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Mysterious Island

USA 1951
produced by
Sam Katzman for Columbia
directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
starring Richard Crane, Marshall Reed, Karen Randle, Ralph Hodges, Gene Roth, Hugh Prosser, Leonard Penn, Terry Frost, Rusty Westcoatt, Bernie Hamilton, William Fawcett, George Robotham
screenplay by Lewis Clay, Royal K. Cole, George H. Plympton, based on the novel by Jules Verne (sort of)

Captain Nemo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The American Civil War: Not very lucky about being prisoners of war of the Confederates, Captain Harding & his comrades Pencroft (Marshall Reed), Gideon (Hugh Prosser), Bert ( Ralph Hodges) & Neb (Bernard Hamilton) escape them in a hot air balloon, but unfortunately a heavy storm blows them off-course & they land on a mysterious island, complete with active volcano. 

There they are menaced by some futuristically dressed natives called the Volcano People, bearded madman Ayrton (Terry Frost), the mystery man who walks the island in a strange frogman-helmet but is rarely seen & Rulu (Karen Randle), the girl from Mercury & her 2 minions who have ray guns & sometimes travel around in an UFO that looks like a bucket. & while our heroes still try to sort out the situation they are in on the island, a pirate ship arrives, & the pirates, lead by captain Shard (Gene Roth) have nothing better to do as to fight our quintet, too. In changing alliances, our heroes fight the pirates, whose ship they want to get off the island, but once Shard offers them a truce they realize who the real enemy is: Rulu, who has a magic wand to hypnotize people & uses that to make the Volcano People work in her secret mine to mine Uranium. 

But why does she do it ? 

The mystery man, who is of course the benevolent scientist captain Nemo (Leonard Penn) tells Harding & Shard, whom he saves from sure death: Rulu is supposed to prepare an Mercurian invasion of the earth, but she needs to mine enough Uranium for that. 

Nemo can make the Uranium useless with his raygun, only he will need Rulu's magic wand to do that, & only Harding & Shard can get it for him. Of course they succeed even thopugh Shard has to give his life, & our five castaways are saved from the island that sinks when the volcano breaks out.


For a latter-day serial, this one is pretty wild, relying less on endlessly repeated shots of so-so special effects & more on a genuine carelessness in what genre-elements to mix into the plot: So we have space-age thrills along with pirate-, deserted island- & civil war-elements all thrown into an enjoyable romp. All of this has very little to do with Jules Verne's classic novel, though.

The space-costumes of Rulu & her soldiers as well as their UFO alone are a hoot !


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD