Thursday, February 14, 2013

Island of Death (Nico Mastorakis, 1977)

A kindly British couple on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos find themselves at the mercy of deranged painters, adulterous landlady's, flamboyant gays, heroin-addicted lesbian bartenders, mysterious men in red turtlenecks, vile hippies, and an unending concourse of leggy milfs in the absolutely heinous Island of Death (a.k.a. Ta Paidia Tou Diavolou), a film where even squared away goat rectums aren't safe. How will these two upstanding citizens of Great Britain ever survive the swarthy terrors that await them in this sun-baked hellscape? Wait a second, someone wants to whisper something in my ear. Whaaaat? Are you serious? Damn. Well, it would seem that I have totally misread what this film is actually about. Don't get me wrong, it's got leggy milfs, the guy in the red turtleneck, he's definitely in this movie, the two flamboyant gays, goat rectums, and even the heroin-addicted lesbian bartender is in it. But my initial take on the film, directed by Nico Mastorakis, was completely wrong. It turns out that the so-called "kindly British couple" are brother and sister. Which, on paper, doesn't sound like much an oversight. I mean, a lot of siblings who go vacation together get mistaken for couples. Oh, yeah? Do most siblings have fully-clothed sexual intercourse inside Greek telephone boxes in the middle of the day? No, they do not. Okay, so there's a little hanky panky going between the brother and sister duo at the centre of this fiendish fiasco. Big deal. First of all, I despise the expression "hanky panky." And secondly, they get up to more than just incest in this film. Believe me, much more.
Speaking of expressions, are you familiar with expression, "Tennis, anyone?" Well, after seeing Island of Death, I would like to popularize a similar-sounding expression. You wanna hear it? Okay, here it goes: Watersports and bulldozer decapitation, anyone? It's pretty catchy, right? I know, you're asking yourself, what does that mean exactly? It's what assholes say to one another when they want to play tennis. Oh, you mean the watersports/bulldozer one. It's when you pee on a leggy milf and then chop her head off with a bulldozer. Whatta ya think? Does it have what it takes to be the next, "Really?!?," or "Don't go there"? Yeah, I'll admit, it's a tad on the weird side, but I like it.            
Truth be told, I wasn't feeling Island of Death for a good chunk of its modest running time. I don't know, some of the scenes, particularly the one's that involved stalking, seemed to drag a bit. And the grey skirt worn by Jane Lyle at the beginning of the film was nowhere to be found during the second act. However, all that changed when Robert Behling started to urinate on Jessica Dublin during a not-so erotic encounter. As she futilely tried to block the golden liquid that sprung forth from his unseen penis by swatting at the steady stream with both hands, I thought to myself: I dig where this is going. Of course, I was also shocked and appalled by what was transpiring in front of me. All the same, it was at that moment when I realized that I was in the presence of, okay, maybe not greatness. But I was definitely in the presence of something special, something different. 
Landing on the island of Mykonos, Christopher (Robert Behling) and Celia (Jane Lyle), two nondescript British tourists, are looking for a place to stay. After getting some help from Paul, the "flamboyant" owner of an antique shop, they end up renting a room at a house run by a dark-haired woman named Anna; "a dark-haired woman," in Greece? What a shocker. Whatever. Eager to hike up Celia's grey skirt in order to gain access to the riches that lie beneath its funneled housing, Christopher decides to have sex with her in a telephone booth. Which is not unusual, telephone booths are, I mean, were, the ideal spot for young lovers to practice fornicating while standing up. What is unusual, however, is the fact that Christopher calls her mother in London during sex and makes her listen to their moaning.
What Christopher and Celia don't know is that a man named Foster (Gerard Gonalons) is eavesdropping on their "conversation" (like I said, it mostly involving moaning and the sound of an English woman in curlers saying, "hello" over and over again) via a hidden listening device located somewhere in his mother's flat. Why this Foster fella is so interested in knowing where Christopher and Celia are calling from is still unclear. But it does make us look at the couple with some suspicion.
If you thought being pursued by a mysterious black man in a white raincoat was suspicious, wait until you see what Christopher does the following morning after Celia refuses to have sex with him. What? Tell me! What does he do? Are you ready? He walks out to the courtyard, picks up a goat, and proceeds to penetrate its anus with his penis. And after he's finished, Christopher stabs the goat multiple times with a knife.
Wearing her lucky Saints tuque, Celia...Hold on, her lucky what?!? You know, the New Orleans Saints, the football team. No, what the hell is a "tuque"? Oh, that's another word for a knit cap. Actually, I was shocked to see NFL gear worn in the 1970s. As I always associate NFL gear with the late 1980s (I think the trend started when N.W.A. starting wearing Raiders gear in their music videos).
Getting back to Celia for a minute, she's come to help Jean-Claude, an artist she met at a restaurant the night before, paint a church (the island is apparently home to over three hundred churches). Or has she? Of course she hasn't (people who hang around people who rape goats don't help people). As Celia and Frenchy screw out in the open (ride his French cock, Celia! ride it!), Christopher can be seen lurking off in the distance taking pictures with his trusty camera.
To give the scene an added sense of humourous disquietude, we get the occasional shot of Anna calling out the name of the goat that was just raped and murdered mixed with the sight of Christopher hammering nails through Jean-Claude's hands. After nailing him to the ground, Christopher pours a bucket of white paint into the Frenchman's mouth for good measure.
I don't want to judge them too early, but I don't think Christopher and Celia are nice people. Oh, sure, they except Paul's invitation to his wedding with a smile. But deep down, you know they're planning something sinister. I did like how Celia asks Paul, "who's the lucky girl?" after he informs her that he's getting married. "Lucky girl"? Oh, Celia. You're so naive. Forget about having wonky gaydar, you'd have to have no gaydar whatsoever to not be able to pick up the Dorothy-aligned vibrations Paul was putting out there.
Haunted by a reoccurring dream that involves her being raped by an unshaven shepherd, Celia tells Christopher she wants to leave. On top of the reoccurring dream, Celia is also worried about Foster; who, by the way, is making his way to Greece as we speak. In the meantime, Christopher tries to placate Celia's fears by taking her on a scenic bike ride.
I'm looking for two English people, a man and a woman, anyone seem them?
In addition to the mysterious black man in the white raincoat, Christopher and Celia have to contend with Patricia (Jessica Dublin), a leggy milf, Leslie (Jannice MacConnell), the island's resident lesbian bartender (the way her mouth-watering hips spilled out from the top of her panties was simply to die for), two hippies (actually, I think they were just run-of-the-mill dirtbags), a nosy novelist (Nico Mastorakis), and their landlady. All of them, except for the novelist, are taken care of in their own unique way.
My absolute favourite out of these unique ways, of course, being the watersports/bulldozer decapitation sequence. As I watched the bulldozer slice off the head that was attached to the torso of the leggy milf, it dawned on me that this film seems like it was made purely to offend people. You could say the film is a veiled attack on British imperialism. But I'm not going to say that (any evidence to the contrary is pretty weak). No, Island of Death is basically a loosely assembled series of violent and degrading scenes designed to upset and/or shock the audience. And when you slap some catchy folk rock songs (all written by Nico Mastorakis) onto the soundtrack, the film actually resembles a travelogue; albeit, an extremely gruesome one with more goat rape than usual.  
Oh, and I almost forgot: Watersports and bulldozer decapitation, anyone? Think about it, I have the legs of a 22 year-old Slovene ski instructor.

