Sunday, May 24, 2015
Blu-ray Review: ISLAND OF DEATH (1976)
ISLAND OF DEATH
Directed by Nico Mastorakis
Distributed by Arrow Films / MVD Entertainment
This might be one of the sleaziest, nastiest, filthiest movies I have ever seen, and I loved every minute of it! Let's not take too much time thinking about what that says about me, instead lets talk about one of the craziest films to come out of the 1970's, ISLAND OF DEATH. Here is some plot info from the MVD website:
THE LUCKY ONES GOT THEIR BRAINS BLOWN OUT!! Welcome to Mykonos, the holiday destination of choice for sun, sea and slaughter! From cult director Nico Mastorakis, Island of Death is a travelogue of atrocities with scenes so strong that the British Government was once compelled to ban it as a "video nasty". Arriving on the idyllic Greek island, Christopher and Celia appear to be every inch the perfect, handsome young couple. Little do the welcoming locals realise that they are in fact a pair of murderous degenerates, determined to spread their own particular brand of perversion across the island. DIY crucifixions, opportunistic bestiality, sexual peeing and murder by all conceivable forms ensue - including death by makeshift blowtorch, samurai sword, dump truck and more! Shocking, brutal and totally politically incorrect in its outlook, Island of Death is a gruelling cinematic experience devised by director Mastorakis to out-do the excesses of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which he was hugely inspired by. Now fully uncut and newly-restored from the original negative, fans can enjoy Island of Death in all its sleazy, lurid glory.
This film has been hard to find on DVD lately, only being available in an out of print DVD from Image Entertainment. Luckily, the wonderful folks at Arrow Films have got their hands on this film and have released it as a beautiful Blu-ray/DVD combo pack which is being distributed through MVD Entertainment. This new 2K restoration of the film is pretty amazing. From the film quality there is now way you could guess that the film was over 38 years old! Arrow always does a remarkable job with their releases and this one is no different.
The film itself is one that is really hard to explain. The only real story is that a couple go on vacation to a Greek island and then just kill people at random. That's about it! But, the way they go about it is what makes this movie. They take pride on killing people in pretty unique ways, many times after just seducing them and/or having sex with them. To say this is a strange movie would be a remarkable understatement.
The movie is very hard to categorize as well. While it's horror for sure, it has elements of a giallo, exploitation, and sexsploitation film as well. If you have never had a chance to see this wonderfully messed up film, now is the time to do so with this wonderful Arrow release.
ISLAND OF DEATH will be released this coming Tuesday, May 26th. The Blu-ray will be loaded with tons of special features, which include the following:
* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by writer-director-producer Nico Mastorakis
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
* Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* Exploring Island of Death – film historian Stephen Thrower on the making of a cult classic
* Return to Island of Death – Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations
* Archive interview with Mastorakis
* Alternative opening titles
* Island Sounds – five original tracks from the Island of Death soundtrack
* Original Theatrical Trailer
* The Films of Nico Mastorakis – four-part documentary charting the director’s filmmaking career [Blu-ray only]
* Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel [Blu-ray only]
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
* Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer (WARNING - Red Band Trailer - Contains Nudity - NSFW)
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray