Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


DOC SAVAGE: SKULL ISLAND. Will Murray. Altus Press; 2013.

In a brand-new Doc Savage adventure, King Kong has already attacked New York and fallen from the Empire State building when the novel begins. The 1930's pulp magazine hero tells his comrades about how he met Kong some years before in 1920, when he accompanied his stern father on a search of the Indian Ocean for Doc's grandfather, sailor Stormalong Savage. Grandpappy has been marooned on Skull Mountain Island and the pet of the big ape-like creature for many years. In addition to staying out of the way of Kong and dodging all manner of hungry dinosaurs, Doc and his family members have to deal with murderous attacks by a band of head-hunting dyaks with poisonous blowguns. Skull Island has some exciting and intriguing moments, but it's not as memorable as the classic Doc- Savage-meets-Dinosaurs novel The Land of Terror. The attempts to sort of humanize a completely unreal character, Doc, are admirable but don't really work, Doc's father comes off like a major asshole, and there's far too much of those annoying Dayaks, until the book simply runs out of steam. An unintentionally hilarious moment occurs when Savage Sr. tells Clark that he was hoping to "cleanse" him of war [the book takes place post-WW1] when Doc is hacking and hewing at and disemboweling and beheading dyaks right and left! This is one of a new series of "wild" adventures of Doc published by Altus Press. NOTE: There was one film based on Doc Savage made back in 1975 and a new one is now in pre-production.

Verdict: For Kong and Doc Savage completists. **1/2. 

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