Terror Is a Man (1959)

89 mins | Horror | December 1959

Director:

Gerardo de Leon

Cinematographer:

Emmanuel I. Rojas

Editor:

Gervasio Santos

Production Designer:

Vicente Bonus

Production Company:

Lynn-Romero Productions
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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were Creature from Blood Island , The Gory Creatures , Island of Terror and Blood Creature . Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright. However, a videocassette of the film was copyrighted in 1998 to Hemishpere Entertainment under the number PA903-168. The following written prologue appears before the film's credits: "Warning--The picture you are about to see has a scene so shocking that it is necessary to forewarn you. We suggest that the squeamish and faint-hearted close their eyes at the sound of the bell and reopen them when the bell rings again. The Management."
       The sound of a bell is heard just prior to a close-up shot showing "Dr. Girard" cutting an incision into the "Panther man." The NYT review noted that if the film's topic was not sufficiently frightening to viewers, the startling sound of the bell would suffice. The film was shot in its entirety in Manila, Philippines, according to the onscreen credits. Although Terror Is a Man has some similarities to H. G. Wells's novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau , it was not acknowledged as a source for the ... More Less

Working titles for the film were Creature from Blood Island , The Gory Creatures , Island of Terror and Blood Creature . Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright. However, a videocassette of the film was copyrighted in 1998 to Hemishpere Entertainment under the number PA903-168. The following written prologue appears before the film's credits: "Warning--The picture you are about to see has a scene so shocking that it is necessary to forewarn you. We suggest that the squeamish and faint-hearted close their eyes at the sound of the bell and reopen them when the bell rings again. The Management."
       The sound of a bell is heard just prior to a close-up shot showing "Dr. Girard" cutting an incision into the "Panther man." The NYT review noted that if the film's topic was not sufficiently frightening to viewers, the startling sound of the bell would suffice. The film was shot in its entirety in Manila, Philippines, according to the onscreen credits. Although Terror Is a Man has some similarities to H. G. Wells's novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau , it was not acknowledged as a source for the film. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Dec 1959.
---
Film Daily
14 Dec 59
p. 14.
Filmfacts
1959
p. 158.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Dec 59
p. 525.
New York Times
14 Jul 60
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Sd tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Asst to the prods
Prod coord
Unit mgr
Laboratory tech
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Blood Creature
Creature from Blood Island
Island of Terror
The Gory Creatures
Release Date:
December 1959
Production Date:
1959 at Premier Production Studios, Manila, Philippines
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89
Countries:
Philippines, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After an unexplained explosion destroys the freighter Pedro Queen in the South Pacific, its sole survivor, petroleum engineer William Fitzgerald, washes up on the shores of the small Isla de Sangre, where medical surgeon Charles Girard and his assistant, Walter Pererra, discover him. Girard takes Fitzgerald back to his home where he conducts experiments with the reluctant assistance of his wife Frances and the sadistic Walter. Unknown to Fitzgerald, Girard and Walter found him while out searching for an escaped animal used in Girard’s experiments. After the Girards retire for the evening, the creature stalks a nearby small native village, attacking and killing two people. The next morning the panicked natives flee to a neighboring island, leaving behind only two villagers, Selena and her little brother Tiago, both of whom work for the Girards. The next morning the recovered Fitzgerald explores the small island and comes upon a campfire still smoldering in the deserted village and, nearby, several fresh graves. Later, the engineer runs into Girard and Walter who are completing the camouflaging of an animal trap pit, but the doctor remains evasive regarding details on the creature. Over dinner that evening, Girard admits that the villagers fled the island, but insists it was out of ignorant superstition. After Walter bitterly comments about the need to recapture the animal, a panther, he departs and Girard explains that he and Frances arrived from Manhattan two years earlier to dedicate themselves to his unusual research. Sensing that Frances is uncomfortable with the topic, Fitzgerald inquires how often a supply ship stops at the island and ... +


