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  Island of Death Horrible Holiday
Year: 1977
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Stars: Robert Behling, Jane Lyle, Jessica Dublin, Gerard Gonalons, Jannice McConnell, Ray Richardson, Marios Tartas, Efi Bani, Clay Half, Jeremy Rousseau, Elizabeth Spader, Nikos Tsachiridis, Mike Murtagh
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Christopher (Robert Behling) and Celia (Jane Lyle) are a British couple who have arrived on this Greek island for a holiday. It's a quiet enough place, and as they investigate they happen to get talking to an expat American who is living there and owns a shop; he gives them advice of where to stay, and Celia picks up a red book she likes the look of, planning to write a diary in its pages. Christopher is not quite as keen, as he thinks the object is an omen of bad luck, but if anyone's bad luck it is this pair: starting with their first act of phoning up his mother to have sex at her.

That's "at" her and not "with" her, though after watching the shenanigans here you wouldn't put it past them to get up to all sorts of rum business in this, one of the onetime minor video nasties. Indeed, so obscure was this title on the official list of films banned during the nineteen-eighties scare that it was a while until it started to become much sought after, by which point director Nico Mastorakis realised he could be making money on what had previously been an embarrassment in his movie career and he arranged for the film to be officially released on DVD. An interesting chap who divided opinion, he had worked in Greek media for decades.

Even as a game show host, but as far as his cinematic efforts went he opted to try and create the most lucrative movies possible, which often meant the most exploitative and on observing Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massascre, or rather the hefty profits on a low budget that were possible from that example, Mastorakis did his level best to fashion a Greek answer to Leatherface and company. Yet the Hooper work at least had a philosophy and a sense of compelling style to its horrors, here there was nothing but the central couple committing one damn crime after another and expecting the audience to be excited by the amateurly-staged degradation on display, then leave it at that.

After making that call back to mother when Christopher and Celia got loudly intimate with one another, they set about amusing themselves and it quickly becomes clear Christopher is off his rocker, and leading his partner through his madness. Actually, to say there was no philosophy behind Island of Death was not entirely accurate, as the running theme appeared to be that the villains were a couple of puritans doling out punishment to those they saw as perverted. Thus we could understand they were both revolting hypocrites who are willing to break the law to uphold their dreadful conception of morality, heady stuff, but not delivered with the appropriate conviction here.

The trouble was no matter how we were supposed to despise the murderers, the fact remained Mastorakis revelled in their crimes, so when we saw victims nowhere near deserving of their fates - they would be gay, a drug addict, old, or whatever aspect of their character had got Christopher's back up - the film certainly set about their demises with uncommon relish. Before long this was a catalogue of the worst fates Mastorakis could think up, so people got pissed on, swallowed paint, were raped, nailed to the ground, dismbowelled with a sword... it got stupid early on and never recovered, with a scene where frustrated Christopher is rejected one morning by a sleepy Celia leading to him having sex with the nearest goat taking the prize for preposterousness the rest of the movie did its darnedest to top. The sole reason to keep watching was to find out what the killer couple would get up to next, the sort of film where they get away with all sorts until their eventual comeuppance. Strange music by Nikos Lavranos, sounding like the Radiophonic Workshop at gunpoint, not to mention the songs.

Aka: Ta paidia tou Diavolou
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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