Isle of the Dead
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Inspired by Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin's famous painting, this seminal horror film marked the first of three collaborations between RKO producer Val Lewton and British genre star Boris Karloff. Set during the 1912 Balkan Wars, Isle of the Death featured Karloff as Greek general Pherides who, along with an American journalist (Marc Cramer), visits the gravesite of his late wife on a deserted island. They find the grave desecrated and a group of travelers held hostage by the superstitious beliefs of Kyra (Helene Thimig). One by one, the inhabitants of the island are felled by what Dr.… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's better handled and directed than most though thriller fans will still find its lack of action a drag."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"quite bad"
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Its poetical finale comes a little too late to save it from its general dullness."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Full of expertly handled shocks."
‑ , Film4
"The film comes magnificently alive with the burial sequence, and with the zombie-like, white-robed woman roaming through shadowy galleries and shuttered rooms."
‑ , Time Out
"Mark Robson's direction here reduces a country's political/spiritual unrest to pronouncements by pinned-down actors about "uneasy conscience" and "fool's courage""
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"One of the few truly scary films of the 1940s."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"One of the better post-Tourneur Lewton films"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"[Proves] that even at their flimsiest, there's still no such thing as a worthless Val Lewton horror picture."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Claustrophobic and nightmarishly atmospheric."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Zombies and Karloff...chills and thrills."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
""memorably moody""
‑ James Sanford, Kalamazoo Gazette
More reviews for Isle of the Dead on Rotten Tomatoes