In 1920 a lifeboat containing nine passengers is washed up on an island in the North Atlantic. John (Robert Nolfi), Cathy (Julia Rust), Case Quinn (Robert Lengyel), Diane (Lisa Pak), Phillip (Frank Murgalo), Mr. Morgan (John Vichiola), Mrs. Gordon (Kay Bailey), Pat (Frans Kal) and Mr. Bruin (Robert T. Firgelewshi) venture on shore. Bruin has been injured and is taken ashore by four of the men. Making sure he is comfortable, the rest of the castaways venture inland looking for water and food.
Philip finds some edible berries. He and Mrs. Gordon begin picking. Pat ventures further on and sees a pool of water. He reaches in and splashes some on his face. His hands and face disintegrate and he lets out a bloodcurdling scream. The entire pool is acid. He falls, face first into the pool. While John, Case and Morgan bury Pat, the women and Phillip pick berries. When reaching into the underbrush to pick a berry something bites Mrs. Gordon. She has no idea what it was.
Case and John head back to the beach to salvage the survival kit from the lifeboat. When they get there they find that Mr. Bruin has been reduced to a skeleton. The guys have no idea what is going on. What could have happened that would reduce a full grown man to a skeleton in such a short time? The island that was to be their salvation is turning out to be a death trap.
That night they light a fire and take turns keeping guard. John and Case let Morgan know about Mr. Bruin but they keep it from the women. While Diane is keeping watch she sees a pair of glowing spots in darkness. Then there are three pairs, then six. Now they are all around. That is when they attack.
“Attack of the Beast Creatures” AKA “Hell Island” AKA “Beast Creatures” was released in 1985 and was directed by Michael Stanley. It is an American independent home grown horror film made in Stamford, Connecticut. The film was completed in 1983 but remained on the shelf until 1985 when Joseph Brenner, a specialist in producing independent films and foreign films, produced it. Brenner released it on VHS. It was also released in West Germany under the “Hell Island” and “Beast Creatures” titles. It then fell off the planet. At least until 2006 when it was released on DVD. As far as I know it is no longer available and copies are scarce.
The scene where Pat has his face eaten away by acid is actually pretty decent. The special effect was done by attaching cotton to the actor's face with spirit glue, and layering it with liquid latex and fake blood. Simple but effective.
The beast creatures are, of course, puppets. They look an awful lot like the Zuni fetish doll in “Trilogy of Terror” 1975 except they are not as ripped and look like they were made of stuffed felt. Still, if one of those could mess up Karen Black, imagine what a whole tribe can do. At times they are actually a little frightening but at others they are silly. When they’re hiding in the bushes just watching there is eeriness to them as there is with any doll that stares at you, but when they’re stuck on people like Velcro they are slightly hilarious.
Most of the dialogue is platitudes upon platitudes. They’re on an island with acid pools and tiny creatures that eat humans but everything is going to be all right and we’ll find a way out of this so don’t worry and think of something nice. Even when they’re being chewed to death by puppet dolls they keep their hopes up.
Frans Kal, who plays Pat, and Robert Firgelewski, who plays Mr. Bruin are also the sound department. Firgelewski was also the special effects guy. The film is a home grown adventure so the actors are not professional and not real good either, but that adds to the camp factor.