The Twilight People
Animal desires... human lust. Test tube terrors... half beast... all monster.
Year of Release: 1972
Also Known As: Beasts, Island of the Twilight People
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction
Running Time: 84 minutes (1:24)
Director: Eddie Romero
John Ashley ... Matt Farrell
Pat Woodell ... Neva Gordon
Jan Merlin ... Steinman
Charles Macaulay ... Dr. Gordon
Pam Grier ... Ayesa - the Panther Woman
Ken Metcalfe ... Kuzma - the Antelope Man
Tony Gosalvez ... Darmo - the Bat Man
Kim Ramos ... Primo - the Ape Man
Mona Morena ... Lupa - the Wolf Woman
John Ashley is plucked from the sea while skindiving and taken to the foreboding fortress of Dr. Gordon. He is to become part of the doctor's diabolical experiment to create a race of super people. This twisted and maniacal doctor's experiments have so far only created terrifying and hideous creatures. His human guinea pigs, freed by the doctor's own daughter, turn the island hideaway into a bloodbath of revenge and terror!
The Twilight People... fuggin' nasty. Makes ya think of middle aged women who keep their dildos in the freezer til they're ready to strap 'em onto a mannequin with a picture of Robert Pattinson's face stapled to it. I don't think I'll ever understand this fascination with Twilight, I guess all the horny, desperate women exhibitin' borderline sexually predatory behavior who enjoy this stuff must love the idea of datin' a much older man who looks like a younger man an has an otter pop for a schlonker. I mean, he's undead right? So wouldn't that thing be colder'n a Sherpa's nipples? Anyway, if I sound a little bitter about that particular saga, even beyond the fact that the whole thing's a little like watchin' a pale disco ball blow a load of molten Montezuma's revenge all over Bela Lugosi an Christopher Lee, that's just cause I am. See, when Twilight was first released my ex-girlfriend, Bambi Pankins, wouldn't quit naggin' me about seein' this "great" new vampire flick that was playin' at the Prime Creek theater, even though they ain't shown nothin' worth a damn there since 1970 when they accidentally got shipped a film canister containin' Wizard of Gore instead of Wizard of Oz. But like I was sayin', once they got the place rebuilt after the patrons burned it to the ground that night, it's pretty well established itself as sissy central an been known as such ever since. Course, bein' the sucker that I am, I went anyway an I knew that was a mistake just from lookin' at the other people standin' in line for a ticket cause they all looked like either Grandpa Munster or Elvira after somebody kicked the gravity up about three notches. But what really bothered me was the fact that Bambi did such a piss poor job of hidin' the fact that she *liked* what she was seein' in line. In retrospect I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised when this geek who looked like Marilyn Manson started makin' eyes at 'er an after awhile they both happened to excuse themselves to hit the can right about the same time, which is already suspicious to begin with cause nobody's used the bathroom at Prime Creek since 1985 on account of it reekin' of urine worse'n Bear Grylls' fridge.
So after about 15 minutes I figured I'd better go check on 'er in case she'd gotten 'er Morticia Addams wig caught in the paper towel dispenser again, only when I got up there I found out what was holdin' 'er up, or rather who was holdin' 'er up; it was none other than Rod the Impaler with 'er in that bathroom stall an from the looks of things there was some pretty furious stakin' goin' on in there. On the one hand I was kinda relieved, cause this meant that I was now free of any further obligation to stare in horror at Rainbow Brite an the rest of The Vampire Crappening, but I was still pretty P.O.'d too. So I ended up decidin' that revenge, much like Edward's wangdoodle, is best served cold. An rather than just fling the door open an pound the tar outta the guy while he tries vainly to dodge my vampire killers an pull up his drawers at the same time, I just shut the door an pulled the fire alarm on my way out. I got out just fine, but Count Sacula wasn't so lucky, cause the moment that alarm went off he got startled so bad that he wasn't able to vacate the bat cave before blowin' his Lost Boys like an unkinked fire hose. I think deep down she knows it was me that pulled the alarm, an I suppose I feel kinda bad about it a now that it's been a few years... cripes, how long's it been again... oh, right, the triplets just had their fifth birthdays a few weeks ago. But in my defense I think she understands now better than ever before what it must be like to be a vampire, I mean; she knows what it means to be completely nocturnal what with those three screamin' horrors, she's always walkin' around town with this completely dead look in 'er eyes, an at this point she's not only no longer afraid of the sight of blood, but she enthusiastically welcomes it at the end of every month. So I guess at the end of the day, everything worked out just fine for everybody involved, an I dunno about the rest of you, but I'm a sucker for a happy endin'.
