Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island reminds us that when trouble comes, you really don't want to be stuck on a rock in the middle of the sea. His is hardly the first island to pose such a danger, however, nor the most frightening. From the earliest days of cinema, filmmakers have warned us to stay away from those little dots on the map. Here are 10 island getaways you most definitely want to cross off your vacation list.
10. Little Tall Island
From: Stephen King's Storm of the Century
Putting aside the periodic deadly blizzards and appearances by infernal forces out to steal the local children, this place seethes with the sort of backbiting, small town hatefulness at which Stephen King stories excel. Everyone on Little Tall talks a lot about sticking together, but when the chips are down, they turn on each other like a troop of screeching howler monkeys. Save yourself the headache and just take a trip to Pismo Beach instead.
9. Ship-Trap Island
From: The Most Dangerous Game
The owner of this quaint little tropical paradise has a standing policy: tourists provide the entertainment. And juggling or doing impressions just won't cut it. He's more interested in setting you loose in the jungle, then hunting you down and shooting you like a rabid mongrel. The good news is you won't be around for the "stuffing and mounting" stage of the proceedings. The bad news is that your luggage is all going straight up on eBay regardless.
8. Manhattan Island
From: Escape From New York
Not even the President of the United States is sufficiently bad-ass to handle a tour of New York once it becomes "the one maximum security prison for the entire country." Warring street gangs, cannibals in the sewers, cab drivers with a fixation on American Bandstand and the worst musical number this side of Nine… it's enough to make you beg for a couple of timed explosives planted in your neck.
From: Zombie II
Forget for the moment that you're stuck in an Italian horror film--analogous to the Ninth Circle of Hell straight off the bat,but this particular model features an island where the dead rise from the grave. Take note of the impromptu ocular surgery class and cross it off your to-do list. And swimming? Forget it. The sharks eat anything that comes within chomping range regardless of whether it's dead or not.
6. The Island of Dr. Moreau
From: Uh, really?
When they say the head waitress is a pussycat, they really mean it.And while you may have official lawgiver status on your side, it means very little when the natives decide to stick it to the man once and for all. Plus, you get to watch Marlon Brando eat. Try to keep your gorge from rising unduly.
5. Isla Nublar
From: Jurassic Park
Granted, it may be worth the risk just to watch the T-rexes chow down on lawyer tartar, but the natives and their razor-sharp fangs aren't apt to stop there. Add to that the frequent computer meltdowns, dodgy accommodations and a truly ghastly introductory video, and your best bet is to strap yourself to the chopper and refuse to get out.
4. The Island
The unnamed island on Lostcan stick it to you no matter when you arrive. Dharma Initiative flunkies tend to shoot first and ask questions later, while unexploded hydrogen bombs don't exactly make for enticing décor. The fences cause fatal hemorrhages, there's a hatch with a button that could destroy the whole world, and the crazy French chick running around in the jungle is apt to put a bullet in your head just to see if the gun works. Oh, and did I mention Ben Linus? Yeah, let's join his little luau for awhile; what's the worst that could happen?
From: The Wicker Man
If the island consists entirely of women, relax. You're in the crappy remake rather than the terrifying original. Just buy a jar of honey and casually enquire if you can borrow a rowboat home. If, on the other hand, the locals are teaching their children age-inappropriate anatomy lessons, animal masks are being passed out with relish, and Christopher Lee keeps giving you with that disturbingly hungry look the way he does, then you're in the original film. Head straight to the nearest beach and start swimming. Don't eat the chocolate, ignore the pleas for help from the little girls and make mad, passionate love to someone--anyone--before you arrive. Trust us, it's for the best.
2. Skull Island
From: King Kong
The horrifying racial stereotypes waiting for you at the front desk are basically a giant red warning sign to turn around. Fay Wray can visit when she likes; the guy in charge is sweet on her and seems to have her best interests at heart. The rest of us basically get to decide which monster we'd most like to get eaten by. There's no shortage to choose from, and if the 50-foot maitre d' doesn't like your looks, he's apt to skip the meal entirely and just chuck you right off your log.
From: The Call of Cthulhu
How much more can you say about an island whose existence heralds the end of the world? Thankfully, R'lyeh lies deep beneath the waves, in a remote part of the South Pacific thousands of miles from land. But while it definitely redefines the term "getting away from it all," it declines to mention where it takes you to in the process. Built by strange beings from between the stars while man was still fermenting in the primordial soup, its non-Euclidean geometry means that even the wall decorations are enough to drive you mad. As for its best-known resident--an immortal cephalopod with a penchant for stargazing--getting him out of bed early is apt to end in tears and hurt feelings for… well, everybody.
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