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Isle of the Snake People (1971)

La muerte viviente (original title)
Unrated | | Horror, Mystery | March 1971 (USA)
Evil scientist runs a veritable army of LSD crazed zombies.


Juan Ibáñez (as Jhon Ibanez), Jack Hill


Jack Hill (screenplay), Juan Ibáñez | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Carl van Molder / Damballah
Julissa ... Anabella Vandenberg
Carlos East ... Lt. Andrew Wilhelm (as Charles East)
Rafael Bertrand Rafael Bertrand ... Capt. Pierre Labesch (as Ralph Bertrand)
Tongolele ... Kalea
Quintín Bulnes ... Klinsor (as Quintin Bulnes)
Santanón Santanón ... Dwarf (as Santanon)
Martinique Martinique
Julia Marichal Julia Marichal ... Mary Ann Vandenberg (as July Marichael)
Yol Duhalt Yol Duhalt


The inhabitants of a small, remote island have been practicing voodoo rites and worshipping an evil priest named Damballah for years, but the local law officials generally turn a blind eye to this death cult's bizarre activities. Captain Labesch arrives from the mainland, determined to crack down on the island's lawlessness and clean up the ineffectual, hard-drinking police force. He appeals for assistance from wealthy plantation tycoon Carl Van Molder, who owns nearly half of the island and wields a great deal of influence over the population. Van Molder has made the study of parapsychology his life's work and believes in the secret powers of the mind. He warns Labesch not to interfere with this forgotten island's ancient ways. Also visiting is Van Molder's niece, Annabella, a temperance crusader who wants her uncle to help fund the International Anti-Saloon League. She falls in love with handsome police lieutenant Andrew Wilhelm, despite his fondness for rum. Meanwhile, beautiful ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror | Mystery


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


One of a package of four films Boris Karloff made as co-productions between Columbia Pictures and Mexico's Azteca Films, though after Karloff's death Columbia sold off their share to a distributor called Horror International. See more »


Anabella Vandenberg: Modern science has shown that alcohol is responsible for ninety-nine point two percent of all the world's sins.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, Boris Karloff is billed twice, once as Damballa and then as Carl van Molder. See more »

Alternate Versions

For the DVD version entitled Cult of the Dead, the 2nd scene in the film, that of zombie revival, is abridged. See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Zombies (1996) See more »

User Reviews

No respect for the elderly
28 July 2006 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

It almost looks like Boris Karloff eventually became the embodiment of the horrific monsters he played for a period of approximately 50 years. Why? Because even for several years after his death, he kept on appearing in tiny horror productions like as if he was still amongst the living. In reality, however, these movies were completed since years already but they never got released immediately for whatever reason. In fact, Boris himself never got the see the four last films on his own repertoire ("Island of the Snake People", "Cauldron of Blood", "The Fear Chamber" and "The Incredible Invasion") and that's probably a GOOD thing, considering the quality of these films. They're all uninspired and dull films, cheaply produced with foreign money and directed without the slightest sense of professionalism. Jack Hill, creator such cool movies like "Spider Baby" and blaxploitation-classic "Foxy Brown", is credited as co-director but his influence is barely noticeable, to say the least. This movie features an incredibly overlong opening scene in which a freaky midget resurrects a dead girl from her coffin. The sacrifice of one single chicken and a crazy voodoo-dance apparently suffice for that. The only point of this intro is to make clear that the events take place on an island where the natives still practice the voodoo religion and that they're capable to do supernatural things. Boris Karloff's character is somewhat the patriarch of this island, and he certainly doesn't like it when an ambitious police lieutenant arrives to clean up the place. "Island of the Snake People" is a very slow and tame movie, despite the premise of resurrected corpses and ancient voodoo rituals. The zombies look deader than when they actually dead, so certainly don't expect any brain-devouring monsters that hunt down everything that moves. The concept is actually similar to such films as Jacques Tourneur's "I walked with a Zombie" or "White Zombie", since the living dead serve as slaves to work in the fields. Naturally this movie lacks the style and frightening atmosphere of the aforementioned titles and even the make-up effects are poorer, despite being made over 30 years later. Boris Karloff is great as always, but he can't carry the whole movie by himself. Instead of letting him run crazy snake cults, they should have allowed him to enjoy a quiet and peaceful last couple of years. Poor Boris. If it's any consolation, you'll be remembered for earlier films a lot more.

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Mexico | USA


Spanish | English

Release Date:

March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Isle of the Snake People See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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