Attack of the Beast Creatures

Attack of the Beast Creatures ★★★★½

When their cruise ship sinks during the summer of 1920, nine survivors are grateful to find dry land as their lifeboat washes up on an island. Their relief proves to be short-lived, however, because they are soon preyed upon by hundreds of tiny doll-like creatures with razor sharp teeth.

The 1985 independent horror feature, Attack of the Beast Creatures (Hell Island), directed by Michael Stanley, is a shining example of regional low-budget cinema done right, with the woods of Connecticut standing in as a tropical island setting and with puppets being used to create the tribe of one-foot-tall demon dolls. The gory fates of unfortunate castaways are brought to the screen by way of scrappy, yet innovative makeup effects, especially during one particular scene when one man dips his face into a pool of water for a drink, only to find out that the pool is filled with acid instead of water. A supremely eerie synthesizer score by John P. Mozzi adds considerable momentum to the proceedings.

I like this movie quite a lot. Instead of drawn-out origin stories, multiverses, or contrived dramatic interactions, we are simply treated to people fighting monster dolls. The end result comes across like Trilogy of Terror on steroids, with multitudes of the long-haired beast creatures instead of just one and with grisly sequences of these creatures biting into our protagonists with their piranha-like teeth. Instead of aiming for forced campiness, the filmmakers and actors thankfully play it straight with utmost seriousness.

Just one tiny doll monster would hardly be a danger, but the experience of being mauled by several of them at once seems quite nightmarish. This is the Gilligan's Island that we all wanted, but did not deserve.

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