Savage Island (1985)
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What this film consists of is footage from "Escape from Hell" (1980) and "Hotel Paradise" (also 1980) spliced together with a new wraparound featuring Linda Blair. The new wraparound is directed by Nicholas Beardsley... but who is Nicholas Beardsley?
Of course, the new version makes no sense because the characters do not match up. The fact it is even comprehensible at all is something of a miracle. (Apparently Charles Band had a hand in creating this, but I am not sure the details on that.)
The two films this came from were both directed by Edoardo Mulargia ("Don't Wait, Django... Shoot!") and written by Sergio Chiusi ("SS Experiment Love Camp"), so if any credit is deserved, it should go to them. But why not just watch their real films?
Sadly, the quality is terrible (even on the Shout Factory release) and I suspect there is not much that can be done about that because the footage clearly did not come from original negatives.
This movie su-u-u-u-u-u-u-cked!
Take Linda Blair, put her in furs, have her cap a security guy, (A slumming Penn Jillete.) then put her face to face with a sleazy diamond merchant/slave farm owner. It must have sounded cool at one point.
Both of the early films that were ripped off, and had the Blair footage wrapped around, seemed like passable entertainment. But this horrid mess must have been made as a joke.
No coherence. Characters switching on and off at will. Seemingly endless shots of chicks in jungle gear sweating and running before dying. That does get boring when done wrong. And this was WRONG.
And who/where was that sneering voice coming from? (" Come on! You gotta WOOORRRKKK!!!!")
The late Leon Askin (Gen. Burkhalter in "Hogan's Heroes.") was the lone watchable one. His brief scenes seemed like the only serious ones.
About 10 minutes of new framing material was shot featuring Linda Blair, who didn't want to deceive people into thinking she was the star, despite being prominently featured in the promotional materials. Linda plays Daly, out to seek revenge on dastardly businessman Luker (Leon Askin).
As you might imagine, this gets pretty incoherent, and after a while some viewers may just give up trying to make any sense of things and just go with the flow. The archive footage is plenty sleazy, and will very much satisfy the exploitation loving crowd. There is a lot of full frontal female nudity, and a fair bit of violence. Not only do people get shot, but they fall victim to snakes and leeches as well. The poor quality of the picture is certainly appropriate for this kind of material.
Linda and Leon are fun, as are a number of the foreign performers in the original movies. Among those you may recognize are Anthony Steffen, Ajita Wilson, and Luciano Pigozzi. Hell, there's even a cameo role for none other than Penn Jillette, as a not very competent security guard.
The violence, nudity, and frequent action scenes help to ensure that, while this may be dumb, it isn't boring.
Five out of 10.
The real draw, for American VHS and grindhouse audiences, is Linda Blair. To her credit, she didn't want to deceive her fans with this movie, as she's basically only in it for ten minutes. She told the Los Angeles Times that she had it stipulated in her contract that her name could not be above the movie title, nor in bigger print than anybody else's.
That didn't happen. She's on the poster art in high heels, tearing her way out of the poster - and her clothes - clutching a machine gun.
The plot - such as it is - involves women prisoners jailed on a remote island (some would say a Savage Islane) being forced to mine emeralds when they're not engaging in catfights and taking showers.
Meanwhile, Daly (Blair) tells their sordid tale when she's not shooting Penn Jillette in the head or menacing the fat man (Leon Askin, General Burkhalter from Hogan's Heroes) behind it all with her Uzi. These new sequences are directed by Ted Nicolaou (Bad Channels, TerrorVision).
You may think I'm talking down on this scuzzy, grubby, shoddy and scummy affair. Quite the contrary. I watched the whole thing, amazed at the audacity of producer Charles Band and shocked that anyone could release this as an actual film that played in theaters. So to be honest, I kind of loved it. That said, if anyone else was strutting around an LA office with an Uzi other than Linda Blair, the results may have been different.
Guide: Plenty of FF nudity, shower scene (Cristina Lay, trans-sexual Ajita Wilson, Plus many others), break away smocks.
This is an okay film with some stand out moments. Its very much of its type with all sorts of abuse heaped upon women who eventually revolt and then make a made dash into the jungle, however there are a few moments where the film creates some genuine tension and creepiness that lift it a bit above the typical voyeuristic level that these films normally operate on. Of course its not high enough to make this something you'd want to watch with your mom (unless she liked these sort of films) but if you're in a mood for this sort of thing you could do worse.
** (out of 4)
An escaped convict (Linda Blair) who was tortured manages to find the man (Leon Askin) who ran the operation. She then holds him at gunpoint while she explains the ordeal that she had to go through. This butcher job from Charles Band and Empire Pictures is actually two EuroTrash films, ESCAPE FROM HELL and HOTEL PARADISE, which were originally shot back-to-back with the same cast. Those two films are edited down in one 79-minute movie, which features newly shot stuff with Blair at the start and end. Why Band decided to shoot the new scenes is anyone's guess but he must have thought Blair on the poster would get more ticket sales. Overall this film is hard to fully judge because on one hand you're basically watching a chopped down version of ESCAPE FROM HELL and why do that when the full thing is available? You might as well watch that and if you must see the new scenes with Blair you can just fast forward through everything else here. As far as the new footage goes, it's all done pretty cheaply and doesn't feature anything that you must see. As for the two films that are edited into this, they both seem a lot better as there's all sorts of nudity, sex and of course silly violence. Ajita Wilson plays the lead prisoner who starts up a fight as the women are being killed and beaten in order to dig up diamonds for their evil owner. As for SAVAGE ISLAND, it's an ultra cheap film but with all the naughtiness going on, it's worth watching for exploitation fans.