But enough reminiscin', cause this here's my first review detailin' the exploits of those whacky Filipino exploitation pioneers, who remind us that it's not the size of your budget that counts, it's what you do with it. For instance, you wouldn't ever wanna do any of the things these lunatics did with theirs, like, say, tryin' to remake The Island of Lost Souls when you've only got four dollars an eighty three cents to spend on makeup effects. So as you can imagine, this movie's pretty goll durn educational, and as is usually the case, there's no escapin' my advice to live by segment. First, one kiss from a man with Michael Landon hair is enough to make a woman completely rethink 'er allegiance to 'er father an all the scientific work he's put into his new master race of manimals. Second, critically acclaimed hunters/survivalists who can't even handle tyin' a basic slip knot are apparently prime candidates for gene splicin' experimentation due to their superior cognitive function. I guess they tried the whole kidnappin' thing on Marlin Perkins before tryin' this guy but gave up on 'im once they noticed he didn't wear velcro shoes. An third, sexy though she might be, nobody wants to clean Pam Grier's litter box. These lesser tidbits make sense alright enough, but I've got a real problem with some of the primary thought processes bein' utilized in this movie. Now, I'm pretty well on board with what Dr. Boreau's sayin' about our overpopulation problem, cause quite frankly the Catholics an the Duggars've been breedin' at a rate significant enough that within the next 20 years we're prolly gonna have to add those two groups to the list of SAT test ethnicity options. So I follow that part okay, it's his solution that I take issue with. His solution to an unchecked population explosion is to splice our DNA with that of various animal species that're so promiscuous that they'll tear their own hind leg off jumpin' the fence just to score some tail, an who incidentally also tend to pop out more babies in one pregnancy than Nadya Suleman. Not to mention that these animals also have significantly shorter gestation periods an lack the cognitive power to realize their tits've gone emptier'n a classroom for gifted children in Tylertown, Mississippi an that gettin' loaded up like a drug mule the moment your current litter opens its eyes might not be in your best interest. I just dunno about this guy, I'm startin' to think he may've hit his head on the toilet one time too many durin' those med school keggers. Seriously, if your motivation for mutatin' alla mankind is based solely upon concern for the planet's population, I'm thinkin' Donald Pleasence had the right idea in The Mutations, cause he was tryin' to turn everybody into Ficus plants rather than animals. Which not only makes reproduction a lot slower, but also downright confusin'. I mean, what the heck's a stamen anyway? An where's it supposed to go? Bottom line; I have serious doubts with regard to this doctor's line of reasonin'. Fuggin' line's so crooked you'd hafta toss back about 14 Tequila Shooters before you'd even have a shot at walkin' it.
