bones! It’s picked up a truck transporting sheep and—oh, you don’t want to know.

There’s a pretty high body count in this flick.

All the dynamite in town doesn’t stop this now building-size monster. What’s left? Call out the Air Force, which leads to a pleasant surprise. The jet squadron leader is an uncredited twenty-five-year-old-ish Clint Eastwood, though it’s hard to tell with the oxygen mask on his face.

From the perspective of 2020, the special effects are unconvincing. For example, Professor Deemer never interacts with the guinea pig. Nevertheless, on its intended medium—the movie screen—this could be striking.

The exteriors were shot around Apple Valley and Dead Man’s Point in Lucerne Valley in California, the filming site for westerns such as Stagecoach (1939). The dearly beloved recognized Bell Mountain in the background, a landmark that bears an uncanny resemblance to those bell curves teachers used to talk about.

Like so many movies of its type, this movie was fun. You just can’t take it seriously.




Title: Tarantula (1955)

Directed by
Jack Arnold

Writing Credits
Robert M. Fresco…(screenplay) and
Martin Berkeley…(screenplay)
Jack Arnold…(story) and
Robert M. Fresco…(story)

Cast (in credits order)
John Agar…Dr. Matt Hastings
Mara Corday…Stephanie ‘Steve’ Clayton
Leo G. Carroll…Prof. Gerald Deemer
Nestor Paiva…Sheriff Jack Andrews
Ross Elliott…Joe Burch

Released: February 20, 1956 (Sweden)
Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Review of “Oblivious Obsolescence” by Don Nigroni

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Plot:

There isn’t a plot to this one. The narrator is reacting to a November 1980 article he (?) read, presumably in 2019, about occupations that became obsolete in the twentieth century: switchboard operator, elevator operator, iceman, cigarette girl, and pinsetter. The narrator and generations of his family have followed one now-obsolete occupation—yeah, thanks very much, modern technology!— which was once invaluable to humanity and for which they are uniquely qualified.

Thoughts:

As for obsolete jobs, I worked as a switchboard operator for some years after the putative article was written. I had to spend a couple seconds thinking about what a pinsetter is. Was.

In the narrator’s case, it’s not merely a matter of learning new skills and getting a new job. The family has a unique talent for obtaining material necessary for human life, yet it’s no longer needed.

Times change. Memories fade.

This tale is short, all leading up to a single punchline. I liked it.

Bio:

According to his blurb, author Don Nigroni received a BS in economics from Saint Joseph’s University and a MA in philosophy from Notre Dame and worked as an economist for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has been published in Ambit, Asymmetry Fiction, Mystery Tribune, 365 tomorrows, and 50-Word Stories. In addition, his poetry has appeared in Candelabrum and Mystery Time.

The story can be read here.



Title: “Oblivious Obsolescence”
Author: Don Nigroni
First published: October 9, 2020 Theme of Absence

Review of “The Capes We Wear” by Avra Margariti

Plot:

Wonderboy, with his sidekick (and uncle), the Shield, defends Trafalgar Square against an attack of flying robot monkeys. One of the monstrosities bites Wonderboy, who calls out to his Uncle Elijah before he blacks out.

The Shield removes a glove and blasts the monkey into oblivion. He sees the attack as the sloppy work of the Twisted Twins, the latest supervillains to arise.

He sighs, picks up Wonderboy, and brings him home to the lab. He has an antidote to the robot monkey venom. Long ago, he developed it.

Thoughts:

Elijah narrates the tale. For much of the story, it’s as if he were speaking to his nephew, whose given name is Nico.

The opening paragraphs are a little confusing. It took a second reading for me to get my bearings as to what was going on. The story pokes a little fun as superhero tropes. It does not, however, denigrate them. This is not satire. It seems to primarily address the redemptive power of love.

Bio:

According to her blurb, author Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, Lackington’s, Vastarien, Asimov’s, and other venues. Avra won the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review prize for fiction. You can find her on twitter @avramargariti.

The story can be read read here.



Title: “The Capes We Wear”
Author: Avra Margariti
First published: October 5, 2020, Daily Science Fiction

Review of Island of Terror (1966)

from IMDB

As promised, monsters and cheesy specials effects. Saturday night pizza and bad movie night with Svengoolie.

