I enjoy science fiction movies that are set in an isolated environment, such as an Arctic outpost, because the confined location forces writers and directors and actors to be creative. Here are my favorite science fiction films that take place on an island.
1. Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) – A scientific expedition goes to a remote Pacific island to find out what happened to a previous expedition. Giant crabs, but with the twist that when they eat someone they absorb their intelligence. A low-budget but surprisingly effective movie.
2. King Kong (1933) – The original 1933 version is the best. You know the story of course. The special effects by Willis O’Brien were absolutely brilliant for the time in which the movie was made.
3. Island of Terror (1966) – Genetic experiments on a remote British island. What could go wrong? Giant man-eating amoebas based on silicon, that’s what could go wrong. The great actor Peter Cushing starred.
4. No Escape (1994) – In the year 2022, the penal system is run by corporations. Unjustly imprisoned ex-Marine John Robbins (played by Ray Liotta) ends up on a island for the most dangerous inmates. Lots of action.
5. Dagon (2001) – Businessman Paul Marsh, his girlfriend, and two other friend are shipwrecked on Imboca, a remote island off the coast of Spain. The islanders worship Dagon, who demands human sacrifices. The clever (but not-so-happy) ending surprised me.
6. Grabbers (2012) – The inhabitants of a small island off the coast of Ireland is attacked by bloodsucking tentacled aliens. This movie didn’t get very good reviews but I enjoyed it.
7. Mysterious Island (1961) – This movie is based on the novel of the same name by Jules Verne. There have been many adaptations, but this one with special effects by Ray Harryhausen is my favorite.
8. The Killer Shrews (1959) – A scientist is performing experiments on a remote island, but unintentionally creates dog-sized shrews. I loved how the people on the isalnd get inside big cans, rope them together as sort of a homemade walking tank, so they can creep down to their boat.
9. Island of Lost Souls (1932) – The brilliant actor Charles Laughton plays a mad scientist who experiments with human and animals. I liked the panther woman and won’t ever forget The House of Pain.
10. The Island (2005) – In a dystopian near future, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta (Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson) are selected to go to an island where everything is better. Except for the organ harvesting.
11. Voodoo Island (1957) – The island in question has three, count ’em three, different kinds of man-eating plants. Boris Karloff starred and I think this is one of his best performances.
12. Matango (1963) – A group of castaways on an island who are unwittingly altered by a local species of mutating mushrooms. Japanese film directed by the great Ishiro Honda who also directed Godzilla and many other films.
13. From Hell It Came (1957) – This is the best film ever that features an evil walking tree on a South Pacific Island. Well, OK, it’s the only such film. Realistically this is a pretty bad movie but it has a certain charm.
14. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) – Starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson. This is sort-of a sequel to “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008). A group of characters look for a boy’s lost grandfather on an island that turns out to be Atlantis.