When people say “they just don’t make movies like that anymore” Island Of Death is the “that” they’re referring to. Murder is the least of the offenses in a movie featuring goat molestation, excessive tongue waggling, gun barrel fellatio, a golden shower perpetrated against a slutty old woman, hippie rapists, decapitation by bulldozer, and some of the rudest dialogue to come out of Greece since the audience reaction to Nia Vardalos’ My Life In Ruins.
For all the violence, sex, and cruelty on display though this is one funny ass movie. In a blackly comic, far from subtle mix of the intentional, unintentional, and ridiculous…
Christopher and Celia arrive on the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos, rent a house from a sexy lesbian, and immediately head out for some frolicking in the sun. One of their first stops is a phone booth where they decide the best course of action would be to fornicate inside this glass display case… and call his mother while doing so. “Guess what I’m doing mother,” he says into the phone as he screws the squeaky blond. “I’m in a telephone booth on a small Greek island and I’m making love.” Mother is none too pleased, but a quick cut to a sedan sitting outside her home reveals someone who is happy to hear the call.
Their vacation up to this point has been pretty similar to most of my own island excursions, but things take a darker turn when the couple meets a pervy Frenchman (redundant I know) in a restaurant. Christopher complains to Celia that the man is basically pounding her vulva with his eyes and then inexplicably invites him over to their table for some conversation. The next morning she spurns Christopher’s advances so he takes a stroll through the garden… and then fucks and kills a goat.
Clearly Christopher is a man with strong scruples and moral fiber.
Which is why it’s so surprising when later that day he watches Celia and the Frenchman make the fleshy beast with two backs before attacking the guy as she takes over with the camera. Christopher knocks the guy to the ground and proclaims “In the name of the Almighty God who punishes perversion I crucify you!” Then they take out a gay couple, some hippie rapists with funky dance moves, one or two lesbians… and then there’s that naked old lady who tries to seduce him and gets nothing but urine in the face and a brutal pummeling.
It doesn’t sound funny, but trust me, if you have an appreciation for blackly comic humor you will find much to enjoy in this poorly acted, hilariously written movie. Here’s a quick sampling of some of the priceless dialogue from writer/director Niko Mastorakis’ script.
“You know little red books bring me bad luck.”
“She’s a bloody lesbian and a heroin addict. I saw her the other day giving herself a good dose of it. She’s got two monkeys on her back. Let’s kill them.”
Christopher: “This place belongs to innocent people. They have rights here. And if this island’s full of shit I’ll help them clean it up.”
Celia: “Maybe they don’t want to do that-”
Christopher: “Nonsense. No one wants to live with perversion. Children must be brought up in a proper way. Nature is strong.”
Celia: “Christopher, what about Foster?”
Christopher: “Foster? That funny n*gger? The one who thinks we’re killers? He’s a maniac.”
Celia: “Christopher. What about Foster?”
And perhaps my favorite line of narration… “The fireplace was her favorite seducing center.”
Plot-wise the rest of the film sees the couple working their way through the island’s inhabitants with guns, blowtorches, bulldozers, and even death by hanging from a plane. Along the way they make time for some dueling masturbation action while looking at their photos, some walks through the oddly deserted town (seriously, it’s empty until the very end) scored to a terrifically terrible song called Destination Understanding, and witnessing lots and lots of tongue action. Their vacation comes to an inevitable end though when they’re forced to go on the run and end up meeting some poetic Greek justice. And yes, that is code for anal diddling.
Island Of Death was banned for several years apparently and it’s not difficult to see why. The sex and violence are somewhat rough at times, but they’re still tame by much of today’s standards. What stands out though and may still make the movie a tough sell is the pure disregard for decency, restraint, and political correctness. Seriously, this is not a movie for the thin skinned or easily offended. But if you have an appetite for the bad, the absurd, the comically mean spirited, and naked old ladies I highly recommend you seek this title out immediately.
Arrow Video’s DVD includes commentary from Mastorakis as well as an interview and Q&A. He’s a fun and informative guy who knows exactly what sort of film he made and isn’t shy about it. Additional special features include the film’s trailer, a selection of the film’s music set to nudity-filled screen grabs, and last but far from least, a series of re-recordings of the song “Destination Understanding.” They include punk, indie, riot grrrl, bluegrass, and extreme noise renditions.
Island Of Death is available on region2 DVD from Arrow Video and can be ordered from Amazon UK.
The Upside: Absolutely nuts; often damn funny in dark, ridiculous, and terribly inappropriate ways
The Downside: Bad acting across the board; “Destination Understanding” will be stuck in your head for days