September 30th, 2009

ISLAND OF THE FISHMEN (1981) **

A boat full of disgruntled sailors gets attacked by a school of slimy Fishmen.  (Insert Mrs. Paul joke here.)  Some seamen survive and wind up on an island where a crazed madman coerces a deranged doctor into mutating the Fishmen into manlier looking men.  Since the doctor’s daughter is played by the ultra foxy Barbara Bach, the sailors decide to stick around.

 

Island of the Fishmen has a potentially ridiculous premise but it plays things more or less with a straight face.  I don’t think this was the way to go.  The Fishmen themselves look dorky as all get out (they have ping pong eyeballs and resemble the inbred offspring of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Horror of Party Beach) so director Sergio Martino should’ve just said, “Look, the only person who will be scared of these guys is the Gorton’s Fisherman, so let’s play it for laughs.” 

 

There is one hair-brained subplot that made me cackle out loud.  It had to do with the revelation that the Fishmen were actually descendants from Atlantis who hoarded a secret treasure.  The villain kept all the Fishmen addicted to this secret “potion” and if those greasy beasts wanted more, they had to fork over the Lost Treasure of Atlantis. 

 

Basically the Fishmen are like the crackheads you see at the pawn shop except they’re rubbery Fish Faced Freaks with golden statues instead of twitchy weirdoes with TV’s.

 

If the rest of the flick kept up that level of idiocy, it may have been better than your run-of-the-mill Sy Fy Channel nonsense.  Since this is an Italian made Dr. Moreau rip-off we’re talking about here, you’re stuck with just a ludicrous mishmash of mad doctors and men in rubber monster suits.  Ultimately, Island of the Fishmen is kinda/sorta nuts but not nuts enough to make it enjoyable.

 

I will say this for the movie; Barbara Bach looks great in a wet T-shirt.  The scenes where all the Fishmen ogle her are pretty funny.  I mean they know she fucked Ringo and since they are only slightly less disgusting looking than him, they probably have a chance at hopping in the sack with her.  Babs was also in Martino’s Big Alligator River around the same time.

 

AKA:  Island of Mutations.  AKA:  Screamers.  AKA:  Something Waits in the Dark.  AKA:  The Fishmen.