Horror Island (1941)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Mystery, Thriller

Horror Island (1941) Poster

A down-on-his-luck businessman organizes an excursion to Sir Henry Morgan's Island for a treasure hunt only to encounter a mysterious phantom and murder.


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8 March 2007 | Bunuel1976
| HORROR ISLAND (George Waggner, 1941) **1/2
I had first known about this through a still in the Halliwell Film Guide, though the noted late critic usually dismissed similar programmers: it turned out to be a fun horror comedy (from a story by Curt Siodmak) whose 60-minute length zips by – providing plenty of characters (even if the gangster-on-the-lam and his moll don't really work here), action, old-fashioned thrills (a caped maniac after hidden loot is loose in a remote castle), chuckles – and a surprise villain; the film is a shade overbalanced by the comedy, but the typical Universal atmosphere (and a few of its more notable sets!) are certainly present throughout. It also features a good second-tier cast: likable Dick Foran and cute Peggy Moran – re-united after the superior THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) – are the leads and they're ably supported by the likes of Leo Carrillo, Fuzzy Knight, Hobart Cavanaugh and Walter Catlett; however, it's Lewis Howard who steals the film as Moran's chronically tired companion – even though he's absent through most of the second half!

Michael Elliott had rated this a *** and I almost did myself – but, in the long run, I don't think the film has quite the same draw as even some of the lesser titles in the Universal monster cycle; still, for an 'old dark house' type of film – of which the studio did their fair share – it's well up to par. Incidentally, I had acquired another copy of this on DVD-R last year, but the disc froze several times during playback and I had to give up after a while; I'm glad I caught up with it eventually, as the film deserves to have a legitimate DVD release along with some of the other rare/lesser-known Universal horrors, like MAN-MADE MONSTER (1941) – which I've never watched! – and NIGHT MONSTER (1942).

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$93,000 (estimated)

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