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A wealthy industrialist hires the renowned hoax-buster Phillip Knight to prove that an island he plans to develop isn't voodoo cursed. However, arriving on the island, Knight soon realizes that voodoo does exist when he discovers man-eating plants and a tribe of natives with bizarre powers. Written by
Jeremy Lunt <email@example.com>
"Voodoo Island" was Boris Karloff's first American film in four years. Nearing his 70th birthday, good parts must have been hard to come by, given that the old Gothic style horror for which he became famous, was now not in vogue.
Hotel entrepreneur Howard Carlton (Owen Cunningham) is planning a new hotel/resort on a distant Pacific Island. A survey team that had been sent out earlier disappeared except for Mitchell (Glenn Dixon) who returned in a zombie like state. Carlton hires Philip Knight (Karloff) an investigative reporter to investigate the remote island where the disappearances occurred.
The expedition includes Knight, his assistant Sara Adams, Carlton's front man Barney Finch (Murvyn Vye), Claire Winter (Jean Engstrom), local resort manager Martin Schuler (Elisha Cook) and his assistant Matthew Gunn (Rhodes Reason). Knight also insists that Mitchell be brought along. Before they leave for the island, Mitchell mysteriously dies and a voodoo death warning is left.
When the expedition arrives at the "voodoo" island, strange things start to happen. First their boat breaks down and later they discover their food supply spoiled trapping them on the island all the while under the watchful eyes of mysterious natives. Then, while enjoying a swim Claire is killed by a flesh eating plant. The rest are captured by the natives. Schuler refuses to leave and later becomes a zombie as does Finch while watching two children play. Will the others escape?
Karloff is totally miscast as the fast talking "Gerardo" type investigative reporter. Although he does his best, he certainly deserved better. He would make two more films in 1958 and then disappear from the screen until 1963 when Roger Corman "rediscovered" him for "The Raven".
The cast spends most of the film trudging across the jungle island. We never see any so-called black magic and are left to wonder how the zombies are created. We do get to see some cheap looking dolls with pins in them though. This was obviously a film on a low budget. Most of it was shot outdoors and the special effects are cheaply done.
Strictly for the lower half of a double bill.
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