The movie begins with this guy (Farrell) clam divin' out in the ocean til this fishin' trawler manned by a buncha sweaty guys who got tired of waitin' to be selected as Filipino male order brides by dumpy fat broads from Nebraska show up an put Farrell in the full nelson so they can get a rope around 'im. Then they haul 'im up outta the water like a bludgeoned tuna fish an shoot 'im fulla elephant tranquilizer an strap 'im down in the hold so this guy who looks like Iceman from Top Gun (Steinman) can show off his 58 teeth an gloat about how if Ferrell was really such a top notch survivalist he'da never been captured by anybody as chunkheaded as he is. So after a while they sail to this island an shove Ferrell in this old army rig that looks like it got shipped over from the Vietcong on a black market cargo ship, til the engine starts smokin' like a Deadhead at a Cheech & Chong film festival an they hafta pull over. Then Iceman sees some furry out in the brush yiffin' at 'im an gets so mad about the thing's indiscretion regardin' their private relationship that he puts his crosshairs on it an ends up gettin' nudged at the last moment by Farrell, allowin' the thing to live to squick another day. Iceman's P.O.'d, so he hasta kick the crap outta Farrell while the flunkies work on the truck, an once they get it to quit makin' noises like a weasel havin' an asthma attack, they take 'im to Dr. Gordon's compound where Gordon explains that Farrell's been chosen for his mental/physical prowess an inexplicable ability to make the Michael Landon haircut an Dwayne Johnson sideburns combination work. Gordon goes on to explain that Man's been a real jackass with his handlin' of the planet, an that if we're gonna avoid havin' a population explosion due to abstinence-only education practices we're gonna have to adapt ourselves to the sea, the stars, or possibly even Detroit if it comes to that. Then Gordon's daughter (Neva) shows 'im to his room an tells 'im to get some sleep cause there's gonna be a test in the mornin' on whatever the heck it was that Gordon just told 'im. Meanwhile, Gordon goes out into the jungle with Iceman an his goons to round up Duro, who's this manbearpig kinda guy that looks like Ganon from The Legend of Zelda, only Duro gets P.O.'d about Gordon showin' up just as he's workin' up his courage to ask Miss Piggy to go for a roll in the slop with 'im, an ends up havin' Chef Boyardee sauce blown out the back of his head by Iceman after he charges Gordon.
While that's goin' on, Farrell's sneakin' around the Animal Farm riflin' through Gordon's file cabinet readin' about how he got thrown outta med school for all that "four legs good, two legs bad" crap he was spoutin' on campus, til he hits some TLDR files an heads for the basement to see if the Cryptkeeper's home to find out what in the crap's goin' on around here. Unfortunately, all he finds is a buncha popcorn makers embedded in this kitchen counter with some spare body parts inside an a buncha jars with pickled punks layin' around like P.T. Barnum rents the place on weekends or somethin'. So once Farrell heads back up to his room overlookin' the parkin' lot where the sweaty Filipino guys stand guard an play three card monte, Iceman comes by an gives 'im a detailed description of the best escape route in the hopes that Farrell'll try to sneak outta there like an ex highschool football player who gets set up on a blind date with a fat girl, an they both have a good laugh about Iceman's perfectly healthy desire to reenact The Most Dangerous Game. Then Neva heads down to Gordon's lab an makes real sad pouty faces at 'im in the hopes that maybe he'll give up on his plan to turn Farrell into a minotaur, so she can finally get some action from somebody who doesn't express their interest in members of the opposite sex by sniffin' butts an humpin' bell bottoms. Course, Gordon doesn't go for it, so she goes to see Farrell an tells 'im she needs to give 'im an eye exam, an he ends up turnin' the tables on 'er an testin' out 'er mammary monocles til she gets all self conscious an runs down to a Planet of the Apes set in the basement to make sure the handler put fresh straw in with Chuck Heston an Linda Harrison. Fortunately for her, she leaves the front door unlocked like White House security an Farrell's able to grab ahold of Pam Grier (who's part panther an gotten all whacked out on cat nip) as she springs out of 'er cage an tries playin' velcro kitty with Neva's face. Next thing we see, Neva's down in Gordon's lab makin' like Moses an demandin' he let 'er twilight people go, but he tells 'er to she might as well forget that, like, yesterday, cause Farrell's the key to the entire Moreau Mixture, an about that time he starts gettin' all suspicious an askin' why the heck she cares all the sudden, like he's afraid she's knocked up he's gonna get stuck supportin' the kid if he goes ahead with the experiment.
