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Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #354

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Also known as Devils in Mykonos, Cruel Destination, A Craving for Lust, Island of Perversion
Number of Views: Two
Release Date: 1976
Sub-Genre: Exploitation
Country of Origin: Greece
Running Time: 108 minutes
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Producers: Nico Mastorakis, Nestoras Pavelas
Screenplay: Nico Mastorakis
Special Effects: Yiorgos Stavrakakis
Cinematography: Nikos Gardelis
Score: Nikos Lavranos
Editing: Vasilis Syropoulos
Studio: Omega Pictures
Distributor: Cinefear, Arrow Video
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, Nico Mastorakis, Gary The Goat

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Suggested Audio Candy:

Nikos Lavranos Do You Love Me Like I love You

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The English have a tendency to colonize any holiday destination in Europe and take it over. Quaint little coastal towns become little more than havens for excess, with greasy spoon cafés on every street corner and moronic drunken buffoons chanting soccer shanties while discarding their litter and stomach lining in the streets. It sickens me to watch such thoughtless pursuits and even more so to think that nothing is sacred to us brits. However, as disillusioned as I may be over the state of tourism, I never once fucked a billy-goat in the ass to relieve my frustration. If the thought appeared ludicrous then I would urge you not to read any further as in Nico Mastorakis’ Island of Death anything goes … even sex with livestock.

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Mastorakis had one intention and one alone when making this grubby little movie. Having been suitably impressed by Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and even more so by the money which is recouped, he set out to make a film even more unsavoury and grab himself some Benjamin Franklins on the quick. Hurriedly he cobbled together a rough script and cut every corner imaginable attempting to get his film made. It wasn’t so much a labor of love as it was one of lust … lust for the almighty buck. He even cast himself as it saved him a whopping $80. Skin flint or genius? Deranged reprobate or merely naive? Having shared the inimitable experience of Island of Death twice in my lifetime I would have to say a little of both.

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It starts as little more than an advertisement for the Greek tourist board as vacationing British couple Christopher (Robert Behling) and Celia (Jane Lyle) step off the boat in an idyllic coastal town in Mykonos. The first ten minutes involve the snapping of many photos as they soak in the summer rays and slip into their espadrilles. However, have you ever heard the term “not how it looked in the brochure?” It turns out that this picturesque paradise is more of a haven of excess than anything else and is heaving with feckless bohemians, reckless sexual abandon, blatant homosexuality, partner swapping, and drug abuse. Needless to say, the pair are somewhat bemused.

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The moment when Christopher calls his mother back in London while unloading his creamy sailors in Celia’s starboard, we get the sense that the elevator stops a good few floors from the summit and our worst fears are realized as the town goat bleats its morning welcome. What better way to start the day than with a spot of bestiality followed up with some ritualistic slaughter? On the Island of Death every goat is a goal and it doesn’t take much convincing before Celia joins in with the shenanigans. The couple embark on a rampage of sorts; cleansing this backward town, defiling and slaughtering anyone they see fit.

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Anyone searching for a thread to hang their hat on will be left wanting as there is no great science to Mastorakis’ approach. He’s only looking to mortify his audience and those expecting hidden subtext won’t find it here. It’s a grimy little film for damned sure but, from a technical standpoint, it’s actually fairly decent. Nikos Gardelis’ slick cinematography makes the most of some stunning landscapes and it has an almost hypnotic charm. Maybe that is, in par, due to the fact that we haven’t the vaguest idea what kind of debauchery lays in wait around the corner but by hook or by crook it nabs us when we’re least expecting it.

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The performances are uniformly terrible and dialogue beyond laughable, while the score by Nikos Lavranos is memorable for precisely the wrong reasons but, try as I do to object to the rubble that is Island of Death, I just can’t bring myself to be too hard on it. The censors had a field day of course and Mastorakis’ film was swiftly trimmed of fifteen minutes of content when submitted for classification in 1976 under the mantle A Craving For Lust. The director was desperate to get his picture out there and, in 1987, three years after it was branded as a video nasty and removed from circulation, he attempted to slip under the radar under the more ambiguous title Psychic Killer 2. As one would imagine, his plan was foiled; it was all going well until the goat sex. Arrow Video to the rescue and it is now available in all its uncut glory. But don’t thank them just yet.

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Your enjoyment of Island of Death hinges on three factors. Firstly, your ability to overlook certain flaws. Under no circumstances should this be regarded as anything more than low-rent trash. Secondly, your willingness to step outside your comfort zone and allow it to wash over you with its low tide. Being sickened is par for the course and human depravity in any form should not make for a comforting experience. Should you choose to stand atop your soapbox then the view will be disconcerting I assure you. Finally, your contempt of goats. If, like Keeper, you have a fondness for lamb cutlets, then Billy need never have died in vain. As for the whole sorry goat molestation thing, well the less said about that the better but in Christopher’s defense I think it’s a dry hump. On the plus side, at least Mastorakis saved another eighty bucks. Meanwhile, the goat received some remuneration for services rendered so no harm, no foul right Nico?

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Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 5/10

Grue Factor: 3/5

For the Grue-Guzzlers, Pelt-Nuzzlers & Goat-Herders: Potentially the most politically incorrect film of all time, Island of Death takes a suspiciously hedonistic approach to the tackling the following … misogyny, crucifixion, sexual violation, extreme sadism, homophobia, and features golden showers, a dash of flatulence and a smattering of bestiality. The kills, somewhat lame by current standards, are nothing if not inventive. Death comes to us all in turn but I would imagine our wish-lists would negate to facilitate any of these ominous beauties. Death by aerosol flamethrower, death by decapitation via bulldozer, death by paint consumption, death by being dangled from the wing of a plane in mid-flight, not to mention blasé stalwarts such as sword, scythe, and handgun. For the record, no goats were harmed in the making of Island of Death, although one of them now walks with a distinct limp and a perma-grin on its face.

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