Island of the Fishmen (1979)

island of the fishmen poster 1979 movie screamers
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 6/10

Decent creatures and cast

Story doesn't do much despite having some originality

Movie Info

Movie Name: Island of the Fishmen

Studio: Dania Films

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  January 18, 1979 (US)/June 26, 1981 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

island of the fishmen barbara bach monsters

All the fish come running for some Barbara Bach!

On a jungle island, Dr. Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) and a group of prison inmates who have survived a wreck find themselves in danger.  The island is run by a man named Edmond Rackham (Richard Johnson) who has a professor named Ernest Marvin (Joseph Cotten) and his daughter Amanda (Barbara Bach) as his “guests” and working on a mysterious underwater project.  When Ross encounter humanoid fishmen, the horror is revealed and Rackham’s plans are exposed!

Directed by Sergio Martino, Island of the Fishmen (L’isola degli uomini pesce) is a horror film which goes by multiple names including Screamers.  The film was met with average to negative reviews and multiple edits of the movie exist.

Island of the Fishmen was one of those “what’s free on Amazon Prime” movie choices.  I like schlocky 1970s horror films and this movie definitely qualified in that sense.  Though it has horrible pacing, the movie has some moments, and I have to give the movie some credit for originality.

island of the fishmen screamers jose monster

Alas, Jose, we barely knew you…

The movie starts out with a group being killed to get the movie moving, and then it moves on to “the plot”.  The movie plays out like an Island of Dr. Moreau rip-off story with a mysterious rich man working in secret, but the actual plans of the job involve a treasure, manufactured fish monsters, and a woman who can kind of control them.  The movie isn’t good, but it is entertaining at points in a low-budget sort of way.

The film is largely anchored around Barbara Bach who of course at the time was still coming off her The Spy Who Loved Me fame.  Claudio Cassinelli plays the romantic lead who is the “shipwrecked outsider” of the story…he gets a lot of things explained to him.  Richard Johnson hams it up as the villain Rackham while Joseph Cotten “sinks” to knew lows as the mad scientist.

island of the fishmen treasure monster screamers

I got a participation trophy!

What actually works in Island of the Fishmen is the fishmen.  Close ups of the costumes reveal goofy faces and eyes, but the functionality of the costumes appears to rival the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Often monsters like this float and bob in awkward ways, but it looks like the actors can somewhat swim in them…plus, they have their patented “face slash” movement down.  I also commend the half fishman-half human experiment found in the lab.

Island of the Fishmen is what you’d expect it to be.  Low budget drivel that is more about passing time than entertaining.  What it does remind you is that at least there were some original stories being told in these cheap horror films instead of just remakes and sequels which seem to fill the low-budget category today.  Island of the Fishmen is a rather harmless (and a bit more violent than you’d expect) horror movie to waste a night away with.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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