A little while later, Farrell sneaks down to the lab an watches alla Iceman's goons carry some guy in on a gurney an plop 'im down in this hot tub, while Gordon puts this clear barber's wrap over 'im an sticks a hollowed-out tambourine on his head so he can carve a few flanks of tenderloin out of his brain. Unfortunately, while he's doin' that he splashes about a pint of Ragu Old World Style on Neva an that's the last straw cause about that time she runs outta there an tries ODin' on Gordon's Cialis prescription an Farrell hasta wrestle the bottle away from 'er an make out with 'er to remind 'er she's got somethin' to live for. 'Cept then Gordon an Iceman walk in on 'em an Gordon has Iceman sentence 'im to life in prison without the possibility of ever gettin' anywhere near 'er hole. Iceman's positively giddy, an once he throws Farrell in the crossbar hotel he heads upstairs to enjoy a glass of room temperature milk, til Neva comes outta nowhere an shoves a boomstick right in his kisser an he hasta pry it away from 'er an tell 'er he's gonna turn 'er boyfriend into a human strainer just for the heck of it. Cept then he starts gettin' drowsy an realizes she's spiked his milk with concentrated turkey coma formula an hits the floor like he just donated eight pints of blood. Then Neva heads downstairs an brains the zookeeper an lets Farrell an the clawed squad outta their cages so they can get the heck outta there an she can sing "Born Free," only Farrell says there's no time for that an tells 'er they're gonna split up cause it'll make 'em harder to track an cause this relationship has no practical future. But first Farrell hasta go drag Gordon's keister outta bed an make 'im pretend he's a bottle of Corona Lite to lure the guard up onto the front porch so Farrell can club 'im like a caveman on the datin' circuit, an once the coast is clear they jump the fence like Omar Gonzalez an go lookin' for a good place to startup a banana republic. Meanwhile, Iceman's startin' to come around after layin' on the floor bein' cool as ice for a while, an by now his trigger finger's gettin' itchier'n the crotch on an ISIS groupie, so he rounds up the security guys an starts organizin' a search an destroy party. Elsewhere, Neva's passin' out rations to the motley zoo; only the antelope man, lets call him Pan, is just a little bit apprehensive about eatin' too close to Pam "the jungle tigress" Grier, an so he slinks off to be alone til Flo Flo the dog faced girl follows an they sit together like a coupla Dungeons an Dragons dorks in the school cafeteria.
Then Pam starts rollin' around on the luckiest branch on Earth tryin' to scratch an itch, an Neva tells 'er to run down the path a ways an keep an eye out for any Manila guerrillas, an once she gets a bead on Iceman's scoutin' party she pulls the ole hit'n run like an illegal alien after a fender bender an tears out one of their throats like a handfulla hair at a Macy's 50% off sale. While that's goin' on, the monkey man, who for convenience' sake we'll call Honkey Kong, starts checkin' out Neva's nanners an starts tryin' to slip 'er the ole King Kong Ding Dong til Pan an Flo Flo hear what's goin' on an hafta peel 'im off like the skin on Fred Flintstone's feet when he hasta stop the car. Then, not too far away, Farrell spots somethin' runnin' around in the woods an once he ties Gordon to a tree like a hippy at a loggin' protest, he's able to get close enough to whatever it is so it can tell 'im that he an Maverick back there better use some evasive maneuvers cause Iceman's on the next ridge over an he's more frustrated'n eunich in a strip club, an by the time he gets back to where he left Gordon he's already escaped from bondage like some kinda Hebrew S&M porno flick. Elsewhere, Pan really wants to bleat cheeks, but Neva won't leave without Pam, so she sends Pan to lure 'er back with a ball of yarn, only Pam's kinda busy tearin' the faces offa Iceman's shoddyguards an one of 'em ends up gut shootin' Pan an firin' off his flare gun to alert Iceman before Pam can chew up his neck like a can of Fancy Feast. Then Pam starts smellin' blood an tries pickin' off Pan the sickly gazelle, til Flo Flo shows up an we've got a... well it ain't exactly a cat fight, but there's some pretty serious fur flyin' just the same, an Pan ends up havin' to make the difficult choice to brain Pam before she smacks his bitch up. So once Pan an Flo Flo limp back to camp Neva tells 'em they're gonna have to separate on account of the guerrillas bein' all up in their banana split an sends Pan an Flo Flo one way while she takes Honkey Kong with her. Darmo, who's part bat an kinda looks like a real P.O.'d Wayne Newton, abstains an goes off on his own. But eventually Iceman's goons get the drop on Neva an, well, the short version is there ain't been this much Honkey shootin' goin' on since Fred Williamson said "no more" in The Legend of Nigger Charley. Fortunately, Pan an Flo Flo see what's goin' on an start blowin' away Iceman's flunkies an splatterin' blood all over their Super Bowl VI Champion Miami Dolphin t-shirts while Farrell heads down the Highway to the Danger Zone so he can get his hands on Iceman. I think that's prolly about enough excitement for the time bein', will end it here.
