"The one for which he will be remembered"





One-man Greek exploitation factory Nico Mastorakis was still a newcomer at the height of the golden era of cinematic Island of Deathsex and violence when he made this oddball shocker, which still confounds most viewers and remains difficult to assess. Essentially unseen in America until its debut on DVD, the film was infamous in the UK as a video nasty (even in censored form as A Craving for Lust) and encountered censorship hassles in numerous countries. Seen today its mixture of softcore T&A (of which there is plenty) and sadistic violence doesn't seem all that unusual, though the twisted details make all the difference.

On the island of Mykonos, new arrivals Christopher (Behling) and Celia (Lyle) are looking for a place to stay and find temporary shelter at a B&B run by a flamboyant American man in makeup. The couple commemorate their luck by calling up Christopher's mom in a phone booth while they have sex, which triggers an alert for the police trying to catch him. The following morning she rebuffs him in bed, which sends Christopher off to the garden to ravage and slaughter a goat (the film's most infamous scene, thankfully very simulated and ridiculous). The whole thing is framed as a flashback in Christopher's head as he's lying in the sun dying, so we know something worse is still in store -- and indeed, that's what happens as the pair (whose true relationship is even more twisted than it first appears) start brutally murdering off both locals and fellow tourists, often after copulating with them and taking photos of the mayhem for their personal enjoyment.

The film basically exists as a catalog of calculated outrages against victims deemed "sinful" by our pair of psychopaths, ranging from a rooftop crucifixion for a poor French artist to attacking a gay couple with a pistol and samurai sword. Mastorakis has Island of Deathopenly claimed he made the film to cash in on the wave of extreme horror films coming out at the time, particularly The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, though tonally it seems like he's aiming for something closer to Last House on the Left. However, the execution is often baffling; it never even tries to be frightening, often feeling closer to a black comedy gone completely off the rails. At times it also recalls the flat, mean-spirited tone of later Island of DeathH.G. Lewis like The Gore Gore Girls, delivering as many exploitable elements as possible (including a bizarre golden shower moment that must be seen to be believed) while mixing the avenging angel aspect to morally confuse things even more. Later seen in a number of bit parts in American films like The Enforcer and Cujo before his very gruesome real-life suicide, Behling is actually a pretty strong presence throughout the film with Lyle (who reteamed with him in another Greek-shot horror film, Land of the Minotaur) alternating between flailing awkwardness and charming naivete. Mastorakis would go on to make far more polished and traditionally entertaining films (most notably The Wind, Blind Date, and the nutty The Zero Boys), but this is most likely the one for which he will be remembered among cult movie buffs.


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...There are several same sex love scenes in the film and I understand many of the cast were not professional actors. How did you persuade them to perform in those scenes?


 Most of them had done it before in other movies, remember that in the seventies the Greek industry was thriving with soft porn films. All of the actors who had to do nudity or soft sex scene, had a blast doing them, as we laughed a lot before and after each take. See, as dark as the theme of the movie was, the mood on the set was nothing but constant laughs and jokes.


The late Jessica Dublin was a professional actress and was in her fifties when she did this. Her love scene is unlike anything she’s ever done before. How was she persuaded to take the role and how difficult was that scene to shoot?


 I don’t remember having to “persuade” anyone. Jessica had worked with me before in “Death Has Blue Eyes” and demanded I give her a part in IOD. I wrote her part specifically for her and after she had called several times to demand that she’s part of the cast. Besides, I used her favoured brand of tea for the golden shower scene!


She then spends several shots lying beneath the blade of a bulldozer blade and from a safety aspect that must have been scary both for you and her ?


 The blade was secured in such a way that couldn’t go lower than the safety limit. Even when both Jessica and the moving blade are in the shot, hidden from camera is a metal barrier that would stop the blade even if the operator (who wasn’t Bob, of course) screwed up. I had shown her how it works

and she felt very comfortable with it. And she laughed when, before the take, I said “… and, Jessica darling, if anything goes terribly wrong, don’t lose your

head over it...