After an unexplained explosion destroys the freighter Pedro Queen in the South Pacific, its sole survivor, petroleum engineer William Fitzgerald, washes up on the shores of the small Isla de Sangre, where medical surgeon Charles Girard and his assistant, Walter Pererra, discover him. Girard takes Fitzgerald back to his home where he conducts experiments with the reluctant assistance of his wife Frances and the sadistic Walter. Unknown to Fitzgerald, Girard and Walter found him while out searching for an escaped animal used in Girard’s experiments. After the Girards retire for the evening, the creature stalks a nearby small native village, attacking and killing two people. The next morning the panicked natives flee to a neighboring island, leaving behind only two villagers, Selena and her little brother Tiago, both of whom work for the Girards. The next morning the recovered Fitzgerald explores the small island and comes upon a campfire still smoldering in the deserted village and, nearby, several fresh graves. Later, the engineer runs into Girard and Walter who are completing the camouflaging of an animal trap pit, but the doctor remains evasive regarding details on the creature. Over dinner that evening, Girard admits that the villagers fled the island, but insists it was out of ignorant superstition. After Walter bitterly comments about the need to recapture the animal, a panther, he departs and Girard explains that he and Frances arrived from Manhattan two years earlier to dedicate themselves to his unusual research. Sensing that Frances is uncomfortable with the topic, Fitzgerald inquires how often a supply ship stops at the island and discovers it will be another two months until the next visit. After dinner, while Girard and Walter resume their search, Fitzgerald accompanies the restless Frances outside and she admits to being in a continual state of fear. When Fitzgerald observes that it is unusual for so small an island to sustain a panther, Frances uneasily reveals that her husband purchased the animal specifically for his experiments. Frances then confesses her misgivings over her husband’s work and declares that she has decided to leave the island on the next supply ship. Girard returns soon thereafter to report the capture of the panther in the pit. Overcome with curiosity, Fitzgerald sneaks downstairs to Girard’s laboratory to glimpse the animal and is surprised to see a man-sized figure swathed in gauze and strapped to a gurney. The next morning, Fitzgerald discovers Frances alone resting on a small beach and asks her about the graves near the village. Frances relates that the graves contain the bodies of Selena and Tiago’s mother, victim of the panther’s first escape, and the others who were killed during the second escape. Pleading with Fitzgerald to cease his questioning, Frances then reveals her dream to escape the island and travel. When Fitzgerald, attracted by Frances’ melancholy demeanor, attempts to kiss her, she refuses. That night after dinner, a drunken Walter tells Fitzgerald of his loathing of island life and his conviction that Girard is wicked. Still curious, Fitzgerald explores Girard’s library and finds books and notes on transmutation. Girard joins Fitzgerald and acknowledges that he has spent the past twelve years attempting to modify one species from another in an effort to “speed up” evolution. Fitzgerald suggests this is unnatural, but Girard dismisses the notion and invites him to view surgery on the panther creature the next day. On edge from a storm that has hit the island, Frances finds Fitzgerald later and admitting her attraction to him, kisses him. The next morning, before the surgery, Tiago offers Fitzgerald a good-luck necklace, which he accepts. Frances refuses to assist during the operation, which Girard proudly divulges is the fifty-third procedure he has performed on the panther in an effort to turn it into a man. After the day-long surgery, Frances visits the creature and finds Walter, who reveals that he is aware of her plans to leave Girard and her attraction to Fitzgerald. When Walter attempts to force himself on Frances, the creature struggles to break free from its bonds, but Walter subdues it, then viciously beats it after Frances departs. The next afternoon, Selena approaches Fitzgerald in the garden to ask if he would take her and Tiago away when he leaves. Startled, Fitzgerald nevertheless agrees. Later, Girard asks Fitzgerald to describe the creature and the engineer admits that its eyes appear almost human. Back in the lab, Fitzgerald is fascinated by Girard’s attempts to get the animal to communicate, but they are interrupted when Walter’s arrival drives the creature berserk. Girard orders Walter away and gets a hypodermic filled with a sedative, but allows the creature to wreck the operating room. Fitzgerald follows Walter upstairs where the men tell Frances what has occurred. Fearful that Girard is in danger, Frances and the men return below. Although Girard has succeeded in injecting the creature with the sedative, Walter abruptly attacks it with a lighted torch, setting fire to its bandages until Fitzgerald and Frances knock the flailing creature to the floor and extinguish the flames. Upstairs, Walter rejects Girard’s description of the creature as a man and insists it must be destroyed. When Girard returns to the lab to tend to the creature, Walter takes a pistol and follows, threatening to kill the creature and the doctor if he interferes. Just then, the power generator sputters and when the lights go out, the creature kills Walter, then runs upstairs and out of the house. Girard follows and orders Fitzgerald to help him recapture the creature, in spite of the continuing thunderstorm. Unknown to the men, the creature remains near the house and when Selena steps outside to search for Tiago, it strikes her down. Frances sees the creature and screams, but the creature does not attack her but instead carries her off. Attracted by the screams, Girard and Fitzgerald return to the house, to find Selena’s body and Frances missing. The men track the creature throughout the night and near dawn spot it near cliffs over the ocean. The creature sets Frances down as Girard approaches, but in spite of the doctor’s confidence, the creature slashes him, then hurls him over the cliff into the sea. The creature roars threateningly at Fitzgerald and Frances only to turn and go down to the beach where, suffering from burns and surgical wounds, it staggers into the water where Tiago waits with the dinghy in which Fitzgerald arrived. When Fitzgerald and Frances reach the beach, Tiago tells them that the boat is gone. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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