The Twilight People (1972)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi

The Twilight People (1972) Poster

A kidnapped diver is taken to an island inhabited by a mad scientist and his half-animal, half-human creations.


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2 June 2018 | Hey_Sweden
| Are we not men? We are the Twilight People!
B movie perennial John Ashley stars as Matt Farrell, a diver / "renaissance man" who is kidnapped by thugs and taken to an isolated tropical island. Said thugs represent a mad scientist named Dr. Gordon (Charles Macaulay), whose experiments have involved turning people into half-human / half-animal aberrations. Matt falls in lust with the doctors' sexy daughter Neva (Pat Woodell), who sympathizes with him and the doctors' other "subjects". So she helps them to escape.

This escape takes up quite a bit of the rather brief running time of 81 minutes, but instead of ramping up the tension and sense of urgency, things start to meander too much. Obviously nobody is in a big hurry here, including the filmmakers.

This was the second unofficial Filipino adaptation of "Island of Dr. Moreau", after the 1959 feature "Terror is a Man" (a.k.a. "The Blood Creature"). That fact becomes easy to understand very quickly, and the material still has a compelling nature, but the film is rather underwhelming, with a script (co-written by director Eddie Romero) that isn't all that hot. The creature makeup is adequate at best; we've seen better work in other, official versions of the H.G. Wells tale. The location shooting is fine, and the film does possess that great atmosphere common to other Filipino genre & exploitation features. While it is mostly played straight, there is some comedy relief from a "bat man" (Tony Gosalvez) who tries in vain to fly. There's even some "romance" between the "antelope man" (Ken Metcalfe) and "wolf woman" (Mona Morena). The score is a mixture of stock music and new compositions by Tito Arevalo & Ariston Avelino.

The performances, much like the makeup, are very much adequate - no more - across the board. The main attraction for a number of people will undoubtedly be the prospect of Pam Grier playing one of the creatures, the feral "panther woman". One undeniable standout is the very amusing Jan Merlin as Steinman, Dr. Gordons' main henchman. Often seen smiling, he cheerfully encourages Farrell to escape, while having his own motivation for this attitude towards the prisoner.

Watchable, but only really worth recommending to die hard devotees of Filipino B cinema.

Six out of 10.

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