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Copyright 1966 Planet Film Productions
Reviewed by Bill Hiers on 10 December 2006

The Characters:  

  • Dr. David West - Brilliant and dashing young doctor called in after the discovery of a boneless corpse on remote Petrie's Island.
  • Dr. Brian Stanley - Peter Cushing! David's colleague, the most renowned pathologist in Great Britain, or so we are told. Gets his hand chopped off with an axe.
  • Dr. Reginald Landers - The kindly village doctor on the island who comes to Brian and David for help. Finds out the hard way just how difficult the Silicates are to kill.
  • Toni Merrill - David's rich girlfriend who only comes along on the adventure because she lets him and his colleagues use Daddy's helicopter.
  • Roger Campbell - The head of the island. Seems slow, but is actually pretty bright.
  • Peter Arygle - Store owner who seems to serve as Campbell's unofficial second-in-command of sorts.
  • Constable John Harris - The village policeman. Done in by a tentacle that grabs him by the neck.
  • Ian Bellows - Farmer who goes missing and turns up dead with all his bones sucked out.
  • Halsey, Dunley, and Morton - Three of the villagers, Campbell's "good men." Halsey is the resident coward and dies a slurpy death close to the end.
  • Dr. Lawrence Phillips - The careless doctor who created the Silicates accidentally. Killed by his own creations. Oh, the irony.
  • Silicates - Creeping little green things with tentacles that live by sucking out people's skeletons. Killed by eating cow bones contaminated with radiation.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Petrie's Island is a remote island off the Irish coast, which has no phones, one police officer, a boat that only delivers supplies once a week, and a wonky generator supplying all the electricity. When farmer Ian Bellows turns up missing, after disappearing into a cave to investigate a strange, electronic echoing sound, his wife asks Constable John Harris to look for him. Harris finds him inside the cave, his body curiously soft and mushy. Dr. Reginald Landers concludes that, somehow, Ian has had his skeleton removed, leaving behind naught but a squishy corpse!

Unable to determine what happened to the dead man's skeleton, Reginald journeys to the mainland to consult with pathologist Brian Stanley, who teaches at "the university" in London. Brilliant though he is, even Brian cannot even begin to conceive of a disease that completely dissolves human bones. So off the two go to see Dr. David West. David, you see, is a hotshot young doctor into fast cars and fast women, and just so happens to be the most knowledgeable man on bones and bone diseases on Earth, naturally. In fact, David is in the middle of gettin' busy with his girlfriend (and former patient) Toni Merrill, when Brian and Reginald arrive on his doorstep. Despite the intrusion, David becomes intrigued by the problem and agrees to return to Petrie's Island with them. Toni cons her way into the party by offering the use of her rich father's private helicopter.

Once at the island, the helicopter is forced to return to the mainland due to Toni's father needing it at the last minute, leaving the foursome effectively stranded until the 'copter can return. Investigation reveals that reclusive cancer doctor, Lawrence Phillips, has a secluded mansion laboratory on the island. Paying a visit to the mansion, however, reveals Phillips and his colleagues are just as dead and boneless as Ian Bellows. Reasoning that whatever it is must have begun in that mansion, David, Brian and Reginald gather up Phillips' notes to study them. From them, they learn that, in his quest to cure cancer, Phillips might have accidentally created a new lifeform from the silicon atom.

Meanwhile, thinking the doctors are still at the mansion, Constable Harris bikes up there to inform them of the discovery of a dead, boneless horse, only to wander into the lab's "Test Animals" room and get killed by an offscreen tentacled creature, the result of Dr. Phillips' experiments. These creatures are squat, green things vaguely resembling starfish with one long tentacle each, which they use to inject a bone-dissolving enzyme into their victims. Worse, they are nigh impossible to kill, as poor Reginald discovers when our heroes return to the mansion and he tries to kill one with an axe; Reginald promptly exits the movie. The creatures also reproduce by fission, but luckily they are inert for a brief period after dividing, which allows David, Toni and Brian to make a hasty getaway.

After learning all they can from Dr. Phillips' notes, David and Brian opt to inform the islanders about the situation. Here we meet Roger Campbell and Peter Argyle, an older farmer and the owner of the village market respectively, whom the townspeople look to as their leaders. Despite appearing slow at first, the pair are quick to believe everything that the visiting doctors tell them (a little too quickly, in fact), and offer their assistance in helping them destroy the monsters, which David and Brian eventually dub "Silicates." Campbell and his men attack the Silicates with everything they've got, but the creatures are amazingly tough: bullets, molotov cocktails, and dynamite all fail to even hurt them. But hope is restored when a dead Silicate is found, and it turns out that the unfortunate monster died as a result of eating the bones of a dog from Dr. Phillips' laboratory, which were contaminated with Strontium 90, an isotope which settles in bone matter.

