ISLAND OF TERROR
NIGHT OF THE SILICATES
Even Terence Fisher aficionados consider these three Planet Productions films among his weakest efforts. It is as though Fishers celebrated directorial flair was only constrained to period horror and he ran aground when he attempted to make contemporary sf/horror films. The films in all cases are pedestrian and unremarkable. The idea here of a monster that arithmetically replicates is interesting but the monsters themselves are dull. They move so slowly that one wonders what the threat is. The film has to conduct extremely contrived scenes in order to isolate the island for them to be a threat there are no phones; the scientists leave the islands only emergency launch behind on the mainland when the offer of a helicopter comes up but then the helicopter has to return that night. Fisher also fails to generate much in the way of suspense or atmosphere. There is one good scene with the initial appearance of the silicates a tentacle first seen creeping around a door and then the silicate appearing and hemming the group in in a corridor. In one eerie moment, we see a silicate splitting apart, spewing out something like cold spaghetti and then dividing into another organism.
Island of Terror also lacks a great deal of conviction. The scene where Edward Judd is forced to cut off Peter Cushings arm to save his life would have had some brutal effect were it not undermined by the sight of Cushing cheerfully sitting up being bandaged in the following scene. The film taps into the peculiar isolationist mentality of 1960s Britain. Unfortunately the menace is too dull to be effective and Terence Fisher fails to tap into any of the swimming subtexts that manage to make all good science-fiction monsters more than they are.
Terence Fishers other genre films are: the sf films The Four-Sided Triangle (1953) and Spaceways (1953), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Gorgon (1964), Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out/The Devils Bride (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973), all for Hammer. Outside of Hammer, Fisher also made the Old Dark House comedy The Horror of It All (1964).