One of the unfortunate side-effects of the whole ‘video nasties’ craze of the 80s was that a whole raft of films gained an element of notoriety and fame they did not deserve.

And, in my younger and more impressionable days, I admit I went with the flow on a few of those titles, claiming to enjoy them so as to appear ‘cool’ or ‘edgy’.

But, as I’ve matured (or at least I hope I have) I’ve come to the realisation that it is far better for everyone to call a piece of shit a piece of shit – so I’m calling Island Of Death out as a grade-A piece of shit.

A piece of sordid, grubby exploitation masquerading as something ‘deeper’ (or so the lavish extras would have you believe), Island Of Death was a film I was bored of within roughly 15 minutes, when I was confronted by what was already the third shagging scene of the film (with different people no less).

The actual idea behind the film is fine – a pair of British lovers (seemingly on the run) head to the island of Mykonos and proceed to cause mayhem, carving (and sleeping) their way through the population as a way of ‘punishing perversion’.

The driving force of the couple is Christopher (Robert Behling), a brutish, over-the-top religious nutjob who you wonder just ever managed to fit into any form of modern society.

His partner in crime is Celia (Jane Lyle), who seemingly exists to get her kit off at every opportunity and sleep with as many people as possible.

Anyways, we get to witness a few interesting murder sequences (decapitation by bulldozer anyone) along with a lot of shagging, before the net finally tightens on the Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque pair.

By that stage you probably won’t care, bludgeoned by writer/director Nico Mastorakis’ insistence on throwing in some shock for shock’s sake every five minutes or so – including a goat rape scene in case you’re interested.

There are some points to recommend here – the location cinematography is excellent, the colours striking, while a bizarre synth/folk soundtrack hybrid adds a strange edge to proceedings.

But there is so, so much wrong with it – the extras make it clear Mastorakis deliberately set out to make something as shocking and over-the-top as possible, and that is exactly as it plays out.

Island Of Death is a film that tries so hard to be subversive and dangerous as to be laughable – this is a film that is so ‘subversive’ that every female character does full-frontal nudity, while all the males go to ludicrous lengths to hid their genitals – including Christopher stopping mid-chase to put on a pair of pants.

It is so ‘dangerous’ that one of the early inventive death scenes – man crucified then force-fed paint until he dies, clearly has the victim willingly opening his mouth and gulping down plenty of it.

The film is just plain boring, and I found myself rolling my eyes far more than I would have liked – even if it does get a point for a last-reel surprise.

It is also tedious when it appears that everybody (and I mean everybody) on the island seems to be dodgy in some way through Mastorakis’ eyes – whether they be a stereotypically camp gay couple, a backwards shepherd who wants to rape anything that moves etc.

Anyways, and here’s another cliché for you – the film does get the ‘Arrow treatment’, with the company once again rolling out the red carpet of extras.

We get a new interview with Mastorakis, trailers, an isolated soundtrack, a featurette of the director revisiting the locations as well as a lengthy (and very interesting it must be said) chat on the film from movie historian Stephen Thrower.

In it he proudly claims that Island Of Death is ‘unlike anything you’ve seen before’ and indeed it is – but that doesn’t make it any good.

DVD Review: Island Of Death
1.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.