Released as a double feature alongside Man-Made Monster, Horror Island would be billed as a mystery horror film but after viewing this 1940s film, it bears similarity to The Dark House, a decade its senior.
The storyline loosely follows brash and down on his luck Bill (Dick Foran) who is always looking for his next scheme, in a role all too familiar to his portrayal of Steve Banning in The Mummy’s Hand. Like that film, Dick has an offsider to bounce off in the form of Fuzzy Knight playing the role of “Stuff”. Unfortunately Fuzzy doesn’t quite carry the same charisma as Wallace Ford. Instead, the banter comes more from Leo Carillo as the peg-legged sailor Tobias Clump. It’s a shame then that Clump becomes more secondary to the scene as the story develops into a whodunnit.
Clump serves as the instigator to Bill’s quest when he turns up with a treasure map leading to a small island, which Bill owns. When he is informed that the map isn’t genuine, Bill turns this into another plot to get money, by tauting a trip to his island to find the treasure, but claiming that it is haunted, so only the hardiest of people should go. From here a range of misfits are pitted together in search of a thrill or merely to be entertained, among them is love interest, Wendy (Peggy Moran – The Mummy’s Hand).
Once they arrive on the island however, things take a sinister turn as the guests start to be popped off one by one, ala Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None with the prime suspect being a mysterious figure known as The Phantom lurking around behind the scenes.
Considering its 60 minute time, Horror Island tries to cram a lot in, but in doing so continuously feels like it misses the mark by trying too much. So as such, the movie is neither scary, mysterious, nor comical. Instead it is mediocre, especially compared to some of the other films released around the same time.
- Saul Muerte