Alrighty, well, this is the first review I've done of a movie from that curious period in the 70s when the *really* low budget American studios were pumping out tons of these horror flicks that were all shot in the Philippines. Technically speaking, the fad started in the late 60s and pooped out in the early 1980s, but the 70s was the era during which these Filipino exploitation flicks were really at their peak, and the reasoning behind it was of, course, the reason most people do anything; money. Movies were extremely cheap to shoot over there in those days, and that was enough to lure in a lot of low budget film producers, most notable of which was Roger Corman, who made most of the better ones, although many of them weren't horror movies in the traditional sense. For the most part, they're all B movies of one genre or another, and generally speaking, you're not going to find many titles that leave a big impression, particularly when many of them choose to recycle established themes from better known works, as this one did. But that's not to say that they're any worse than a low budget movie produced in the States or anywhere else, and the only genuine difference in that respect is the backdrop. If nothing else, it's kinda nice to see something different, even if the movie isn't all that great.
I'll give them this with regard to The Twilight People, it was made five years before The Island of Dr. Moreau. It was still a remake of The Island of Lost Souls, but it'd been 40 years since that movie came out, so it's less offensive when you understand that they at least waited four decades to do a rehash, whereas nowadays they can't hardly make it a single decade before hookin' that cash cow back up to the automatic milker. Seriously though, this one's got more than its share of shoddy production values. I think the most obvious thing would be John Ashley's shirt color changing not once, but twice throughout the course of the movie, with no evidence of a day change. That certainly doesn't mean there wasn't one, but if there was they didn't bother to make it clear that it was the case. You've also got a scene during the escape in the last twenty minutes where Ashley and Charles Macaulay are looking up at some *really* dated stock footage of a lookout tower that not only doesn't match the decade they were shooting in, but was also shot in the evening, while they're fleeing the compound around noon. Pretty pitiful. The editing's also choppier'n a sushi chef after a case of Jolt cola. You've got a few scenes that really jump around and seem like they're missing footage, which could actually be the case, because the original stand alone VCI DVD release claims it's 84 minutes whereas their Scream Theater 12 pack version only runs 80. But then again, it's the same company, why would one be cut and not the other? The only Youtube listing (it's in the public domain) also shows it at 80 minutes, so it's hard to say, but I'm inclined to think it was just lousy editing. That's hardly the end of its problems, but I'll save the rest for discussion in their appropriate categories.
Okay, time to tear this thing's face off an see if there's a beauty layer down there somewhere. Pretty standard mad scientist runnin' amok in an attempt to better mankind by infusin' us with a dash of animal magnetism so the ladies'll find us significantly more macho an give us back the ability to drop a dookie in our paws on demand for slingin' purposes kinda story, but that's alright. If you're gonna steal, go for the diamonds. Leave that Tahiti time share where ya found it, it's not worth it. Seriously though, it's Island of Lost Souls, nothing more, nothing less. The acting is alright, but that's all it is. Nobody stands out, nobody leaves any kind of impression, and the only actor that ever made anything of themselves (outside of The Philippines) has about eight pounds of make up on 'er face. Lets just put it this way, Pam Grier gives the best performance in the movie an she doesn't have any speaking lines. Although I've gotta say, it's damn hilarious watchin' Tony Gosalvez flyin' through the jungle on that zip cord with the Hefty bag bat wings. The man's obviously havin' a good time. Here's who matters and why, less Pam, cause only a jive turkey don't know 'bout Pam's rap sheet: John Ashley (Black Mamba, Beyond Atlantis, Blood Devils, Beast of the Yellow Night, Brides of Blood, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, Attack of the Eye Creatures, Frankenstein's Daughter), Jan Merlin (Buried Alive 1990, Time Trackers), Charles Macauley (The Monster's Revenge, The House of Seven Corpses), Ken Metcalfe (The Return of the Bionic Boy, Up from the Depths, The Thirsty Dead, Beast of the Yellow Night), Kim Ramos (The