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ISLAND OF TERROR (1966)

"I’ve found one of my horses dead. At least, I think it’s
one of my horses. It’s all soft, and flabby...."

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Director: Terence Fisher

Starring: Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, Carole Gray, Eddie Byrne, Sam Kydd, Niall McGinnis

Screenplay: Alan Ramsen, Edward Andrew Mann

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On an island off the Irish coast, a body is found with all its bones missing. The local doctor calls in a leading pathologist (Peter Cushing), who in turn consults a bone disease expert (Edward Judd). More deaths occur before it is discovered that engineered, silicon-based organisms which have escaped from a cancer research facility are responsible. The creatures are multiplying geometrically, and will soon overrun the island. Bullets, axes, petrol bombs and dynamite are tried without success. Hope is restored when a dead silicate is found. The cause of its death must be determined and employed before the creatures have a chance to divide again.

Given its director and its star, this is a surprisingly little known film, and one which deserves a wider audience. Although hampered by its obviously low budget, Island Of Terror is a taut, effective little movie with a lot going for it. Nothing annoys me more than the "My God! It’s so simple!" cop-out endings of films like The Day Of The Triffids (1963), and for me the highlight of this film is the way in which the silicates are ultimately killed, which is both imaginative and - halleleujah! - scientifically accurate. As well, there are no mad scientists doing inexplicable experiments here: the researchers responsible for the creation of the silicates are presented as doing valuable work which has gone tragically wrong. As for the silicates themselves, they work better as an unseen, rather than a seen menace - the wires moving them about are a bit too obvious - but the scenes of the creatures dividing are effectively gross. Peter Cushing is excellent, as usual, and the rest of the cast is effective with the exception of Carole Gray, who’s pretty dismal as the irritating and unnecessary ‘love interest’. There is also a distressing moment for fans of Cushing when one of the silicates grabs him by the wrist. We’ve already established that the silicates can’t be hurt with an axe, but....

Check out all the details of this movie on the IMDB