Sunday, March 9, 2014

"The Devil's Men" (1976) d/ Kostas Karagiannis

 photo The-Devils-men_zpse7a49347.jpg
Despite the promise of the mint-looking advance poster and it's unquestionably Mentor-esque imagery (yeaaaasssh), tonight's review, edited and released in the States as "Land of the Minotaur", is more of a drag than it ought to have been, with silver screen legends Donald Pleasance and Peter Cushing, appearing together for the first time since 1960's excellent The Flesh and The Fiends, good and evil-style posturing against a bevvy of blonde beauties with a score by the legendary Brian Eno, but a hapless script, oafish pacing, amateurish direction, and an outrageously inept male lead performance by one Costa Skouras, who kind of looks like a less likable Greek Jay Leno, anchor this piece of late night tv filler as the second feature on a dreary drive-in double bill, and I don't know about any of you, but I'd usually be in the back seat, pistoning into some weepy young devotchka's gutty-wuts like Bill Laimbeer with two fouls, by that time, and not inclined to pay much attention to whatever the hell was going on up on the big screen outside. Therein lies my beef here, you see, as a lifetime horror nut, I would have waived the backseat time on Pleasance and Cushing alone, only to witness...

 photo vlcsnap-2014-02-18-11h56m59s250_zps298e1d4f.jpg
"But your eyebrows bring me to squirting climax..." quips Milo's squeeze (Jane Lyle).
On a remote Greek isle, nosy couples have been going missing while monkeying around some delapidated ruins, leading local priest, Father Roche(Pleasance), to surmise that something or someone sinister has orchestrated the disappearances. When three more visiting tourists vanish, Roche sends off a letter to New York, where his dubious detective pal, Milo (Skouras), is shacked up with a gorgeous blonde (Lyle), urging him to drop his metropolitan affairs and fly to Greece immediately and assist him in investigating the strange goings-on. When Milo inevitably arrives on the scene, he naturally slags off Roche's every suggestion as superstitious rubbish, causing the padre to wildly overreact to Milo's imaginary lead foot while driving (shoddy editing shows the car barely coasting). Then there's Laurie (Luan Peters), the distraught girlfriend of one of the missing men, who classically catches an ill-timed backhander across the face-piece when Milo misses his mark in a dramatic exchange gone awry.

 photo vlcsnap-2014-02-18-11h33m21s182_zps3273ddb0.jpg
"But I don't wanna 'come on and zoom-ah-zoom-ah-zoom-ah-zoom'!"
Enter Baron Corofax (Cushing), on exile from the Carpathians and heading a really splendid Minoan cult of Satan-worshipping pagans (eh, like I said earlier, the script is foggy) who wear satin robes and hoods and enjoy sacrificing people by the two's to an over-sized golden minotaur statue that talks and repeatedly blows flames out of it's nostrils. So there's that. Corofax also enjoys being chauffeured around the island in a limousine and bullying non-believers with a shotgun. Of course, Roche and Milo get themselves captured and dragged off to the cult's fancy subterranean digs, where the priest's visual premonitions of being shanked in the armpit on an altar nearly come true, except that he's equipped with a gaudy homemade-looking cross and container of holy water, which just so happens to be the only effective weapon against these nearly invincible evil-doers and their full moon-only time frame. You could almost predict exactly what's gonna happen in the climax, if you gave enough of a shit, that is...

 photo vlcsnap-2014-02-18-11h57m45s203_zpscade32ec.jpg
"That is correct. Write a proper screenplay and I shan't be forced to blow your head off."
You'll remember Jane Lyle as the impossibly hot blonde lead in the Greek-lensed Island of Death the previous year. In fact, Bob Behling and Jessica Dublin, both also from the cult classic cast, are aboard here, but forgive my momentary lapse into a fucking caveman at the prospect of Ms. Lyle and her seldom seen-but-breathtaking physical endowments for a second, when I say yes, yes I most certainly would. She was a Top Five dish of the decade in my book. You're all entitled to your own personal favorites, but she was sweetly pretty, and I want to protect her. In my hypothetical drive-in trip earlier, I'd opted out of the back windshield steam for the sake of the big names involved, and ultimately, that particular sacrifice would not have been worth it, given the failure of the motion picture to generate little else but unintentional laughs. On the scale, Men manages a mere single Wop. Approach with caution.

 photo devils_men_katarinas_nightmare_theater_scorpion_dvd_00-58-43_cap05_zpscb1cc508.jpg
Dig Donald's "I'm about to be shivved for Satan" expression.
 photo nu1w_zpsb81401ad.jpg

No comments:

Connect with Facebook