Now, David hatches himself a hare-brained scheme to destroy the bone-sucking beasties once and for all. After instructing Campbell and Argyle to sequester all the cows on the island in Campbell's cattle yard, he and Brian return to the mansion and get some more Strontium 90 from Phillips' lab. To do so, they must don very silly-looking radiation suits, and after a lengthy and suspenseful sequence of them carefully handling the radioactive materials, they are successful and make ready to depart the creepy manor for good. Unfortunately, on their way out, Brian gets attacked by a lone Silicate whose tentacle grabs him by the wrist. Grabbing the axe, David is forced to amputate his friend's hand in order to save his life. Although Brian survives, he spends the remainder of the movie confined to the local clinic.

Using a strange silvery injector gun thingy, David contaminates all the cows in Campbell's cattle yard. Toni and the rest of the monster fodder are holed up in the town meeting hall until the crisis blows over, while David, Campbell and Argyle keep watch on the cattle. They do not have to wait long: the Silicates very swiftly appear and gobble up all the cow bones, then come after the three humans who hurriedly retreat to the meeting hall. There's just one problem. The Silicates divide AFTER eating the cows, which means the power and the effect of the Strontium 90 is cut in half, and will take that much longer to kill them. David, Toni, and the islanders have a siege ahead of them. They must hold out long enough for the isotope to kick in...

Although low-budget, this is an excellent and often cliche-defying little horror movie in which the characters are not only mostly likable, but also behave competently and avoid looking stupid. The monsters end up being killed in a believable and scientifically-accurate fashion as well. The Silicates themselves work better as an unseen menace, though, and the movie sort of falls apart when the downright silly-looking creatures first put in an appearance. Luckily, as goofy as they look, they remain a credible threat due to their indestructibility, their breakneck reproduction rate (these critters multiply faster than rabbits on Viagra!), and, above all else, their unique and downright nasty way of killing their victims. Due to the budget, all the deaths happen offscreen, but the boneless corpses we do see are pretty icky. This movie needs a Stateside DVD release, stat.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Having your skeleton sucked out is not a pleasant way to die.
  • Japan does not count as an island.
  • Radioactive cows can solve any and all monster problems.
  • All researchers are reclusive, anti-social dickwads.
  • Radiation suits are made of clear plastic and resemble body-length condoms.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 12 mins - He thinks it's a deadly new disease, and yet he does not wash his hands after handling the corpse?
  • 37 mins - It was green, you bimbo, not grey.
  • 53 mins - David and Brian cannot hit the broad side of a barn.
  • 55 mins - Kamikaze Silicate!
  • 73 mins - Beef: It's what's for dinner.
  • 76 mins - Nobody barricaded the windows?
  • 82 mins - Meanwhile, in Tokyo...


  • Harris: "I can't be sure, but I think it's Ian Bellows."
    Reginald: "You think it's Ian? What's happened to him?"
    Harris: "I don't know. His body's all like, like jelly."
    Reginald: "Jelly?"
    Harris: "Aye! And there was no face. Just a horrible mush, with the eyes sittin' in it."
  • David: "I may not get places as fast as a Maserati."
    Toni: "But you do get there eventually?"
    David: "Eventually."
    Toni: "When?"
    David: "I'll let you know."
    Toni: "Careful, you might run out of petrol on the last lap."
  • Brian: "What the devil did Napoleon do on that island of his to keep himself busy?"
    David: "He invented solitaire."
    Toni: "I have a much better game in mind."
    Brian: "Can three play?"
  • Dr. West: "No bones?"
    Dr. Landers: "No bones."
    Dr. West: "Well, any outward signs - contusions, lacerations?"
    Dr. Landers: "Not a trace."
    Dr. Stanley: "That's why they're tossing into your lap; you're the young genius."
  • David: "Toni, you stay in the car."
    Toni: "I am not staying here with all those things running around!"
    Brian: "Oh, let her come. I wouldn't want to stay out here alone, either. It's too damn creepy."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note islandterror1.wav A silicate eating supper.
Green Music Note islandterror2.wav Harris: "I think it's Ian Bellows."
Reginald: "You think it's Ian? What's happened to him?"
Harris: "I don't know. His body's all like, like jelly."
Reginald: "Jelly?"
Green Music Note islandterror3.wav Dr. Landers: "If it did start here, it might be moving down the peninsula towards the village."
Dr. West: "Well, from the look of this place, they were either fighting something or the death throes were pretty violent."
Green Music Note islandterror4.wav Dr. West: "Listen to me! They're inactive now, because they divided, but we don't know for how long and we can't stay here! So come on!"
Toni: "Oh, David, I'm so frightened."
Dr. West: "So am I!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipislandterror1.mpg - 2.6m
Dr. Landers goes on the offensive against a silicate, but he hesitates for too long when the first strike fails to penetrate the creature's outer shell.

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