Isle of the Dead (1945)

Isle of the Dead




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Isle of the Dead was reportedly inspired by producer Val Lewton's own morbid fascination with the subject of premature burial. On a tiny Greek coastal island in the year 1912, a ruthless but essentially decent General (Boris Karloff) tries to maintain order when a plague breaks out. Several mismatched people are quarantined on the island--one of whom, nurse Thea (Ellen Drew), is suspected of being a vampire responsible for the plague. The film's setpiece is the entombment of Mrs. St. Aubyn … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Horror, Musical & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Ardel Wray, Josef Mischel, Val Lewton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 31, 2006
RKO Pictures


as Gen. Nikolas Pheride...

as Thea

as Oliver Davis

as Madame Kyra

as Mrs. St. Aubyn

as Mr. St. Aubyn

as Dr. Drosses

as Henry Robbins

as Colonel

as Dr. Drossos

as Officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Isle of the Dead

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Critic Reviews for Isle of the Dead

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (2)

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

Full Review… | November 14, 2007
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 1, 2012
Antagony & Ecstasy

quite bad

Full Review… | October 22, 2009
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"

Full Review… | September 6, 2009

Claustrophobic and nightmarishly atmospheric.

Full Review… | November 14, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

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.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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.

Tim Salmons

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.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Isle of the Dead Quotes

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