Attack of the Beast Creatures is a B-movie full of schlock that follows a group of ocean-stranded survivors arriving at a remote island that is inhabited by monstrous doll-like creatures who are hungry for human blood. Agfa delivers a new 1080p HD transfer that looks the best it ever has, along with a DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix that sounds decent. There are some new and vintage extras as well. Recommended!
In the early '80s, directors Michael Stanley and writer Robert Hutton must have loved the 1975 film Trilogy of Terror, where an ancient tribal doll came alive and terrorized a woman in her high-rise apartment. In 1983, they inadvertently made a prequel film titled Attack of the Beast Creatures that falls in line with Speed and Speed 2: Cruise Control, by putting that situation on a cruise ship. This schlocky, low-budget thriller is charmingly fun in the only way a B-movie can be as survivors of a sinking cruise liner end up on an island full of doll creatures with sharp teeth whose only goal in life is to eat humans.
Now in the early to mid-'80s, small creature features were all the rage. With films like Critters, Ghoulies, Munchies, and Gremlins - it seemed like a great fit for a movie like Attack of the Beast Creatures. The trouble was that this production had almost no money. There were no real actors in the film or set pieces, although the film had access to some woods in Connecticut that replaced an actual deserted island. With no budget and no real screenplay, most of the film plays out like the slow moments of Lord of the Rings - a ton of walking, setting up camp, and waiting for little monsters to attack. And due to budget restraints, these attacks don't happen often, but when they do, it's a bloody good time.
Attack of the Beast Creatures or known to some as Hell Island is still fun almost forty years later. It's genuinely trying to be something bigger than it had the money to do but is very aware of its small wheelhouse. It's difficult to not see the many similarities to all the movies mentioned above, however, this B-Movie has a ton of heart and is an ode to guerilla and independent filmmaking. Plus, it's always a great time when hungry puppets attack an alternate version of the cast of Gilligan's Island. And with its 80-minute runtime, it gets the job done quickly.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Attack of the Beast Creatures hunts its way to Blu-ray from AGFA and Vinegar Syndrome. The disc is housed inside a hard, clear plastic case. There is no cardboard sleeve with this release. The artwork is reversible. One side has new artwork that features a great-looking illustration of the two main characters on a cliffside with a monster looming in the sky. The reverse side is the original theatrical poster. There is no insert for a digital code.
Attack of the Beast Creatures comes with a new 1080p HD transfer from AGFA. This is a complete restoration from the original theatrical version of the movie from the 16mm camera negative, meaning this is the best the movie has ever looked thus far. The color palette is richer and more stable. The blue skies, green leaves in the forest, and brown tree trunks and dirt look fantastic now. The reddish-orange dolls look better than ever before and the blood-red coloring of the gore is bright and shiny. Black levels are deeper and skin tones are more natural this time around. The detail provides ample textures in the puppet and close-ups reveal wounds, practical effects, facial stubble, and makeup blemishes more clearly. There is still a heavy layer of film grain, but it keeps the picture looking filmic without a whole lot of issues. There are still warps, scratches, and damage, but that's all part of the B-Movie process.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track that sounds decent enough given the source and low budget. The sound effects come through nicely with some good ambient noises of the forest and angry creatures. The score keeps pace with its synth notes. The dialogue is clean and clear for the most part, but due to the small budget and source material, some of the lines of dialogue can be jumbled and some of the bigger sound elements can be tin-canny. Still, it's a solid-sounding audio presentation.
There are about 29 minutes of bonus material included here that has new interviews with the creative duo and some vintage test footage. There is also a partial audio commentary track.
Attack of the Beast Creatures is still a fun and entertaining movie some four decades later. Its schlocky pace, bad acting, and goofy monsters are all part of the charm, and is still a great time to watch with friends late at night. Agfa turns in a great 180p HD video image and a decent DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix. The bonus features are worth the time as well. Recommended!