Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Movie Review: Don't Go Back to the Island (1977)

Few people know about this ill-conceived take-off-cum-rip-off of Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. I can only guess that if Mr Sendak himself ever saw it he wisely chose to ignore it rather than give it any undue publicity by suing the hell out of the producers. It's a clumsy, terribly acted slasher flick with hilariously bad monster costumes and gruesome gore effects. The plot centers on a teenage hoodlum named Max, who bullies his equally dumb friends into stealing a speedboat and motoring out to the remote island he used to visit as a kid.

There, in the manner of slasher pics, each of the teens meets a grisly end, but not before Max sets himself up as a petty tyrant over his peers. I'm sure the writer/director thought he was making a very clever allusion to Lord of the Flies, but it's as hamfisted as everything else about this movie.

Eventually, having betrayed all of his friends/subjects, Max is alone, chased by every monster on the island. Interminably chased, in a night-for-night sequence that seems to last for twenty minutes and fails to generate any tension at all. In the end, within sight of the boat Max is caught, swiftly dismembered and greedily devoured.

The director manages one of his few effective shots at the very end of his movie, as the camera pans slowly away from the gory feast and tracks back into the woods, accompanied by a voice-over that's actually rather haunting:

...the blood ran out over earth
and in and out of stones
and through the grass
and into the pile of his very own bones
where they had made a supper of him

and it was still hot.


Matthew Slepin said...

That is pretty good at that.

Dave Hendrick said...

Was this released under a different name? I have done everything* I can to track this down.

*By everything, I mean I have run the trifecta searches of Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB.

Max said...

The tag "Imaginary Bookshelf" is a clue, Dave.