“I meet my old familiar enemy, Death. I’ve fought him before. I’ve won, often. Now he wins. Let him come for me.” Yes, Death is a resident of this particular island. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Doc Rotten, and Jeff Mohr – as they journey to an island cemetery off the coast of Greece in Val Lewton’s Isle of the Dead (1945).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 163 – Isle of the Dead (1945)
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On a Greek island during the 1912 war, several people are trapped by quarantine for the plague. If that isn’t enough worry, one of the people, a superstitious old peasant woman, suspects one young girl of being a vampiric kind of demon called a vorvolaka.
- Directed by: Mark Robson
- Writing Credits: Ardel Wray; Val Lewton (uncredited), Josef Mischel (uncredited)
- Produced by: Val Lewton (producer); Jack J. Gross (executive producer)
- Music by: Leigh Harline
- Cinematography by: Jack MacKenzie (director of photography)
- Selected Cast:
- Boris Karloff as Gen. Nikolas Pherides
- Ellen Drew as Thea
- Marc Cramer as Oliver Davis
- Katherine Emery as Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn
- Helene Thimig as Madame Kyra
- Alan Napier as St. Aubyn
- Jason Robards Sr. as Albrecht (as Jason Robards)
- Ernst Deutsch as Dr. Drossos (as Ernst Dorian)
- Skelton Knaggs as Andrew Robbins (uncredited)
- Sherry Hall as Col. Kobestes (uncredited)
- Erick Hanson as Officer (uncredited)
- Rose Hobart as Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn (in long shot) (uncredited)
The Grue-Crew join producer Val Lewton, director Mark Robson, and legend Boris Karloff for a quietly creepy and haunting masterpiece from RKO Radio Pictures, Isle of the Dead (1945). This is the second of three films Lewton and Karloff would make together (along with Bedlam and The Body Snatcher) and the fourth of five films Lewton would make with Robson. The tagline promises, “Will Keep You Screaming!” – and, this time, it just might. Check out what Chad, Daphne, and Jeff take away from this undeniable classic.
Here are the other Decades of Horror Classic Era episodes on Lewton-produced movies:
- CAT PEOPLE (1942) – Episode 37 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
- THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) – Episode 66 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
- THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943) – Episode 97 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
At the time of this writing, Isle of the Dead can be found streaming from multiple PPV sites and is currently available on disc as a Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule, as chosen by Daphne, is The Head (1959), a German film whose original title is Die Nackte und der Satan. Head transplants, a hunchbacked nun, and a sexy dancer. You definitely won’t want to miss this one!
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To each of you from each of them, “Thank you so much for watching and listening!”