Mystery on Monster Island (1981)
aka Misterio en la isla de los monstruos
Article 5940 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Juan Piquer Simon
Featuring Terence Stamp, Peter Cushing, Ian Sera
What it is: Bogus
A young man and a dancing instructor are stranded on an island inhabited by monsters.
This movie is purportedly based on a novel by Jules Verne, though they don’t specify which one. Having read a complete collection of Verne’s works a couple of years ago, I can’t really say which one (unless it’s “The Mysterious Island”, and even then I have to squint a lot). I do know that at least one of his novels features a comic relief sidekick similar to the one we have here, but I’m pretty sure the story was nothing like the one here. But while we’re on the subject of the comic relief sidekick, I think this movie should stand as a warning to anyone making a movie of this type and making the hero so bland that the comic relief sidekick has to work extra hard to take up the slack, because if that happens, this is what you will end up with. This is my way of saying that the comic relief sidekick may be one of the most agonizingly painful examples of the form; he’s prissy, cowardly, stupid, constantly whining, chattering endlessly, and dominates the action throughout. Yes, there are monsters, but they look terribly fake and appear in droves out of nowhere for a few scenes of cheap thrills and then vanish entirely. Don’t let the star power fool you; Terence Stamp and Peter Cushing barely appear, and I have no idea who Paul Naschy played except to say that the role must have been pretty dinky. It’s all explained in the end in one of the lamest plot twists of all time. Avoid.