Film Review - Isle of the Snake People

Starring - Boris Karloff, Julissa, Tongolele, Charles East | Directed by Robert V. O'Neil | Retromedia DVD FF Unrated 91min 1971

Review By Joker

Isle of the Snake People is another South of the border cheapie horror flick that features an aging American star. This time around it's Boris Karloff. This film is about voodoo and the way it affects a small island. A midget and his hot belly dancing sidekick are in control of the magic and perform all types of wild acts that involve chickens, snakes and dead bodies! Carl Van Molder is a rich man who lives on the island and gets a visit from his niece Annabelle. A new inspector named Captain Labiche and Andrew, a policeman, also come for a visit and the two immediately get into a heated argument over the rights of the natives. Carl and his maid (the belly dancer) show the men that voodoo is real! The Captain is still not pleased and wants to find out who the leader of the voodoo cult is and put a stop to it. Meanwhile the evil midget conducts his rituals that include whipping a young girl to death and killing goats to resurrect the dead. The Captain is mad when the young lady's body is found and vows to hunt down the leader. To make things worse, there is a group of zombie cannibal women who are attacking anyone who dares get in their way. In the end, the zombies kidnap Annabelle as the Captain and Andrew race to save her and to put an end to this evil cult. An unknown killer comes in and murders the midget with a knife to the neck as his followers wait outside for their master to show. When he does, he is the one who killed the midget and is now about to kill Annabelle! The Captain and Andrew wait until the last minute before they strike. Carl is revealed as the master and is shot. A poisonous snakes bites the Captain, and he falls into a fire pit igniting the TNT in his pockets.

This is a cheap cheesy classic film where Karloff looks as if he was on his last leg. The acting is pretty good with Boris acting well even if he looks drunk for some of it. The film is shot really well and uses great color for scenes (the red tint for the voodoo rituals is a nice touch). The color brings out the drive-in feel. The mastermind behind the voodoo rituals is easy predict, and it's no shock when it's shown to be Boris Karloff. The film does have a lot of heart. and after listening to the directors interview, you appreciate the film even more.

The DVD has some great extras like most other Retromedia titles. There is an interview with director Robert V. O'Neil, scene selections and a photo gallery. The DVD cover has an old Karloff looking like KFC founder Col. Sanders' long lost uncle with two Latin girls in the background.

It's voodoo mixed with a bad acid trip, and the only winners are the people who got paid for this wild cheapie. I can't say it was terrible, but I will say it's a bad movie. Over all it's worth a watch for Boris fans only.