Back in seventies a lot of obscure European movies mostly from the sixties used turn up lot on late night television and then seemed to vanish, going back under the rocks they seemingly came out from under. However, recently many of these films have recently surfaced on small video labels. Often these film starred either European casts unknown in the U.S.A. with anglicized names in the credits and/or as in this case, American stars who had fallen on hard times. In this film Cameron Mitchell, whose voice appears to have been dubbed by another actor, plays Baron Van Wiser, an evil scientist who has been creating monstrous plant mutations. He invites an assorted group of characters to visit his island estate, where one by one the guests become meals for his creations.
The film was shown on American television as MAN EATER OF HYDRA, although the plants really don't eat anyone, they suck their victims blood like a vampire. The murderous plant, which we really never get a good look at (perhaps we can be thankful) resembles a yew tree with weeping willow like branches. At the end of the branches are flowers whose stamens do the blood sucking. The killer trees are apparently able to walk, but we never see them walking. It's unclear why the baron invited the visitors, but apparently he wanted them as food for his creations. The baron tells a botanist visitor the he wants to keep his discoveries secret. The baron seems to think having a group of visitors to his island all end up dead isn't going arouse any suspicion, even though the island would be crawling with police once word got out the hapless visitors were reported missing. Why is it these mad scientists/crazed maniacs never lure people who go un-missed like tramps, cheap hookers, homeless bums for their evil purposes?
MAN EATER OF HYDRA (or ISLAND OF THE DOOMED) is one of dozens of cheaply made 1960's shockers from Europe. This film is slightly more entertaining then most these films. The film tries to drum up some atmosphere, throws in a little sex, and provides a few good shocks, but like most of these cheap sixties European shockers, there is an air "lets get this thing over with" attitude prevailing over the film.
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