Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.
Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).
Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach).
Amanda only stays with Rackham as he’s keeping her father against his will, but as the man is knocking on heavens door, he and his daughter remain in the care of the madman. Rackham is enthralled that de Ross is adept in the medical field and soon he forces him to care for his frail prisoner, de Ross obliges but insists on knowing the secrets of the island, like who or what are the fishmen and where does all the groovy treasure come from?
It’s easy to chuck the Lovecraft handle around but it’s not really in the same vein, as much as it does have madmen and evil fish monster with a taste for killing, the real essence of Lovecraft isn’t present at all, there’s no big unknowing, in fact for me it’s more of a Hammer Horror than anything. I found it hilarious that the evil killer fishermen were doing this madman’s evil bidding cos they were all addicted to a drug he invented for them! YOLO.
R -Alligator (1979), Aenigma (1987)
L – Aquatic Horrors
5s – Richard Johnson, Barbara Bach.