Horror Island (1941) - George Waggner

Director: George Waggner


Jack Bernhard

Starring: Dick Foran, 

Peggy Moran, 

Leo Carrillo and

Foy Van Dolsen

Production C


Universal Studios

Release Date: 

March 28, 1941

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $93,000

I chose this movie at random and was surprised that it was a Universal feature. This movie has really weird vibes around it. Upon first impression, it's a really good quality and well made picture. However, it starts to take weird and bizarre turns. It's a sea faring horror flick with pirate overtones that's produced by Universal Pictures. What could go wrong?

A broke sailor, Bill Martin, is convinced at trying his luck at obtaining a couple of million dollars in buried treasure. A strange sailor, Leo Carrillo, has a piece of a map that leads to that treasure and it just happens to be located on an island that the sailor's family owns. The sailor gathers a small group and they all travel to the island to stay the night at an old dark castle, with the intention of searching for the treasure. Only, they won't be searching for it. They will try to survive as a strange cloaked Phantom seeks to get them to leave one by one. 

The music in the film is phenomenal and really adds to the tension. The plot is predictable, but it still has it's moments. And the comedy is really funny too. The Phantom himself is pretty creepy looking but doesn't do much to make the film any more frightening. It's just another early forties comedy horror, trying to lighten the spirits of the masses during a bad time. 

The film is about 60:40 Comedy to Horror with a twinge of Adventure. It's not really what I would consider to be scary. Although it has a few scenes that are well produced and would do well as stock footage. The majority of the film seems like it was produced by a cookie-cutter. Plug any actor into Foran's role and no one would notice.  

Dick Foran does a well enough job. He is in the Clooney type comedic role that happens to fit his character really well. Peggy Moran did alright too. Unfortunately, this is another movie that follows that tired and worn-out Old Dark House motif. To me that is a style that is getting really dull. I appreciated the sailor theme though. But Leo Carrillo makes for a pretty weird pirate. 

The film is pretty decent and good for a date movie. It's comedy still holds up and isn't overly hokey. It's by Universal Studios and they are notorious, at the time, for putting out some really quality work. It's not scary but it isn't terrible either. Check it out.