As the critical consensus is that the new FANTASY ISLAND movie from Blumhouse is a massive cluster, I chose not to go see it. This isn’t like with BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, for example, or most Horror outings, where the mainstream hates it but the geeks dig it. (You all know how I feel about mainstream critics reviewing genre work.) In this case, everybody, including all the geek sites, are in agreement about the new movie. I tend to believe them.
Instead, I choose to wax nostalgic about the source material, the FANTASY ISLAND TV series. I watched it when I was a little boy, and sometimes I really liked it. I say sometimes because the series only occasionally dipped its toes into the scary stuff. The episodes where Mr. Roarke did battle with the Devil (played by Roddy McDowell) are especially memorable, as was the episode featuring Jack the Ripper, although they might seem a little hokey by today’s standards.
Mr. Roarke was seemingly immortal and possessed of magical abilities. This was never explained, but star Ricardo Montalban stated that he believed Mr. Roarke to be an angel, albeit a fallen one seeking redemption, and that the titular island in FANTASY ISLAND was Purgatory.
The potential was there for a good FANTASY ISLAND movie, had Blumhouse stayed more within the lines, maintaining the tone of the TV show (especially with those Horror-light episodes). Tons of potential there. Unfortunately, thanks to Blumhouse’s pooch-screwing, we’ll likely never get to see that movie. Such a shame.