Catching Salmonella From Fishmen
Island of the Fishmen (1979/Italy – 1981/U.S.), a schlocky Italian creature feature – finally and conclusively solves one of mankind’s greatest mysteries – where the flippin’ flap is the lost city of Atlantis. I don’t have the exact coordinates, but it’s in the middle of the ocean, or rather, under the middle of the ocean, where a volcano made it sink. And it’s inhabited – by fish people.
A bio-scientist, doing his best Dr. Moreau impression, made the fish people. The ego-mad Republican who runs the island (complete with fully functioning live volcano) uses the aquatic acolytes to retrieve Atlantis’ submerged gold and ornate bookends.
The scientist wanted to change everyone into fish to solve the world’s food problem. Ironically, if the ocean was loaded with fish people, we land walkers would never run out of food. Then all we’d need is bait shops and tartar sauce factories.
While this is going on, shipwrecked Lieutenant Claude de Ross washes up on the island and, after checking out the captive “too sexy for civilization” Amanda Marvin (who holds sway over the fish dudes), wants to snorkel in her sea grotto. (Yeah, I used that line before. So what?) But Edmond Rackham, the self-proclaimed ruler of said doomed island, wants to kill everybody and make off with the Atlantean gold while wearing a suit and riding around on a horse in humid tropical temps.
Fed up with this nonsense, the volcano gets its pyroclastic flow in a knot and is about to recreate history. With no more potion to control the fish people and the island about to blow, this thing turns into a last call party.
The fishmen, with claws that look EXACTLY like those sported by the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), finally get the upper fin and dish out some sweet revenge. They also do something unexpected as the island is lava lamping. What some fishmen won’t do for a pretty land face.
Of note: for the U.S. release, some American dumbass wanted to retitle the movie and named it Island of Mutations, then Island of Mutations, before settling on Screamers. I like Island of Mutations as it has a nice zing to it.