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Isle of the Dead Reviews

Page 2 of 4
June 23, 2014
When I say that this film was produced by Val Lewton, for horror aficionados that means a lot. As a producer, he was the master of eerie chills created only by shadows (necessitated by low budgets but so much more effective than the big budget films that show it all). Isle of the Dead doesn't really rank up there with I Walked with a Zombie, Cat People, The Leopard Man, or The Seventh Victim (the last also directed by Mark Robson) but it does move from a grim look at people quarantined on a small island by septicemic plague (in 1912) to a very spooky and even scary attack by a vorvolaka, an evil spirit that can occupy a person and lead them to suck the very life out of others (at night, of course). In this case, the vorvolaka may not even exist (even viewers will never know) but Greek General Boris Karloff is convinced otherwise. At only 71 minutes, you can't go wrong.
May 6, 2013
Not my favourite Lewton. okay.
January 24, 2013
All atmosphere--but what atmosphere.
April 6, 2012
Great use of shadow and light in this Val Lewton classic about a group of people confined to an island because of an outbreak of the plague. What starts out as a biological horror quickly turns psychological as paranoia and superstitions take hold.
March 31, 2012
This one came as a complete surprise to me. Here I was expecting a schlock horror film and what do I get? A very suspenseful and thought-provoking thriller. Fantastic I say! Like most thrillers, it takes it a bit to get going, but if you perservere with a bit of patience, you'll discover your heart racing while the suspense is wound up slowly over the course of the film. You can cut the tension with a knife when the creeps start creeping in, and surprisingly, none of them from Karloff himself really. I just can't get over how effective this film was. You're bound to find this in a cheap bin at a local K-Mart or Big Lots! (which is where I found it), but it's definitely worth more than its purchase price. Pick this one up and give it a chance if you spot it.
January 17, 2012
More odd than eerie.
November 11, 2011
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. May be considered too slow moving for some but I thought the amazing atmosphere surrounding it more than made up for that. Karloff and the rest of the cast are quite good. A real nice little thriller.
Bob S

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2011
Confused. Some nice plot kernels and plenty of great Lewton atmospherics but ... no. Too much going on here.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

February 10, 2011
This one came as a complete surprise to me. Here I was expecting a schlock horror film and what do I get? A very suspenseful and thought-provoking thriller. Fantastic I say! Like most thrillers, it takes it a bit to get going, but if you perservere with a bit of patience, you'll discover your heart racing while the suspense is wound up slowly over the course of the film. You can cut the tension with a knife when the creeps start creeping in, and surprisingly, none of them from Karloff himself really. I just can't get over how effective this film was. You're bound to find this in a cheap bin at a local K-Mart or Big Lots! (which is where I found it), but it's definitely worth more than its purchase price. Pick this one up and give it a chance if you spot it.
Ellis F.
February 5, 2011
A very good, movie, the ending was a bit sudden, though.
November 3, 2010
Karloff portrays a world-weary general who quarantines a small island full of people to keep them from a plague, but as the days wear on Old-World superstitions begin to weigh on those assembled until they suspect one of their number may be a vampire-like creature.

Worth a look, a nice mood piece.
Blaxunshine
October 29, 2010
Im finding as I watch more & more Karloff either they're really good or not too smoking hot. Isle of the Dead falls into that latter. Karloff is always good, a highlight & the main reason to tune in but unfortunately it's a little on the boring side. I know this was made in the 40s & you should be a little forgiving but when a movie is like 70s minutes & feels close to 2 hours something is wrong. Not one of RKO's shining moments & basically for Karloff completest. Im watching his stuff whenever it's on TMC but you should check out something like Corridors of Blood instead.
KevinRobbins
October 30, 2010
He only guards the dead. I have to worry about the living.

A general on a Greek island discovers a strange plaque that infects the dead and can spread to the living. He quarantines the island and will not let anyone leave. As more individuals become infected with the disease, more pressure is placed on the general to let the uninfected leave the island. Will the general break or will the infection kill them all?

"Find younger ears to listen to your nonsense."

Mark Robson, director of Earthquake, Avalanche Express, Valley of the Dolls, The Harder They Fall, Bedlam, Land of the Brave, and The Ghost Ship, delivers Isle of the Dead. The storyline for this picture is solid but the pace of the film is a bit slow and methodical. The settings, the script, and the acting in this film are remarkable. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Boris Karloff in the lead role.

"Those who live by the law can be both wrong and cruel."

Isle of the Dead is the first of several Boris Karloff pictures playing on a Turner Classic Movie Marathon this Halloween season. We always DVR several Karloff pictures every Halloween. This is not one of Karloff's better movies; however, it if definitely worth watching. This is more of a drama than horror movie but Karloff does delivers a brilliant performance. This is worth one viewing.

"What must be done will be done."

Grade: C+
AJ V

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
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.
moviebuff18cab
October 14, 2010
ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945)
Brody M

Super Reviewer

June 15, 2010
Started off good then started falling apart in the middle & ended with a terrible ending
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 15, 2006
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.
November 2, 2009
Surprisingly creepy! Good work Karloff!!
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

October 15, 2009
Another eerie entry from the Val Lewton camp. This one stars Boris Karloff as a Greek general who takes it upon himself to police a group of people on a cemetery island after the plague breaks out among them. At the same time, he is fighting others, as well as his own, beliefs in the old ways, including one which may implicate one of the group as an evil entity. Some spooky moments, but didn't stick with me like Cat People.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

October 1, 2009
Not Robson, Lewton or even Karloff?s best but a fine film all the same. As always, the title is a little misleading but the story was truly original for its time!
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