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Isle of the Dead

Isle of the Dead (1945)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0

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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,747

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Movie Info

Inspired by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin's famous painting, this seminal horror film marked the first of three collaborations between RKO producer Val Lewton and British genre star Boris Karloff. Set during the 1912 Balkan Wars, Isle of the Death featured Karloff as Greek general Pherides who, along with an American journalist (Marc Cramer), visits the gravesite of his late wife on a deserted island. They find the grave desecrated and a group of travelers held hostage by the superstitious beliefs

Oct 31, 2006

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (2) | DVD (2)

It's better handled and directed than most though thriller fans will still find its lack of action a drag.

November 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film comes magnificently alive with the burial sequence, and with the zombie-like, white-robed woman roaming through shadowy galleries and shuttered rooms.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Proves] that even at their flimsiest, there's still no such thing as a worthless Val Lewton horror picture.

November 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

quite bad

October 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Mark Robson's direction here reduces a country's political/spiritual unrest to pronouncements by pinned-down actors about "uneasy conscience" and "fool's courage"

September 6, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Claustrophobic and nightmarishly atmospheric.

November 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Its poetical finale comes a little too late to save it from its general dullness.

October 31, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

One of the few truly scary films of the 1940s.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Zombies and Karloff...chills and thrills.

January 2, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Full of expertly handled shocks.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

One of the better post-Tourneur Lewton films

October 16, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

"memorably moody"

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Audience Reviews for Isle of the Dead

Confused. Some nice plot kernels and plenty of great Lewton atmospherics but ... no. Too much going on here.
February 28, 2011
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

Vampires, plague, zombies, murder? What is this movie about? And why is it so boring? Karloff is good as usual, but the story isn't up to par.
October 18, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Isle of the Dead is another great movie in the Val Lewton stable of low budget but obscenely effective suspense/horror movies. It beautifully straddles paranoia, superstition and science in that trademarked Lewton wonderful world of shadows. Boris Karloff is great as a mistrusting general stuck on a Greek island to avoid a plague outbreak amonst his soldiers. The introduction of others on the island plays out almost like an Agatha Christie mystery without the conventions. The cast is great and the last 10 minutes are some of the creepiest I've seen in recent memory. Katherine Emery running around the darkness was magnificently horrifying.
June 16, 2010
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Isle of the Dead (1945) (DE)
  • Isle of the Dead (1945) (UK)
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