Man am I excited for today. I’m going to see the Kong: Skull Island with my brothers and I can hardly wait until I get off of work today. So with that frame of mind, I was pretty excited to see the title of today’s movie, thinking I was going to see a nice monster movie before going to see another monster movie. Instead, the title was merely a metaphor, so there was no real monster to be seen. Oh well, I will live with the disappointment and see what this movie has to offer as I watch The Island Monster.
The plot: Lt. Mario Andreani is called into his superior’s office and assigned to try and break up a drug smuggling operation on the island of Ischia. As he prepares to board the boat, he says goodbye to his wife Giulia and his daughter Fiorella, but doesn’t notice that they are being watched by a strange man. When Mario reaches Ischia, he checks in with the local authorities, then heads out to get some rest, saying he will start up first thing in the morning. After leaving the authorities, he stops by a bar and talks with some of the people there, unaware that one of the men he is talking to is the man that was watching him at the pier. After looking around the island via boat, Mario has dinner at a club and observes some strange interactions between a cigarette girl and one of the patrons and gets word to have the man followed when he leaves. Mario himself is being observed and one of the waiters has Gloria D’Auro, a famed singer that works at the club, attempt to get close to Mario and keep him distracted. The next morning, the local chief says that they lost sight of the man Mario wanted followed but they have patrol boats out keeping watch on the area. Mario wants the club to be placed under surveillance as well as Gloria, and the chief suggest Mario take that assignment himself due to his youth and good looks. Mario reluctantly does so and invites Gloria to lunch but as they are eating, he receives a telegram from his wife saying that they are coming to visit him. Mario heads over to meet Giulia and Fiorella, happy to see them but also annoyed that they didn’t check with him about coming. Mario has a porter take their bags to the hotel, saying he is still working but will talk to them later. Mario walks away and runs into Gloria, telling her he will see her that night but Giulia sees them talking and grows suspicious. Later, Gloria is taken to see the drug smugglers and they discuss what to do about Mario, but Gloria isn’t happy about what they plan to do. That night, Giulia gets a call and decides to leave Fiorella in the hotel room and head to the club but as soon as she leaves, a man breaks into the hotel room and kidnaps Fiorella. At the police station, Mario is talking with the chief about their lack of progress and about the strain on his marriage caused by his associating with Gloria for the mission. Suddenly, a brick with a note attached to it is thrown through the window and Mario reads it to learn about Fiorella’s kidnapping. Mario and the chief leave the station and run into Giulia, who was heading there looking for Mario, and they head back to the hotel to verify the claims. Mario reports back to his superior about what is going on but he is taken off the case due to what happened. Meanwhile, the kidnappers try to get write a note to her father but she refuses and bites the leader, Don Gaetano, on the arm. Don Gaetano leaves their island hideout and heads back to the church/convent that he runs as head priest. As he speaks with some of the nuns and the children, Fiorella’s dog smells her scent on him and gets excited. Meanwhile, the other kidnappers have call the church, as Giulia is staying there, and have Fiorella speak to her before the hang up. Gaetano speaks with Giulia about what happened, then heads to his office, where he packs up some drugs in containers to take to his hideout. Leaving the church, Gaetano and his helper head to some cliffs, where they load the contianers onto a boat, unaware that Fiorella’s dog has followed them and stowed away. When they reach the island, the dog manages to swim to where Fiorella is being held, and she hugs her dog and hides him from the kidnappers. Later, Giulia heads to the club to speak with Gloria, explaining who she is and begging for Fiorella’s safety but Gloria says she wasn’t involved with what happened. Meanwhile, Mario returns to the island and is taken to see the drug smugglers and sees Gloria is there with them. Getting a moment alone, Mario convinces Gloria to help him rescue Fiorella and she agrees. That night, Mario leads some police officers on a raid of the island hideout but they wait until Gloria manages to rescue Fiorella. As the police search the island villa, they see no sign of anyone being there and realize that the smugglers must have changed to location. When they discover one of the containers, Mario realizes that Gaetano is the secret boss of the smugglers and the race back to the mainland. At the church, Gaetano has a meeting with the rest of his men but when he notices the police showing up, he secretly leaves, allowing his men to be arrested. Gaetano gets in his truck and drives off but Mario and the police chief follow after him. As he is driving along, Gaetano sees Gloria and Fiorella walking along the side of the road on their way to meet with Giulia and he picks them up. When he drives past Giulia, Gaetano reveals to Gloria that he is the smuggling boss and she grabs the wheel and cause the truck to stop. Gloria tries to run with Fiorella but Gaetano shoots her and grabs Fiorella, running off into the hills. Mario and the chief pull up, as does Guilia and some villagers who heard the shots and Mario asks Giulia to make sure Gloria gets medical help while they go after Gaetano. As they make their way after Gaetano, they catch up to him as he is trying to escape in a boat and manage to kill him. Mario grabs Fiorella out of the boat and Giulia, who had followed them, embraces them both.
This was honestly a pretty confusing and boring movie. The acting was ok, with Boris Karloff doing a pretty good job as Gaetano, but the dubbing was absolutely atrocious. The story was pretty confusing, as they didn’t seem to do a good job of explaining what was going on. Part of that might have been the way the movie was cut as it just seemed to flow pretty irregularly. There weren’t any special effects in the movie, relying more on the tone to help with the story, but even the tone felt pretty weak and sometimes more comical than suspenseful. Personally, I don’t think this is one of Karloff’s better works.
Rating: 2 out of 5