23 to 25 Minutes of Terror Island is Missing

terror card disclaimer

Disclaimer at the start of the current version of Terror Island

The current version of Terror Island is approximately 55 minutes, but it is missing reels (acts) Three and Four.

missing terror

Two of several missing scenes from Terror Island

According to the Terror Island Press book it was Six Acts.

TI Press Book Cover 001

However, I have seen the original script and it was 7 acts.  Most of the ads imply it was six reels.

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However documentation at the Margaret Herrick Library gave the length of each of the seven reels, which add up to 5939 feet:

Reel One:  975 feet, Reel Two: 848 feet, Reel Three: 958 feet, Reel Four: 917 feet, Reel Five: 889 feet., Reel Six: 784 feet and Reel Seven: 568 feet.

Just based on the total feet, 5939 feet could actually fit on Six reels, which might explain the Six acts mentioned in the press book and the Six reels listed in ads.  I compared the Kino DVD running time of the five reels (Acts 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7) at 55 minutes (54.19) to the footage per reel and based on my rough calculations we are missing about 25 minutes (Acts 3 and 4) played at 20 fps (75 feet a minute).  The library lists 5939 feet and many reviews such as Wid’s Daily below list it at 5813 feet.  At 20 fps, that is either 79.19 minutes or 77.51 total minutes in length.

Feel free to do the math yourself.

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4 thoughts on “23 to 25 Minutes of Terror Island is Missing

  1. No thanks Joe! I was always terrible at math. Let us not rest on our laurels and hunt for those missing reels. There might be a complete print still out there somewhere.

    • No worries, I have always been good at math. And you are right, we can’t be satisfied with just 55 minutes of Terror Island and the brief explanatory text for the missing parts (Acts 3 and 4).

  2. Excellent way to kick off 2016, because restoring Terror Island is our new Houdini movie mission! However, unlike The Grim Game, I have no idea if these reels exist anywhere to be saved. And there’s some GREAT stuff during those missing 23-25 minutes.

    • Thanks John! It is going to take a collective effort and a miracle, but we can’t give up hope. Later in the year, I will try and describe in some detail what is missing.

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