Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Twilight People (1972)

A cheesy ripoff of H.G. Wells’ 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, this action/horror flick was wrought by the dubious brain trust of actor/producer Josh Ashley and director Eddie Romero, who made a number of lurid productions together in the Philippines, Romero’s native country. Like their many women-in-prison pictures, The Twilight People burns screen time on travelogue shots featuring people moving through jungles. The picture also bears the Ashley/Romero hallmarks of catfights, torture scenes, underground dungeons, and villains prone to grandiose monologues. In some of their other projects, Ashley and Romero hit the exploitation-movie sweet spot, conjuring just enough vivid sleaze to sustain 90 minutes of lizard-brain interest. Not so here. The Twilight People is episodic, goofy, and slow. Worse, the makeup FX for the story’s animal/human hybrids are pathetic—anyone who can’t deliver on the promise of the opening-credits phrase “Pam Grier as the Panther Woman” has some explaining to do. Ashley, all tight-lipped cynicism and tough-guy posturing, stars as Matt, a diver kidnapped by minions of Dr. Gordon (Charles Macaulay). He’s a loon who wants to help man evolve for life underwater and in outer space, hence the Panther Woman, the Antelope Man, the Bat Man, and so on. Matt was stolen for his ideal combination of intellect and physicality, because Dr. Gordon wants to use Matt’s DNA as an ingredient for his experiments. Matt tries to escape, improbably receiving help from Dr. Gordon’s hot daughter, Neva (Pat Woodell), so before long, the jungle chase begins. The only element of The Twilight People that works is the tension between Matt and Dr. Gordon’s hired gun, repressed homosexual Steinman (Jan Merlin), but it’s hard to take that trope, or anything about The Twilight People, seriously once Romero unleashes unintentionally hilarious shots of the Bat Man “flying” through the jungle.

The Twilight People: LAME


Cindylover1969 said...

Let's be real - John Ashley's most enduring contribution to the arts is the opening narration for The A-Team. This is not an insult, because that show rocks.

Cindylover1969 said...

And as a fan of The Wild Wild West, I have to note the presence of two guest stars from that show - Ashley (again) and Charles Macaulay.