video uploaded by Criterion Dungeon


  1. "squared away goat rectums"
    But, it's right there...staring me in the face...warm and inviting. Oh wait, I've revealed too much. I'll shut up now.

    If late 80's gangsta rappers wore NFL gear, early 90's New Jack artists wore NBA gear (I.E. Guy, Jodeci, etc.). I guess this means that Gangsta rappers were tougher than their new jack counterparts.

    I know you already know this, but you are a fucking genius for posting an ISLAND OF DEATH review on valentine's day. I went completely the opposite with my APRIL STORY post. I guess you win. Goat rape always wins.

  2. @T-Duke: It's been years since I been to a petting zoo, so my knowledge pertaining to the exact whereabouts of goat rectums is a tad on the sketchy side.

    In terms of shirking calender-based observations, Valentine's Day is the one I shirk the most (I shirk the shit out of it). On the other hand, now that you mention it, Island of Island is the perfect movie for Valentine's Day.

    @ido: Soft and creamy.

  3. Love your blog!

    I admit, I had a hard time understanding what 'Christopher' was saying, due to his incredibly thick British accent. He had a nice bum, though...and he certainly got it 'in the end' (see what I did there?).

  4. "Violated feta" is going to be the name of my ska-punk band. :D

    I love how the Wiki page on this film calls it a "video nasty." I always think of The Young Ones when I see that term.

    I want to go to Slovenia.

  5. @Zap Rowsdower: Thanks.

    Yeah, I think I see what you did there. By "got" you mean "Greek cock," and by "in the end," you mean his nice British bum. :)

    @Karim Amir: "Video nasty" is apparently a British term, so it makes sense that it would be used on The Young Ones.

    I was just admiring my Laibach records the other day. :D

    I don't know if you know this, but vinyl is cool again. ;)

  6. @Karim Amir: I am deeply honored. And I always think of that "Young Ones" episode when I hear the term, too. "Oh, have we got a video?"

    @yum-yum: speaking of vinyl, you know how you spend most of life flipping through used vinyl at record stores/tag sales/whatnot never finding stuff you want? Or anything too special? The reverse happened to me on Valentine's Day (my least favorite holiday). This guy was selling vinyl records on campus, and I found the originals, mint or near mint condition of:
    1) "No New York" comp, original label
    2) Lydia: 13.13
    3) Sonic Youth: Death Valley '69 EP
    4) Sonic Youth: Confusion is Sex

    He also had MINISTRY's "With Sympathy" and "Twitch", plus SAMHAIN: NOVEMBER-COMING-FIRE, the original Plan 9 release. I wanted that SAMHAIN record, but he was asking a stupid amount of money for it. Damn collectors driving prices up.

  7. I've been watching a lot of videos by vinyl collectors (a.k.a. record nerds) on YouTube as of late, and, in doing so, they have caused me to occasionally liberate my own records from their closeted hiding place.

    Nice finds, man.

    I own TWITCH!!! ...on vinyl. "Where You At Now?!?"

    Wikipedia: "Samhain was an American rock band formed by singer Glenn Danzig in 1983."