The Twilight People
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On Blu-Ray and DVD
Matt Farrell (John Ashley) is plucked from the sea while skin-diving and taken to the foreboding fortress of Dr. Gordon. He is to become part of the doctor's diabolical experiment to create a race of super people.
This twisted and maniacal doctor's experiments have so far only created terrifying and hideous creatures.
His human guinea pigs, freed by the doctor's own daughter, turn the island hideaway into a bloodbath of revenge and terror! Cult Film Queen Pam Grier is featured as ''Panther Woman''.
''Basically a retread of HG Wells ''The Island of Dr Moreau,'' ...It does have some good special effects and excellent make-up... ...mistakes include human beings crossed with Apes, Bats and even a Panther. The Panther is a non-speaking role for Pam Grier which involves her savaging everyone in sight and showing the butt kicking prowess that was to make her a success in future films.''
John White --10K Bullets
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I remember when I was little (80s) I saw a movie that had a guy that was part bat and flew around with bay wings but it wasn't Batman, finally this is it . This is what I remember.
One of those movies was TWILIGHT PEOPLE. I can remember the first time I saw this movie. It was the opening film at the drive-in nearby that showed before the main feature THE DEVIL’S RAIN back in 1975. For some reason I either didn’t have my license yet or a car and my friend, his mom and his aunt and I all went to see these two. I remember thinking it wasn’t a bad movie. Since then I’ve had the chance to watch it, more often than not on some obscure Roku channel and not in the best shape. So when I heard VCI was going to release the film on blu-ray I was excited to hear it.
Heavy duty plots were never the greatest in these films. This time around adventurer Matt Farrell (Ashley) is taken captive on the high seas by a group of henchmen led by Steinman (Jan Merlin), a pure blooded Nazi Aryan if there ever was one. In charge of kidnapping is Neva Gordon (Pat Woodell).
Farrell is taken to a remote island in the Pacific where Steinman and Gordon march him to a castle while a watchful unseen presence keeps an eye on them from the jungle. Farrell is now the “guest” of mad scientist Dr. Gordon (Charles Macaulay), the father of Neva. He has plans for Farrell which can’t be good but he doesn’t provide details, merely talking about how he will make history and that he is the perfect specimen. Steinman would rather Farrell attempt an escape so he could hunt him down, his favorite past time.
Farrell begins to investigate what’s happening on the island and soon discovers that Dr. Gordon is creating a new species of man, a hybrid crossing various animals with human beings. An equal opportunist Dr. Gordon has transformed men and women both. On a side note and of particular interest is the fact that Ayesa the Panther Woman is played by none other than Pam Grier who later went on to fame in a number of higher profile films as well as several Blaxploitation films.
It doesn’t take long for Neva to fall in love with Farrell and attempt to stop her father from his plans to use him in his experiments. She drugs Steinman, releases Farrell from the cage he was placed in as well as the other hybrids and they head out to escape. When Steinman wakes he’s glad for the opportunity he wanted all along, to track down and kill a worthy opponent.
Made in 1972 the movie didn’t have access to the CGI created monsters it would have had today. Instead it relies on practical effects and full on special effects make-up for each creature. Doing so on a miniscule budget you would think the end results would reek but in fact they’re actually pretty good. Some are better than others. The standout is that of the bat-man hybrid, a full grown man with wings attached between his arms and body. He’s shown flying towards the end of the film and it actually looks fairly decent.
As I said before the script was never the biggest item worked on with these films. That being said they don’t fall over the Ed Wood cliff and at least sound like conversations real people might actually have. Ashley does a fine job here though most of his role is to simply play the part of a handsome hero. Woodell is attractive and makes her part believable as well. And Merlin as Steinman is particularly villainous as he threatens Ashley.
The movie was made for just $150,000 and there is little doubt that it made its cost back and more. It played on double and triple bills at drive-ins for years. The fact I saw it my first time three years after it was released shows that. But the film really doesn’t have as low budget a feel about it as you would expect. Yes it’s a bit cheezy at times but it’s a fun movie as well.
VCI has released the film before but this is the first time I’ve seen it released in blu-ray format. They’re known for these forgotten treasures of the past and they’ve done well with this one. The picture is the cleanest I’ve seen and the sound well maintained. This version has been remastered to a 2K version from the original 35mm negative in widescreen. They’re including several nice extras as well here with a full commentary track with film historian Toby Roan, a near hour long interview with director Eddie Romero and the original theatrical trailer.
This is not the cream of the crop in horror movies but it never claims to be. What it does claim to be is a nice little horror film, a PG rated romp with a little bit of blood and a lot of ingenuity. For me after all these years I found it to still be an entertaining movie that I know I’ll probably go back and watch again. Leave your expectations at the door and my guess is you’ll have fun with it as well.