Death is Horrible: ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945)


Of the three films that Boris Karloff acted in for producer Val Lewton’s horror unit at RKO, ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945) tends to get the short shrift. This is a bit of an unfair match, especially when one of the other movies is THE BODY SNATCHER (1945), directed by Robert Wise and based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s undoubtedly one of the greatest horror pictures of the 1940s, with an unmatched turn from Karloff as the utterly insidious resurrection man-cum-murderer John Gray. The other film, Mark Robson’s BEDLAM from 1946, the last of Lewton’s run of terror productions, is a solid period piece that has Boris essaying the more layered but no less nasty role of asylum-keeper Master George Sims.

So where does this leave ISLE OF THE DEAD?

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