Island Of Death (1976)

NICO MASTORAKIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

, 1976. . Screenplay by Nico Mastorakis. Cinematography by . Produced by Nico Mastorakis. Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

A movie that must be seen to be believed, this cultish horror curiosity begins when a wholesome-looking couple arrive on the Greek island of Mykonos and find lodgings with a local thanks to the hotels being closed in the off season. At first we think it’s just the beauty of young love when they happily have sex in a phone booth while his mother listens at the other end of the line, but it turns out to be the first hint of their madness, followed by his murdering the poor innocent goat who lives in his landlady’s garden.

It’s not much longer before the couple begin a murder spree on the island that we learn is a continuation of mayhem they committed in London, with Celia () luring victims in with sexual enticement before Chris () goes in for the kill. They manage to conceal their connections to the crimes and pin the murders on others, but eventually trouble arrives in the form of an unspecified authority figure who tapped their phone calls and has followed them to this location. This forces them to flee at the last minute with few provisions, wandeing across the island until they are too exhausted to keep going before finding refuge on a farm that tests their loyalty to each other.

Director Nico Mastorakis said that his inspiration for this movie was the success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which he saw as a case of audiences flocking to an exploitation film despite its not having big stars or high production values; the same two elements are featured here but the creativity with which he films each murder, using a different form of gory violence each time, doesn’t exactly equal Tobe Hooper’s sense of atmosphere and terror, and the overabundance of female nudity just makes it feel like you’re watching soft-corn porn with a slasher film upgrade. The location photography is beautiful and many of the actors are up for the indulgent fun, but the proceedings get tired quickly the more bizarre the plot turns become, and the lack of suspense is aggravating.

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