original title: 5 Barribole Per La Luna D’Agosto
aka: Island of Terror
Director: Mario Bava
Starring: William Berger, Ira von Fürstenberg, Maurice Poli, Edwige Fenech, Howard Ross
A group of rich and successful couples are having a holiday out on a funky house on an island. One of them reveals that he has developed a secret formula that is bound to make him a shitload of money. After everyone knows of this, people end up missing and found dead one by one. Who can be trusted and who is the murderer and how can they escape from the island?
Five Dolls for An August Moon was a project that Mario Bava has hired to do in the very last minute. He didn’t get to change the script and didn’t care much for the movie. It’s easy to understand why, the plot is very Agatha Christie influenced but the characters are all very bland. The girls are some of the most beautiful that you will get in a Bava movie including the absolutely gorgeous Edwige Fenech
So instead of going for a common mystery thriller, Bava instead made this into a funky and funny black comedy. Even if he didn’t put his heart into it, the playfulness of the movie makes it work. The best part is that the dead bodies get hung up in the freezer, almost displaying that the characters are only meat with only purpose of being killed off. The murders however aren’t graphic and quite tame. Another display of the playfulness in the movie is the constant scenes where the beautiful girls are close to showing off some skin and it instead does something to prevent it, even having a scene where one of them wakes up after sleeping topless, gets ready to stand up, but rather goes back to sleep.
The movie does sport an impressive cast. You got, as mentioned, the goddess Edwige Fenech (All The Colors of the Dark, Strip Nude for Your Killer), Howard Ross (Gunman Called Nebraska, New York Ripper), Maurice Poli (Lady Dynamite, Rabid Dogs), William Berger (Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun, Devil Fish) and Teodoro Corra (Django The Bastard, Crime Bross). All experienced actors with a few other less experienced, but also good actors. It’s too bad that the script here didn’t allow for more well… acting here and in another setting with Bava behind the camera they could all have been a part of a much better film.
Five Dolls for An August Moon is an effortless movie by Bava, which actually do work since it produces a movie where it seems like he actually makes fun of the plot and in turn makes it fun for the viewer. It’s not one of his best movies but it is still a fun watch sprinkled with some of the most lovely girls Italy had to offer.