L’ISOLA DEGLI UOMINI PESCE (1979)
aka Island of the Fishmen, Screamers
Article 5050 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Sergio Martino
Featuring Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson
What it is: Horror/adventure movie
Survivors of a shipwreck end up on an island run by a mysterious man and plagued by strange fish monsters.
First, a bit of background. When this Italian movie was brought over to the United States, it was decided that it didn’t have enough gore content, so about twelve minutes of gory new footage featuring Cameron Mitchell and Mel Ferrer was edited into the movie, and other elements were shuffled around as well. This version was retitled SCREAMERS. For the record, I seem to have seen the original Italian version, though I was fortunate enough to see one that was dubbed into English.
Probably the main reason this version is pretty light on gore is that it really isn’t a horror movie; the story plays out more like an adventure story. It’s an odd hodgepodge of genres and ideas; it’s partially inspired by THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU and THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, and it throws in elements of voodoo as well as the lost continent of Atlantis before it’s all through. It’s not well regarded, but I actually found the hodgepodge rather interesting, and I have to admit that it’s one of the more entertaining of Sergio Martino’s movies to me. It also features Joseph Cotten as a professor involved in some bizarre experiments. It’s a bit of mess, but overall I thought it was pretty decent.