Plot:

On isolated Petrie Island off the Irish coast, Mrs. Bellows (Joyce Hemson) notices her husband Ian (Liam Gaffney) hasn’t come home. She contacts Constable John Harris (Sam Kydd) and asks him to go look for him.

Meanwhile, oncologist Dr. Lawrence Phillips (Peter Forbes-Robertson) is holed with his research team in a laboratory in a castle on the island. Dr. Phillips is hopeful they’re on the verge of discovering a cure for cancer.

Constable Harris finds what remains of Ian Bellows in a cave. There doesn’t appear to be a mark on him. He is, however, missing every bone in his body.

Suitably spooked, the good constable turns to physician Dr. Reginald Landers (Eddie Byrne), who is dumbfounded. Dr. Landers goes to the mainland for a specialist, Dr. Brian Stanley (Peter Cushing). Stanley further complicates things by seeking out brilliant Dr. David West (Edward Judd).

Stanley and Landers arrive at West’s place while West is entertaining a lady friend, Toni Merrill (Carole Gray). She volunteers the use of her daddy’s helicopter in return for the privilege of tagging along.

Once they reach the island, they learn the helicopter must fly back to the mainland, effectively stranding everyone there for several days.

What could go wrong?

By this time, farmers have started to lose livestock. The assembled doctors decide to contact the research team in the castle to seek their assistance. Stanley knows Phillips.

Unfortunately, the whole team is dead, deboned. It looks like there was a struggle.

Thoughts:

The monster accidentally created by the cancer research team is a silicon-based life form, originally designed to destroy cancer cells. Instead, it develops a taste for calcium phosphate. The monster bears an uncanny resemblance to the silicon-based rock monsters of “The Devil in the Dark” episode of the original Star Trek series, a ground-sweeping lump of amorphous lava-ish goo. The movie monsters, called “silicates,” differ in appearance by having a single tentacle to attack prey. The silicates are also nearly indestructible and reproduce by fission. Dr. Landers learns to his dismay that axes do nothing. Later, the viewer sees them brush off Molotov cocktails and even dynamite. They can climb trees—somehow.

I could find no connection between Star Trek and this movie. The only Petrie Island I could find was in Ontario, Canada. Unless the whole island immigrated, I’d hazard a guess the name is fictional. Nevertheless, it’s a good name, given the goings-on

This has a rather high body count for a sci-fi/horror flick. The discovery of poor Ian Bellows occurs early. It’s just a rubber suit with clothes, but Constable Harris’ reaction serves to add the horror. What can he tell poor Mrs. Harris? What could cause such a thing? Later, the viewer sees a sinister tentacle.

A scene late in the movie has the townspeople gathered in the city hall, awaiting the onslaught of the creatures. The important men of the village have told the villagers they will be safe here. Probably. The offensive measures they’ve worked against the creatures might take a while to take effect. All the usual horror movie happenings occur: glass breaks, silly women scream, those-who-didn’t-listen meet their well-deserved fate, and our heroes prevail, broken but unbowed. It was a lot of fun.

One fly in the ointment was the character of Toni Merrill, Dr. West’s girlfriend. We first see her wearing nothing but a man’s shirt. Oh, dear. What has been going on? No, not that. Clumsy Dr. West spilled wine on her dress, and it’s hanging in the bathroom to dry.

Later, she provides the helicopter that allows them to get to the island. She’s pretty useless once they arrive. Dr. West assigns the job of calming the villagers in the city hall, and she nurses Dr. Stanley when he’s wounded, but aside from that, she’s the stereotypical hysterical female in the face of danger, who imperils those around her. She clings to the lapels of the menfolk like a piece of lint. ARGH.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie notwithstanding its flaws. It was fun.


Title: Island of Terror (1966)

Directed by
Terence Fisher

Writing Credits
Edward Mann…(original story) (as Edward Andrew Mann) and
Al Ramsen…(original story) (as Allan Ramsen)
Edward Mann…(screenplay) (as Edward Andrew Mann) and
Al Ramsen…(screenplay) (as Allan Ramsen)

Cast (in credits order)
Peter Cushing…Dr. Brian Stanley
Edward Judd…Dr. David West
Carole Gray…Toni Merrill
Eddie Byrne…Dr. Reginald Landers
Sam Kydd…Constable John Harris

Released: February 1, 1967
Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes