Isle of the Damned (2008)

Savage cruelty was their culture... human flesh was their food!
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Isle of the Damned - Savage cruelty was their culture... human flesh was their food

Isle of the Damned is a highly comical spoof of the Italian cannibal movies popular in the late seventies and early eighties. Purposely over-the-top and deliberately made to look as if it were a poorly filmed low budget movie (complete with poor film quality and terrible dubbing reminiscent of many of the Italian horror flicks from the parodied era), Isle of the Damned is a hilarious and well fashioned jungle-horror caper with humour reminiscent of Lloyd Kaufman's Troma productions and an amount of gore to match. One of the most impressive features of this movie is the obvious amount of research into Italian cannibal movies that inspired its making; there are a number of scenes instantly recognizable from cannibal classics such as Cannibal Holocaust, a number of irrelevant wildlife scenes as is a penchant for Italian cannibal movie directors (but given droll dubbing) and an over emphasized "Who are the real savages?" storyline. The movie even has a style of camera work that brings back a memory of all of the tacky video nasties set on secluded islands.

The movie follows a group of intrepid adventurers seeking the lost treasure of Marco Polo, private investigator Jack Steele and his adopted (and confused) son Billy have been hired to help, along with three pirates to sail the boat and led by the gluttonous and perverted slob, Harold Thompson. Searching an island cluster off of the coast of Argentina and having not yet found the treasure stash, the posse are left with one island to search, an island known to be inhabited by savages and known to the locals as Cannibal Island, and soon to be known by the viewers as Isle of the Damned.

Whilst on the island the treasure hunters are soon confronted by the bloodthirsty inhabitants of the island and the team is split up having to make their own way in the perilous rain forest. To their rescue comes the eccentric Alexis Kinkaid and his Japanese ex-assassin sidekick. Alexis was once an explorer looking for the legendary treasure but learnt a very important lesson in life whilst on the isle and has led a reclusive life in his island mansion ever since, he knows the secrets of the island and its savage inhabitants but will he lead the tourists to the treasure or does he hope to pass on his valuable life-lesson?

With its excellent sound track (once again accurately mimicking the cannibal genre), bad hair-cuts and facial hair and grindhouse titles, there is nothing not to like about Isle of the Damned. Fans of the cannibal genre will love the attention to detail plus there are lashings of gore, recreating every controversial piece of horror and taking it one step further but to comedy effect. The gore effects are easily comparable to big budget horrors with convincing disembowelments and dismemberment and the fabricated history behind the movie explaining the source of the "real life footage" and even the cover art claiming the movie is banned in 492 countries makes this a must see movie A both hilarious and depraved shrine to Italian cannibal horror and exploitation.
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