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Perverted treasure hunter Thompson (Patrician Rosa) hires private eye
Jack Steele (Larry Gamber) to help him find the treasure of Marco Polo,
which is suspected to be hidden on a South American island that is
inhabited by cannibals - still, Steele thinks it's a good idea to bring
along his foster son Billy (Peter Crates). Of course, Thompson's little
expedition runs into cannibals pretty much upon arriving on the island,
and his ship's crew is killed off immediately while he is taken prisoner.
But at least Steele, who is able to shoot two cannibals with one bullet
and who can stretch his last bullet to shoot several times, saves a woman
(Megan Mundane), who has just been visiting the island with her parents
(who of course have died a horrible death). Then, Steele, Billy and the
woman run into Kincaid (Keith Tveit Langsdorf), an eccentric millionaire
who has chosen to live in a mansion on the island after he has wronged the
local savages to begin with (and has turned them into cannibals). Kincaid
is accompanied by Cain (Dustin Edwards), a mute yakuza martial artist with
exceptional fighting skills, and two savages he has tamed.
offers his guests abode in his mansion and even helps them free Thompson -
who has not been killed by the cannibals because they don't eat cowards,
they enslave them. But when Thompson learns Kincaid has long found the
treasure of Marco Polo, he tires to torture its location out of him, and
when that doesn't work, he kills him, then cuts open Billy's arse so the
boy runs off into the jungle as cannibal bait - keeping the savages off
his back ... or so he thinks, because when Cain finds his dead master and
figures Thompson has killed him, he goes after the man, defeating and
gravely injuring him in a fight, then leaving him behind for the
In the finale though, pretty much everyone is killed off by
the savages in one gruesome way or another, only Jack Steele can get away
with his life, and on the boat back to civilisation, he ponders who really
are the savages and who the civilized people.
bad hairdos and ridiculous mustaches, juvenile actors who look way too old
for the roles they are playing, crude and not particularly convincing yet
incredibly gorey special effects, a dubbing job that seems to be
constantly out of synch, voice actors who don't even try to match the mood
of the onscreen performances, characters with some of the most ridiculous
dubbed voices ever brought to film, out-of-place macho-attitudes and weird
Darwinian philosophy, jungle sets that fail to convince, wildlife footage
that seems out of place, a score that never matches the onscreen mood,
savages that look odd at best, ... now this list could go on and on pretty
much forever, but it does pretty accurately describe Italian cannibal
films from the early 1980's, along the lines of Umberto Lenzi's Eaten
Alive and Cannibal Ferox
or even Jess Franco's White
Cannibal Queen. Isle of the Damned of course was not made
in 1980 (as it jokingly claims on its cover) and not in Italy but in the
USA, but it pays loving hommage to the cannibal cinema of the 1980's - but
in a tongue-in-cheek way.
... and if you are at all a fan of cannibal
films (or badly dubbed and cheaply made Italian gore and exploitation
cinema in general), you will probably find this film hilarious,
essentially because it doesn't (ab-)use its source material as a hanger
for a bunch of fart jokes but does really take it seriously and repeats
even its directorial aberrations to the t - on a purely intentional level
Plus, to make things even more authentic, the Isle of the
Damned-DVD also offers a bunch of extras, like a nonsense interview
with the (alleged) late director Antonello Giallo's son and the like and
some great liner notes featuring Antonello Giallo's biography - which
sounds like a best-of of biographies of Italian smut directors.
is not officially released on DVD as of yet (December 2008), but you might
wanna check out the production company's webiste www.direwitfilms.com
for more info.