Thursday, October 27, 2005

VOODOO ISLAND / THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE

Another recent Midnight Movie release is the vaguely related double bill of VOODOO ISLAND/THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE (1957/1959), two lesser low budget drive-in favorites from the Fifties.

Reginald LeBorg's VOODOO ISLAND stars legendary horror star Boris Karloff in a rare, non-villainous role, as the leader of a group of adventurers that travel to the titular island in an effort to determine the fate of a previous expedition. Woman-eating plants and voodoo-practicing natives are among the South Pacific island's perils, while familiar character actors Elisha Cook and Rhodes Reason fill out the otherwise unmemorable cast. Hawaiian location shooting adds a bit of gloss to this lackluster adventure, but it's really a pretty weak movie.

MGM provides the usual high-quality transfer, in this case in the full screen "Academy" ratio, along with the original mono soundtrack.

The second feature on this double feature disc is the somewhat more entertaining supernatural thriller, THE FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE, with a twisty, melodramatic plot about headhunters and a sinister family curse. Classic Hollywood screen heavy Henry Daniell turns in a late-career performance here as an evil doctor, and his charisma helps keep the low budget, stage-bound feature intriguing and interesting during its hour and ten minute running time.

As one expects by now from this line, the transfer is rock solid, presented full-frame with the original mono soundtrack. No other extras are on this disc.

Neither of these flicks are masterpieces, but considering the price, it's still a pretty good deal for fans of Fifties schlock.

BUY: Voodoo Island/The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (Midnite Movies Double Feature)