Island Claws (1980)

Directed by Hernan Cardenas [Other horror films: N/A]

There are some movies that I just wish were better, either because I think the concept is pretty cool or the film has a lot of potential. Island Claws is one of them. While it could have been a nice little treat from the early 80’s, instead it’s just mostly slow and really doesn’t have much in the way of reward.

A small part of this perception may be the print I watch, which was likely a VHS rip, and as such, was quite low in quality. Specifically, sequences that took place at night were quite difficult to decipher, and though I doubt my rating would change much had it been Blu-ray quality, that is worth taking note of.

Either way, it’s no doubt a slow movie, with it’s plot just crawling along and rarely doing much to pull the audience back in. There were a few good sequences – a man who lived in an old bus (not typical living quarters, but it looked comfortable) gets attacked by crabs, and the bus catches fire and blows up. And now that I think about it, that might be the only sequence I think of as actually good.

There were only five performances of note, and that’s being generous. Robert Lansing (Empire of the Ants, 4D Man, and The Nest) was pretty decent as one of the leads, working well with Steve Hanks (12/12/12) and Jo McDonnell. Barry Nelson (who some may recognize from The Shining) was good also, though he didn’t stand out as much as I’d have liked. Tony Rigo (who reminded me a little of Dick Miller) had his moments also.

Even so, the story here was just so slow, and even the occasionally interesting elements thrown in (such as some racism toward Haitians who are hiding out on the island) just didn’t amount to much in the end, especially when the final battle against the sole giant crab was so damn luckluster. I mean, I guess the crab looked okay, but when you have a choice between a film like this and Corman’s Attack of the Crab Monsters, and you’re leaning Corman, you know the movie has a problem.

Certainly there is a little charm to be had here. I personally liked the small-town feel, especially a scene early on in a rambunctious bar where everyone knew everyone. It was nice and homey. That doesn’t make the film worth seeing though, and despite hoping that I could like this (and I gave it two chances – I first saw this one some years back), it’s just really not that good.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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