Friday, March 22, 2019

Pagan Island

Pagan Island
Barry Mahon

William Stanton (Eddie Dew) is a castaway rescued from a lifeboat that also contains a dead body. He recounts his tale of surviving a sinking ship and then washing up on an island populated only by women. There he saves the tribe from invaders and falls in love with Nani Maka (Nani Maka) who just happens to be next up as a sacrifice to the island’s local deity. William comes up with a plan that involves him joining Nani as a sacrifice and which in no way could possibly get her killed and have her end up as the corpse in the boat with him, right?

He's the worst tree climber on the island.
Although the women were cast by Bunny Yeager of Betty Page fame, most don't look like they live on a jungle island. With their mix of light skin and European accents, I kept waiting for an explanation they were the survivors of another accident a la The Horrors of Spider Island (1960). Alas, that seems to be too much effort on the part of Pagan Island. Eddie is just as wooden as his co-stars, his primary function appears to be not wearing a shirt and tricking girls into kissing him. He performs these duties well enough, but there is nothing particularly engaging about him.

So why are we here? It isn’t the scenery, although Florida makes a fine location for simulating a remote jungle island, we really don’t see much more than a beach and a couple of huts. Is it some violent jungle action? Nope. The only real action scene comes with an overtone of racism as our brave hero guns down a boat full of dark-skinned raiders from the comfort of the beach. Nominally I suppose it’s for the partial nudity, but you really have to be keeping your eye out for the occasional nipple on display. There’s nothing really more lurid here than a few half-glimpsed boobs and some chaste kissing. Maybe it’s the dancing… ugh no, if b-movies from the 1950s and 60s have one major irritation for me it’s padding out the run-time with dance numbers. Pagan Island does have some half-hearted dancing but it’s thankfully brief.

The main reason to watch Pagan Island is this guy, The Angry Sea God:

"No really, I'm furious right now."
I like a god whose name tells me right up front what his deal is. Zeus? What does he want? Is he going to try and wrestle Hulk Hogan or something? Angry Sea God? Yup, I know exactly where this is going. He looks great like he’d belong equally well in an extremely cheap jungle movie or on the set of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Sure he’s an immobile statue, but honestly, that puts him on par with virtually every actor in the film.

If you see only one movie that is under an hour long and features a great statue in a mediocre movie, make it Pagan Island.

The Day All the Shirts Vanished.

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