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Film / Jules Verne's Mystery on Monster Island

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Jules Verne’s Mystery on Monster Island is a 1981 B-Movie from Spanish director Juan Piquer Simón (Pod People, Slugs, and Pieces). Despite the name, it is not an In Name Only adaptation of Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, but rather an adaptation of the far more obscure Verne novel Godfrey Morgan. It "stars" Peter Cushing and Terence Stamp (although both are barely in the movie save for some few scenes at the beginning and the end).

As the name implies, it’s about a group of characters shipwrecked on an island inhabited by monsters. To elaborate, Peter Cushing's character, a San Francisco billionaire named William W. Kolderup, decides to send his good-for-nothing nephew Godfrey Morgan, as well as Morgan's mentor Professor T. Artelett, on a world trip in order to teach Godfrey some lessons in discipline. However, Morgan and Artelett's trip is interrupted when monsters attack their boat, forcing them to abandon the ship, which explodes immediately afterwards. The pair make their way to the closest landmass, known as Spencer Island, where they begin to make themselves at home and befriend a chimpanzee and a native named Carefinotu. However, the group soon learns that the island is not only home to a bunch of monsters, but also there's a gang of hostile thieves called the Antmen on the search for a legendary gold reserve hidden in the island's caves.

This film provides examples of:

  • Asian Speekee Engrish: The Chinaman talks in this manner.
  • Bamboo Technology: The characters develop some sort of bamboo machine gun, a lot of bamboo-related traps, and a bamboo fort in order to fight the Antmen.
  • Cannibal Tribe: The indigenous people of the island are referred to as such. However, Carefinotu himself averts this; despite also being one of the island's natives, he's much friendlier to Godfrey and Artelett and is actually rescued by them from the cannibals. Subverted as it's revealed in the end that the cannibals and Carefinotu himself are all just actors.
  • Captured by Cannibals: Godfrey and Artelett meet Carefinotu after rescuing him from the cannibals.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most of the posters for the movie make it look like some kind of epic old-school adventure in which the characters discover a lost world and fight dinosaurs and hostile natives. While the film definitely takes inspiration from such movies, it's really just a simple island adventure movie.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Professor Artelett, who even Screams Like a Little Girl.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Antmen are all covered in rags except for the eyes.
  • Fish People: The first monsters the characters encounter. They drive them off the boat before the ship blows up.
  • Gratuitous Animal Sidekick: The chimpanzee, who mainly just provides comic relief.
  • Island of Mystery: Naturally, it's in the title.
  • Isle of Giant Horrors: As the name of the film suggests, it's an island of monsters - some of which are very big. Except they're all actually huge mechanical toys placed there as part of the staged adventure.
  • Jungle Drums: Of course, with the cannibals.
  • Nephewism: The title character Godfrey lives with his uncle and is his apparent heir.
  • The Professor: Artelett essentially channels Peter Cushing's character in At the Earth's Core.
  • Robinsonade: Godfrey and co. spend a lot of time working on structures on the island, including a fort.
  • Sand Worm: There are giant subterranean worms living in the volcano.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The movie's big twist is that all the monsters are mechanical, Carefinotu is an actor, and everything about the island adventure (except the bandits) was a hoax from Kolderup in order to teach Godfrey a life lesson.
  • Yellow Face: The Chinaman (yes, that’s his name in IMDB) plays this painfully straight.