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Isle Of The Damned (2008)

DVD Cover (Dire Wit Films)
Movie Connections:
Pleasures Of The Damned
> Pleasures Of The Damned (2005)
> Isle Of The Damned (2008)
Genres:
Adventure, Cannibal Film, Horror, Horror Comedy, Jungle Film, Parody / Spoof
Director:
Mark Colegrove Mark Colegrove
Starring:
Jared Books Jared Books
Chris Brenza Chris Brenza
Fiona Crowley Colegrove Fiona Crowley Colegrove
Peter Crates Peter Crates
Aimee Cummings Aimee Cummings

4.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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In Antonello Giallo's follow up to the notorious Pleasures of the Damned, private investigator Jack Steele is hired by a mysterious treasure hunter to help find the lost treasure of Marco Polo. Along for the trip is Jack's adopted son, Billy. Their search brings them to an island off the coast of Argentina... and into the clutches of a primitive cannibal tribe, the Yamma Yamma. Alexis Kinkaid, a mysterious recluse who has made his home on the island amongst the cannibals, may hold the key to unlocking the island's secret... if they don't end up in the belly of a savage first! --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: June 14, 2010
I enjoy a good Italian cannibal flick from days gone by, but that is the one genre that I have to take in moderation as if you've seen even one of those movies, you've basically seen everything that the genre has to offer. The same could be said for zombie films, biker flicks, and any other sleazy subgenre, but the cannibal movie is the one that just doesn't do a whole lot for me if I watch more than, say, one or two per year. However, when I saw Isle of the Damned listed on Netflix come new release day, a "lost" film that I had never heard of, I had to check it out. What I found was that the "lost" angle was just that: an angle. You see, Isle was made and released just a couple of years ago, but it attempts to capture the seventies and eighties vibe of the cannibal classics while also poking fun at the cannibal genre as a whole. Surprisingly, it works.

Any good cannibal movie follows a simple formula: white men head out to a remote island for one reason or another, where they discover packs of vicious cannibals who would like nothing more than to get a good meal at the expense of our heroes. Most films throw in some sort of underlying message along the lines of "Who are the real savages here?", but beyond those two staples, anything more in terms of storyline is usually considered padding. The real "meat" in these movies is the gore, of course: that's what we paid to see, and that's generally the extent of what we get. I'm throwing this out there so that when I go over the flimsy-at-best storyline for this film in the next paragraph, novices to the genre will realize that it was done quite purposefully.

So, the storyline here centers around bad mutha-fucka Jack Steele (Larry Gamber), his adopted and sexually-confused son Billy (Peter Crates), and the elderly and sexually-deviant Harold Thompson (Patrician Rosa). The three round up a group of pirates to take them to a remote island in search of Marco Polo's lost treasure, and there, they encounter packs of vicious cannibals who would like nothing more than to get a good meal at the expense of our heroes. It really doesn't take long before all seems lost, but luckily for the running time, Alexis Kincaid (Keith Tveit Langsdorf) and his Yakuza manservant Cain (Dustin Edwards) show up to save the day before taking the leads back to Alexis' mansion. Like any foolish jungle-venturer, the gang is not content to sit in that mansion twiddling their thumbs, and before you know it, they're back in the jungle looking for treasure, their friends, and a measure of revenge.

All of this is done to emulate those cannibal flicks from years gone by, and truth be told, it worked out amazingly well. Had I not known the story for this one, I would have fully believed that it was a product of the late seventies - maybe a comedic version of one of the cannibal flicks from that time, but a product of the time nonetheless. The filmmakers knew what they were doing and completely nailed the genre here, and everything that one would expect from a movie of this nature is intact: senseless violence, bad acting, worse dubbing (lily-white Larry Gamber was dubbed by someone sounding like Shaft as one example), and yes, plenty of gore. Isle of the Damned is to cannibal flicks as Black Dynamite was to blaxploitation, and the results were no less pleasing.

Now, just because this film teetered the line between "legitimate cannibal throwback movie" and "full-on spoof" while occasionally falling onto either side doesn't mean that it didn't deliver the goods. The spoof side delivers plenty of great laughs (more if you know what to expect from a "real" cannibal movie) alongside an obvious affection for the genre, while the "legitimate" side of the film gives us the red stuff in spades. You want to see a man's penis cut off with a razor blade, and would you then like to see a cannibal use that dismembered member to violate the man's daughter? Are you game for a woman having her fetus ripped out of her stomach and eaten by the cannibals who will then go on to sodomize her? If you answered "yes" to either, then you have found the right movie.

On top of all that, the film just feels like a legitimate seventies flick. From the artificial grain to the musical score, the entire affair is thoroughly convincing and not once are we taken out of the mood by a modern device or a recent filming technique. The costumes are spot-on, the acting and dubbing is exactly what we've come to expect from those movies, and it's just blindingly obvious that the boys responsible for this film have seen their fair share of the classics and the trash.

Overall, the film delivers exactly what it promises and is a fun night in front of the tube for those who think that this sort of thing sounds appealing. It's certainly not for everyone, but if you've ever gave a thumbs up to any of the classic cannibal movies, then you will undoubtedly do the same for this one. 8/10.
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