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If you pay any attention around here you know we rarely talk much about "foreign" pictures. The reason is simple, we haven't watched all the 'merican movies yet. But every now and then, we pop one in that was made somewhere across the pond. That's what happened with ISLAND OF DEATH. You see, I was out at this cowboy dancehall bar with BOF Attorney Dick Cockburn, Cockburn had already been cut-off, why I'm not sure, it could have been the 11 hour drinking binge he'd been on. Me, well after 3 oz of Pure Grain Alcohol chasing a half case of Dos Equs and five Lemon DropsTM, I had been pronounced legally dead only to be revived by the thought of fat girls dancing to a Travis Tritt song being covered by a disgruntled 30 nothing rock star who recently cut his mullet because of an email he had been spammed that had proclaimed "Mullets are now funny!" As if they were not always.

Anyhoo, after I had completely thrown-up enough stomach lining to knit Rosie a pair of drawers I was ready to Party! And party we did, I guess, all I know is we wound up back home looking for a movie to watch. ISLAND OF DEATH was elected only because of the films tagline "The lucky ones had their brains blown out!" I could sympathize. So we popped the sumbitch in, fresh off a PAL DVD, it blistered with mid 70s saturation…and we watched, mouth agape at the twisted, fucked-up (that's Cockburn's favorite adjective) shit that was taking place on this long sought after weirdy.

The ISLAND OF DEATH is actually Greece, Mykonos (one of the film's akas is DEVILS IN MYKONOS) to be exact, with it's white stucco-style residential housing and semi-tropical locales, you are lured right into what looks to be a quaint little story of a couple's getaway for a little hanky-panky. That is not the case, although there is plenty of that. This cute couple are on what I surmised was a vacation, but what Iquickly learned is they get their kicks on holiday by becoming a couple of homicidal maniacs. The plot is very basic, they seduce folks, then kill them, the subplot of the male character, Christopher, (handled ably by never-been Bob Belling) uttering about perverts before offing them is somewhat "out-there" as is his fascination with photographing the festivities. His definition of perversion is slightly askew especially given the scene where he and Celia, (Jane Ryall, who in the Hell are you besides fantastically hot?!) bang, completely and thoroughly, in a phone booth while he phones his mother and lays a little "hey Mom, guess what I'm doing?" bullshit on her, needless to say his mother is upset. Right off you know you are in for a bizarre little taboo breaker of a film. Nothing like pent-up, strange mother/son relationships with a mix of old time religion to set you right....

ISLAND OF DEATH becomes a weird ride in a rusty sedan with no shocks, it squeaks and bounces along with the occasional groan, but it gets you there. The flaws lay not so much in delivery but premise. The one thing you never quite grasp is a good vs. evil vibe or any sort of real suspense. Episodic in nature, with a loose thread of narrative involving a mystery writer Dmitri Spatos (our director Nico Mastorakis) who kind of happens upon the couple's wrongdoings. Basically these two, Christopher and Celia just kill and kill, trying to one up the plot with each bizarre method of mutilation. You get your crucifixion of a man, with added paint gargling just for humping Celia. You get a couple of perverted "queers" catching a sword of a different nature. You get an elderly lady pissed upon, smacked, raped and then beheaded by a fucking bulldozer blade. You get the picture here. Fuck, kill, fuck, kill, fuck goat, kill goat. I almost forgot, in a strange scene Christopher hops out of bed with Celia (what a fucking fool) absconds with a little goat, cut to Christopher and said Billy going at it goat style. Of course the goat's a fucking pervert so Christopher cuts its throat. Baaaaaaad goat, baaaaaaaaad, oh fuck you, that was funny. But even with all this, there's no one really that hot on the trail, there's no good protagonist (well, there's this black guy private dick, but who cares and there's a sort of homage to LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT with a couple of dirt bags who have their way with the lovely Celia) or any reason to give a shit about any of this really. There is no tension or melodrama to any of this and although a lot of bad shit goes down, you are hard pressed to ever feel horrified. That doesn't mean that it's not good because just one or two of these elements in any other film might propel that film to masterpiece status, the all happen in this tight little epic. And director Nico Mastorakis claims he spent a whopping $30,000!

Mastorakis speaks freely about the film on the DVD's commentary. He makes no bones about the fact that this film was made only to make money to help get his career off the ground. Refreshing to hear that really, he didn't give a shit about making some sort of memorable film, he wanted to hit screens with it in 1976 and get his dough to do another project. Mastorakis did just that but it was almost 8 years before we saw his next one, appropriately titled THE NEXT ONE, another Greek production, this time Nico exploited Christ and the second coming…Mastorakis is still at it folks, last year .COM FOR MURDER teamed Huey Lewis, Nastassja Kinski, Roger Daltrey, Julie Strain and Prof. Tread jerk fodder Nicole Sheridan in this video nightmare about internet porn and chat rooms, that you have to track down.

Mastorakis cites TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE as a big influence and that film's ability to shock an audience. I have to admire a man who embraces shock value whole-heartedly as much as Mastorakis does with ISLAND OF DEATH. Hell, the poor bastard, wrote, directed, produced and even co-wrote the music for the film. Impresario, I say, of sleaze. His camera tricks are on par with any gore-infected 17 year old. Gruesome shot, juxtaposed everyday item, brutal killing, silhouetted couple talking on the beach. You get my point ISLAND OF DEATH is one of the best examples of a film that unrelentingly goes for the cheap thrill, much like our crazed couple. We've all seen films travel on these same subject lines but none with as much zeal for leaving the viewer awestruck as ISLAND OF DEATH.

Attorney Dick Cockburn stopped trying to tally the carnage about 30 minutes in, but the body count, as well as the outright sadism involved, will not disappoint the even the sickest of chunk-addicted spew viewers, but if you like a drama and suspense you might find your self fast-forwarding to the good parts. If you rewatch one sequence over and over make sure it's the one with the black private dick hanging on the airplane's strut, I think I know where $6.00 of the $30,000 budget went, to fashion the wrap-around dummy that is zooming around Mykonos on the plane's wing. All in all, highly recommended both as a fun, Grecian formula for post party depression and something you can watch with your legal counsel. ISLAND OF DEATH is fucking exploitation for exploitation sake. Lawyers are scum; they'll be able to empathize.
Prof. Tread

Christoper nad a goat... I told you this is a sick film!

Ditry perverted goat, take that...

and that...and that....

If you find yourself looking at a Bulldozer from this angle...you might be totally screwed.

Poor lady, I bet she never saw Killdozer!

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Chris Wayne
Celia, oh Celia....

My guess is this would hurt even in Greece.

Christopher and Celia celebrate thier first cruiciixion.

Celia, oh Celia........

A little whitewash you pervert, in Jesus Christ's name!

Celia rides the hobby horse.

Celia, oh Celia...


Ouch. Boobs!

The Greek Arilines Company offers non-stop flights to....

The Island of Death!

Aeresol can, candle equals.....FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRREEEEE!

Christopher's Bar-B-Q methods lack a little finesse.

Celia, oh Celia...

Christopher gets his comeuppance!
Brains On Film 2003