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Terminal Island (1973) - Blu-ray Review

4 beersCelebrities Tom Selleck and Roger Mosley, before they starred in Magnum P.I. together, were stuck on a different island located on a different sea. And it definitely was not as scenic as Hawaii. Well, Phyllis Davis (Sweet Sugar) was there so I guess there were definitely massive hills and a valley. Oh, snap!

There are no guards here.  No walls either.  No rules guide the inmates here.  But escape is damn near impossible.  Electronically controlled mines keep the criminals from fleeing and the waters surrounding this island are constantly patrolled.  What is this place?  It’s called Terminal Island and, trust me, you don’t want to wind up here; an island paradise it is not. 


"It’s all Lord of the Flies-like (with sex!) as the inmates become tribal, going back to their roots with violence and possession and brutality"


Directed by the great Stephanie Rothman (The Working Girls, The Student Nurses, Blood Bath), Terminal Island is a dangerous place where the most lethal of criminals go.  All of them are guilty of first degree murder.  They have to sign an agreement before they are dropped off; it’s like a death certificate because once on the island, well, you aren’t ever getting out.  These people know they will die there.  So, to expedite the system, officials decide to go ahead and declare them dead.  Interesting. {googleads}

They might as well be, though.  The inmates have broken off into different social structures and, with the killing continuing, try to dominate one another through bloody force.  Assaults are a daily activity.  Nothing is sacred and you are never sure of who exactly the bad guys are.

As Carmen (Ena Hartman) makes her way toward the island, she sees bodies floating face down in the water.  Remember, everybody on the island is a killer.  She feels her knees weaken.  This will not be a cake walk.  In fact, this will be Hell itself.  Especially when the other inmates “break” her in.  And, at first, no one will help her.  Not even Dr. Milford (Selleck) is willing to lend a hand when she comes face to face with the cruel Bobby (Sean Kenney) and strong arm in Monk (Mosley).

And then Carmen learns the rules of being a sex slave.  All the women – Joy (Davis), Lee (Marta Kristen), and Bunny (Barbara Leigh)– are “owned” by the men; all of them are there to work and sleep with the men.  Carmen’s not having an of it.  At all.  She’s fierce, focused, and soon finds herself leading a civil war on the island. 

Rothman is an excellent director of B-movies.  Her films, while exploitative, are also intelligent and, usually, thoughtful in their approach to the subject matter.  Terminal Island, with its bold approach to prison, incarceration, civil uprisings, and female sexuality (thanks to an incredible striptease in reverse in which a woman puts her clothes ON) is still being included in university discussions. 

Terminal Island (1973) - Blu-ray Review

It’s all Lord of the Flies-like (with sex!) as the inmates become tribal, going back to their roots with violence and possession and brutality.  Makeshift booby traps are everywhere and these groups are not letting up anytime soon for control of the island.  Or at least for the appearance of control. Code Red provides Rothman fans with yet another opportunity to own one of her flicks on Blu-ray. Complete with a brand new 16x9 transfer from Rothman’s archived print and plenty of solid supplemental items, this release does not disappoint.   

Wake up and run!  That’s the name of the game on Terminal Island.


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Terminal Island (1973) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
88 mins
: Stephanie Rothman
James Barnett, Charles S. Swartz
Don Marshall, Phyllis Davis, Ena Hartman
: Action | Drama
No one here gets out alive.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I I tell you to kiss may ass, I want you on your knees before I finish talking!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Dimension Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June, 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 15, 2016
Synopsis: Four women struggle to survive on terminal island, a penal colony inhabited by convicted murderers. The depraved men will commit any crime to get at the most important commodity on the island, the women..


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Terminal Island (1973) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray
- November 15, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Code Red presents this HD upgrade with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The results in this tropical feast are full of crisp details and solid black levels. There is the occasional print damage of dirt and debris, but overall, this is a solid release of a seriously great exploitation flick. There is, in some certain location shoots, a heavy layer of grain. Now, this doesn’t bother me. I like grain. Grain works, but if you are expecting a low budget knockoff to look better some number of years AFTER its release date, then you will be disappointed. This isn’t a restoration. It simply is what it is. Interiors are good, but details aren’t as graphic as they could be. Black levels are good, but never impressive. The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 is adequate for the release.



  • Scott Spiegel and William Olsen moderate a commentary with actors Don Marshall and Sean Kenney.

Special Features:

Fans get an audio interview with Phyllis Davis and on camera interviews with Sean Kenney and Don Marshall.

  • Terminally Dead: Interrogating Sean Fenney (21 min)
  • Legally Dead: Interrogating Don Marshall (24 min)
  • Phyllis Davis Interview
  • Original Trailer


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Terminal Island (1973) - Blu-ray Review