MYSTERY OF MONSTER ISLAND
(Misterio en la Isla de los Monstruos)
Monster Island is ostensibly based on Jules Vernes Mysterious Island (1875), although gives the impression that none of the filmmakers has actually read the Verne story. You can tell from the title alone Monster Island Jules Vernes Mysterious Island was a desert island survival story, which does feature Captain Nemo and The Nautilus (neither of which appear here) but no monsters. In fact, it was not until the fourth film adaptation of Mysterious Island Mysterious Island (1961) that monsters started to creep into the story. It feels as though Monster Island has been taken direct from the 1961 film rather than from Jules Verne.
As with all of Juan Piquer Simons films, the effects are terrible tatty men-in-rubber-dinosaur suits, seaweed creatures where one can see the pants the extras are wearing underneath, awful Gill Man creatures. The worst part about Monster Island is the constant slapstick tone. There is marching music on the soundtrack and clonking sound effects as people are hit on the head, as well as a shrill slapstick sidekick written in for the journey. Even the building of the hut and defences are conducted as slapstick. There is an amazingly silly climactic battle scene with the good guys warding off the pirates with a catapult that throws coconuts and a hand-cranked wooden tommy gun that fires bananas. The film reaches a completely unbelievable twist ending that reveals everything that has happened has been a set-up to teach the young hero life lessons. This is something that turns the film more into a version of tvs Fantasy Island (1977-84) than it does Mysterious Island.
Monster Island also toplines Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp but their appearances are limited to a combined total of about ten minutes at the beginning and end of the film, with Stamps character being dressed in a burnoose and clearly played by someone else for the rest of the time.
Other adaptations of Mysterious Island have included:- the silent Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1916) where both 20,000 Leagues and Mysterious Island were condensed into one story; the silent The Mysterious Island (1929); an obscure Russian-made adaptation Mysterious Island (1941); the serial Mysterious Island (1951); Ray Harryhausens Mysterious Island (1961) with Herbert Lom as Nemo and featuring stop-motion animated giant animals; the Spanish/French/Italian The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo (1972) with Omar Shariff as Nemo; the 22 episode tv series Mysterious Island (1995) with John Bach as Nemo; and the Hallmark tv mini-series Mysterious Island (2005) with Patrick Stewart as Captain Nemo; The Mysterious Island (2012) with W. Morgan Sheppard as Captain Nemo and involving time travellers; and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012).