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ISLAND OF DEATH
DVD region 2. Arrow Video.

Island of DeathThis absolutely amazing 1975 exploitation masterpiece has always been difficult to see, as one release after another (under varying titles such as Island of Perversion, Devils in Mykonos and A Craving for Lust) has been subjected to censorship. Banned outright in Britain during the mid-Eighties, several attempts have since been made to get this catalogue of perversity released in cut-down versions, but even then it was not enough to appease our moral guardians; every frame of this film is drenched in the stink of corruption. It is fundamentally, irredeemably rotten to the core. An instant cult classic in other words!

Previously only available on a hard-to-find director's release it is now available completely uncut on DVD, brought to you by Arrow in a top quality transfer sourced from the film's original negative. The film is presented in a full screen version (one assumes the film was shot in academy ratio, and there is no evidence on screen to suggest otherwise) with mono sound.

During a twenty three minute interview, Mastorakis reveals that he was inspired to make Island of Death by seeing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. He describes Island of Death as a "recipe" movie, and reveals that the script was written formulaically, with the simple aim of producing a movie with "disgusting, perverse and violent content". All in the name of profit. The director rejects outright the idea that his film has any sort of subtext, and goes on to ridicule the attempts at deconstruction written by well-meaning but misguided critics. He also talks about special effects, censors ("a medieval paramilitary authority!"), bestiality ("it happens!"), and assures us that the outrageous goat-fucking/killing episode was humanely faked and that the animal went on to frolic in the Greek sunshine for many years to come.

Island of DeathA plot synopsis is neither necessary nor desirable, as for ultimate effect the viewer should not be forewarned of the jaw-dropping catalogue of abuse heaped upon every incidental character on screen. Oh, how I envy those of you reading this who have yet to sample the delights this film breathlessly throws up from the first minute to the last - and what a last line there is waiting for you! This film has one of the greatest punch-lines in exploitation movie history!

As if you needed warning... this film has a rare capacity to offend. Much of the action is prompted by dubious sexual politics, both explicit ("God punishes perversion, and I am his angel with the flaming sword sent to kill dirty worms!", our anti-hero wails before hacking an old queen to death) and implicit (the "bloody lesbian" victim whines about her sexuality and her drug habit, the implication being that her chemical dependency and her lesbianism are both born of a pathological hatred of men). The violence is very strong and very nasty, there is plenty of simulated sexual abuse (2M/1F, 1M/1F, 1M/1M to use porno language) in the sordid proceedings, and of course there's the infamous moment of bestiality (the goat can't say "no", so does that also count as rape?...)

Island of Death is about as clear-cut an example of "love it or loathe it" as I can imagine, so by now you're either going to want to forget you even read this review, or you'll want to order the DVD, which you can do right now if you so wish, by clicking the link below.

Good luck and happy viewing. You pervert.

HARVEY FENTON

Editorial addition: As with most of Arrow's cult movies, this comes with plenty of extras, and as ever, they are a mixed bag. Extras include the aforementioned informative interview with director Nico Mastorakis and the three songs from the film's soundtrack. There is also a commentary and on-stage Q&A, and a couple of remarkably shoddy, badly filmed and amateurish documentaries, including a pointless effort where bands you've never heard of (and never will again) cover the song Destination Understanding. These really, really terrible featurettes mar an otherwise essential slice of sleaze.

 

BUY IT NOW (UK)

BUY IT NOW (USA)

 

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