“The Twilight People”
“Animal Desires… Human Lust”
Top hunter and explorer Matt Farrell (John Ashley) is kidnapped whilst skin-diving and taken under duress to a remote island. Once at the island he notices strange creatures in the jungle and is introduced to Dr Gordon (Charles Macaulay) and his beautiful daughter (Pat Woodell). Gordon tells him that he wants to use him in his experiments to produce super beings.
Unsurprisingly Farrell manages to escape and while on the loose Farrell comes across Gordon carrying out an experiment which involves removing a live brain. Farrell convinces Gordon’s daughter to escape with him. They free the results of Gordon’s experiments – an Ape-man, a panther woman and a man crossed with a bat. This is the basic plot. It is a very obvious retelling of H.G. Wells “The Island of Dr Moreau” filmed in the Philippines by Eddie Romero. It does have some good special effects and excellent make-up. The panther is a non-speaking role for Pam Grier which involves her ravaging everyone in sight and showing her strength that was to make her a success in future films.
There are some interesting subplots: the Ape man gets a little too interested in Gordon’s daughter, and the head henchman is explicitly driven by his own repressed homosexuality. Ashley is quite the hunk and sympathetic to boot and in the end we root for him. The movie is fun and not meant to be taken too seriously.
There is great scenery and underwater photography however the musical score is overly dramatic and the attack scenes that are very dark. The plot, by and large, takes place in nature. It is highly immersive. It’s not the story that wins us over but the beautiful backdrops. Since the film is just over 80 minutes long and it is a fun way to waste time.
Bonus materials include:
- Full commentary by film historian, Toby Roan
- Video Interview with the director, Eddie Romero
- Original Theatrical Trailer