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Misterio en la Isla de los Monstruos

Mystery on Monster Island
Reise zur Insel des Grauens / Monster Island / Das Geheimnis der Monsterinsel

Spain / USA 1981
produced by
Juan Piquer Simón for Almena Films, Fort Films
directed by Juan Piquer Simón
starring Ian Sera, David Hatton, Gaspar Ipua, Blanca Estrada, Terence Stamp, Peter Cushing, Ana Obregón, Frank Brana, Paul Naschy, Gérard Tichy, Manuel Pereiro, Daniel Martín, Luis Barboo, Jorge Bosso, Ioshio Murakami
screenplay by Ron Gantnam, Joaquín Grau, Juan Piquer Simón, based on the novel L'École des Robinsons by Jules Verne, music by Alfonso Agullo, Alejandro Monroy, Carlos Villa, special effects by Basilio Cortijo, visual effects by Emilio Ruiz del Río

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Before marrying his sweetheart Meg (Ana Obregón), Jeff (Ian Sera) wants to go on a trip around the world, so his uncle (and her foster father) Kolderup (Peter Cushing) books him a passage on a boat, but sends tutor Artelect (David Hutton) along with him ... but the boat is overrun by monsters and ultimately blows up, and only Jeff and Artelect manage to save themselfes on a dessert island. There they meet and defeat all sorts of monsters, save a native, Carefinatu (Gasphar Ipua), from a tribe of cannibals, whom they chase off the island, meet beautiful castaway Dominique (Blanca Estrada), find a goldmine, and suddenly find themselves on the run from a gang of hooded men. And ultimately, all turns out just to be an elaborate hoax by Kolderup, who wanted to give his nephew life experience without exposing him to real danger - thus toy monsters, fake cannibals, the native who's actually an actor, and even a fake volcano. Only the hooded men and their guns are waaay too real, they are led by baddie Taskinar (Terence Stamp), who knew about the goldmine but lost the island to Kolderup at an auction - but ultimately, he and his men are overcome by ... fake fireworks, mainly.


The cast of this film of course sounds like a genre fan's dream come true: Terence Stamp, Peter Cushing and Paul Naschy in the same movie - but there really isn't much in the movie to justify that excitement, Cushing and Stamp only appear in the framing story while Naschy's appearance is limited to the prologue. The main portion on the other hand is (not really) carried by the bland hero (Sera), his clumsy sidekick (Hutton, hamming it up without managing to create laughs or even giggles), and the black guy (Ipua) in a typically subservient role which seems to be outdated even in 1981. Add to that a rather old-fashioned and unexciting directorial effort (despite some rather sensational plot devices), and a simply not very good script (that has enriched Jules Verne's novel with quite a few monsters for saleability), and you've got ... a really not very good film, but one that might be enjoyed by schlock movie fans like myself for its shortcomings rather than despite of them. That said, there are better so-bad-they're-good films of the same ilk out there ...


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