Island of Death (Ta Paidia Tou Diavolou) is a 1976 exploitation horror film written and directed by Nico Mastorakis. Most notable as the founder and owner of independent film studio Omega Pictures and Omega Entertainment, Nico is well-versed in film production, writing, and directing with over 40 different features such as Death Has Blue Eyes (1976), The Zero Boys (1986), and Hired to Kill (1990) to name but a few.

A British couple taking a break on a small Greek Island spreads terror beyond anything the islanders could ever have imagined, only stopping every once in a while to shag anything that moves, be it man, woman, or animal. But will they go unpunished, or will the inspector from London be able to put an end to their killing spree?

Being filmed on location on the Isle of Mykonos, Greece, Island of Death is a joint production between English, French, and Greek film studios. The film was originally inspired after director Niko viewed Toby Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and saw the amount of money the film made compared to the unusual level of featured violence. The cunning film creator devised that producing a more aggressive and perverse film would return an even bigger amount and soon set out to create his own unique piece of filth.

Certainly delivering this in an intentionally brutal display of sadism, Island of Death is an incredibly nihilistic depiction of the dangers of warped morality and decency. As the main protagonists frolic in the breaking of nearly all taboos in society, their grandiose sense of superiority leads them to attempt to cleanse this small Greek isle of all its evil—be it drug addicts, adulterers, homosexuals, or even horny old ladies. Numerous intensely visceral scenes of torture, murder, r*pe (and one scene of b**tiality) proliferate every act, progressively becoming more barbaric until the film’s notorious twist ending. However, instead of being framed in a typical sense, the film features an unquestionably unique aspect of stylising this savagery with still images and shutter clicks to represent pictures of the couple’s handiwork and is refreshing in its portrayal of violence.

Additionally, the impact of these remorseless acts is undoubtedly increased by the couple’s innocent veneer, expertly performed by Bob Behling and Jane Lyle. Appearing to be a simple English couple exploring the lower islands of Greece, the pair seem compassionate, intelligent, and, indeed, the last people who would revel in the pain of others. Despite this, as the level of cruelty in the film increases, both, in fact, are fiendish sadists that derive visible joy from this suffering—Bob’s performance as Christopher digs deep into the eruption of repressed anger, whereas Jane’s portrayal displays a similar level of brutality, albeit slightly more hesitant.

Gaining notoriety with fans, the film truly made waves in the horror community when the English government placed the film on the “Video Nasties” list—becoming somewhat of an urban legend when tape heads began being taken from storefronts and destroyed throughout the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, the film is now fully available to own, fully uncut from distributors such as Arrow Video.

Incredibly gritty and morally deplorable, Island of Death certainly deserves its reputation as a brutally perverse piece of cinema. That notwithstanding, the film is, simultaneously, effortlessly stylish, featuring some impressive cinematography throughout. Furthermore, with exceptional performances from the entire cast and an effective implementation of gore, Island of Death is sure to be a hit with fans of unflinching exploitation films.

Island of Death is available to preorder from Tetro Videos’ website here.



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