Isle of the Dead is a slow conversation piece about plagues and vampires on an eerie Greek island. It’s better handled and directed than most though thriller fans will still find its lack of action a drag. Even Boris Karloff fans will note the tired way he rambles through it all.
Yarn is a psychological drama of an assorted group of people gathered on the island, when a plague breaks out and death takes one of them. A doctor is sure only a south wind can blow away the plague; a superstitious native is as positive that one of the guests is a vampire, carrying the plague’s spirit within her. A couple of murders help to decimate the group until only a couple are left when the plague runs its course.
Karloff, as a Greek general trying to keep the plague from reaching his troops, is more paternal than menacing. Ellen Drew lends poignancy as a misunderstood nurse, and she and Marc Cramer present an attractive romantic couple.