Deathhead Virgin, Beyond Atlantis), Eddie Garcia (Black Mamba, The Devil's Daughter, Beyond Atlantis, Blood Devils, Beast of the Yellow Night, Devil Woman), Angelo Ventura (Black Mamba, Beyond Atlantis), Johnny Long (Blood Devils, Beast of the Yellow Night, Mad Doctor of Blood Island), Andres Centenera (Black Mamba, Beyond Atlantis, Beast of the Yellow Night, Brides of Blood), Max Roio (Blood Thirst), Cenon Gonzalez (Mad Doctor of Blood Island). Notice a few repeats in there? Suffice to say, all directors have a list of actors they like to work with, so it shouldn't be too surprising to find that the B movie directors are every bit as likely to reuse actors the same way a Tarantino might. The best part was that Eddie "Edgar" Romero even had an American sounding name, so he didn't have to come up with a phony one like all those Italian directors did to feel reasonably assured that the American audience wouldn't notice the fact that none of the lip movements matched the dialog and everybody looked suspiciously like they're from Rome, Italy rather'n Rome, Georgia. You normal people out there might be amused to know that John Ashley was the narrator on The A-Team, and that Pat Woodell might be better recognized as Bobbie Jo Bradley from the immortal Petticoat Junction. Also interesting to note that it was actually a woman (Kim Ramos) playin' Honkey Kong, which leads you to wonder just what she was hopin' to achieve while she was climbin' all over Pat Woodell in that awkward sequence.
The special effects... look there just ain't no way to sugar coat this; they siphon the grassy/hairy butt plug that a bear chokes down before they go into hibernation out of a Kodiak's asshole. The blood comes straight outta Chef Boyardee's soup kitchen, the wings on Batboy either came out of a Hefty box or were made from the discarded wardrobe of a gay biker, and the severed head in a jar's about as convincin' as a Chicago police chief vowin' to clean up the city's crime problem. As for the makeup/facial appliances intended to give the actors the appearance of something monster like, some are worse than others. Boyboy only has the wings and some admittedly decent looking fangs, otherwise, he's only a man with some silly red teats. Honkey Kong looks more like a Neanderthal than an ape, Flo Flo the dog faced girl's really only a chick in KISS make up, Pam the Panther lady Grier just has a tiny bit of facial appliance attached to accentuate her cheek bones so she'll appear more cat like, and some pointy teeth. Pan the goat man prolly looks the best, by which I mean, acceptable, while the other effects are completely phoned in. I especially like how it's only the actors' faces that've been mutated, and the rest of their bodies look completely normal. I guess, to be fair, most of the bite wounds that Pam Grier tears outta people look decent enough, but for the most part, we've got a shit sandwich here. As for the shooting locations, I think the best way to sum it up would be thusly: if they built it, it probably sucks. If it was natural, or built by someone else, it's okay. That's not entirely accurate, the basement set that looks like the one from Planet of the Apes where they've got Chuck Heston and Linda Harrison caged looks alright, but the lab, all the stone walls on the interior, and wherever the heck they had that cast iron hot tub sittin' really blow chunks outta your nose. On the other side of the coin, the exteriors of the compound, the jungle, the ocean, and the old two track leading to Charles Macaulay's pad are pretty good. Now brace yourself, because outside the plot which is entirely borrowed from another movie, *this* is the high point. Oh yeah, sit on that for a couple minutes an let it sink in. The soundtrack is possibly the most disorganized, over used, mismatching series of tunes I think I've ever seen in any movie. I could swear that one track was lifted straight from Danger: Diabolik, which is an Italian spy flick, if that gives you an idea how well it lines up with a remake of The Island of Lost Souls. Then there's this Arabian harem music during the opening credits, some Beatnik music straight out of an opium den, a slightly more modern interpretation of Swing music while they're runnin' through the jungle, and something you might expect to hear on an Iron Maiden album when John Ashley first discovers the motley zoo. It's like a different person composed each track and nobody ever bothered to tell any of 'em what the heck the movie's about, it's a hilarious disaster. Overall, this one does have a certain "so bad it's good" quality that might make it worth checking out with friends, but if you're not into that, just forget about it and watch The Island of Lost Souls or The Island of Dr. Moreau.