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Voodoo Island

USA 1957
produced by
Howard W. Koch, Aubrey Schenck (executive) for Bel Air/United Artists
directed by Reginald Le Borg
starring Boris Karloff, Beverly Tyler, Murvyn Vye, Elisha Cook jr, Rhodes Reason, Jean Engstrom, Frederick Ledebur, Glenn Dixon, Owen Cunningham, Herbert Patterson, Jerry Frank
written by Richard H.Landau, music by Les Baxter

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bigshot Carlton (Owen Cunningham) desperately wants to build a hotel on a remote Caribbean island, but after a scouting team of 4 went missing - safe for Mitchell (Frederick Ledebur), who returned as a zombie - he hires professor Knight (Boris Karloff), a professional cynic & investigator into the supernatural, to prove to him that everything's alright on the island.

Knight soon has a motley crew assembled, consisting of him, his assistant Adams (Beverly Tyler), Carlton's assistant Barney (Murvyn Vye), Claire Winter (Jean Engstrom) - I have not the faintest idea why she comes along -, adventurer Dunn (Rhodes Reason), greedy trader Schuyler (Elisha Cook jr), the zombie of course and his doctor (Herbert Patterson).

The little expedition is of course plagued by problems right from the start, when their plane gets into freak weather, later the zombie dies (for good) but leaves a ouanga bag containing enough deathwishes for all the others behind, yet later their boat that is to bring them to the island mysteriously breaks down ... & that is all before they even reach the island. On the island they seem to be constatnly watched, and they have to realize it is inhabited by giant carnivorous plants who promptly eat up Claire.

Knight soon supects that all the weird occurences are only set up to lead them into a ceertain direction, & before long he is proven right, as they reach a native village & are taken prisoner, & Barney is turned into a zombie as well.

The natives' chief (Glenn Dixon) tell them that the island is the last resort of his tribe, & if it was discovered & exploited for tourism it would be the tribe's end ... which is why they grew these giant carnivorous plants.

Knight tires to convince the chief that the natives' secret would be safe with him & his friends, when Schuyler, rather foolishly, disagrees, reminding everyone of the promises Carlton had made to him concerning tourism on this island. Our group is taken captive, & the next day, Schuyler, thanks to some voodoo spell, kills himself.

The rest are allowed to leave the island (!).


The film has all the right ingredients for a trash masterpiece - zombies, voodoo, carnivorous plants, unconvincing natives & jungle sets, and of course Boris Karloff - but for some reason it isn't. The problem lies most probably in too big an ensemble, & desperate attempts to fill each of the characters in with an individual story ... which might even have worked were the stories not overly clichéd & thus uninteresting, & wouldn't these stories stand in the way of the real plot. However the (obviously plastic) carnivorous plants make up for at leaast part of the film's deficiencies.


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