Saturday, June 27, 2015

Island of Death (Arrow Blu-ray) - Destination Understanding, Destination Sleaze Fest Blu-ray

Oh Island of Death how I adore thee. When I read that some of you cannot appreciate it’s comedy shock perfection mixed with some over the top gratuity and near softcore porn aesthetic I weep for this generation. Guys, Island of Death is a trip, completely a fun time. Perhaps we should lay it all on the table. You haven’t heard of Island of Death but you like movies featuring sex and violence and sometimes sex with goats.. sort of… well this is the movie for you. This is the movie that will live in infamy directed by Nico Mastorakis and created to capitalize on the kind of death and chaos featured in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s the one that made Greek Horror cool (though admittedly the pool of movies is rather shallow). Arrow Video had previously released a DVD of Island of Death and now we get an HD transfer from the camera negative that looks stunning.

The best part about Island of Death is its ability to surprise you. One minute you think you’re following a pair of holy rollers, loving the good book and worshipping Jesus Christ. The next minute… someone’s fucking a goat. The next minute someone’s having sex with their wife while on the phone with his mother (and there’s even a more complex twist to that mindbender). One minute the bible is being thumped like a rug. The next… Sodom and Gomorrah. Nothing safe. No taboo unchecked. Faces will be burned off. Women will be urinated on. Gay men will be forced to fellate guns. It’s all on the table. The end will surprise you. It has to. There’s no way it can’t surprise you, but it might also turn you on. In fact the hardest thing about watching Island of Death is trying to figure out if you’re turned on, disgusted, both or something altogether new. It’s like watching horror porn without the hardcore and artistic with great music.

Now on to the extra package because you already know that you need to watch it at least once because of my laundry list of atrocities and perversions above. The best damn thing this Blu-ray has to offer besides a brilliant cover, an expert transfer and a messed up movie is the offering of several of the original songs for the movie. That’s right! You can listen to Destination on your Blu-ray player! You can jam out during your very own island themed party (no goats allowed) as you eat Greek food around your pool and drink cocktails out of paint cans (Pina Coladas look like paint, right?). It’s seriously fantastic stuff.  Beyond that there is ample history from Stephen Thrower about the making of Island of Death and the career of Nico Mastorakis. I love listening to Thrower talk about film history and it’s a lengthy discussion. You get either traditional artwork or the updated artwork from… Graham friggin Humphreys. He’s just the best and his work for Island of Death breaths perfect insanity.

Island of Death is an exercise in excess and dichotomy wrapped in sexual fantasy and debauch. It’s filled with some fairly bad acting which only serves to accentuate the gonzo feel of the movie. It’s a movie to laugh at and a movie that most undoubtedly will lead to self-reflection and questioning. Are you the sort of person who wants to be known as a pervert for watching one of the real Video Nasties? It’s a movie that wasn’t made to freak you out or gross you out but rather to put asses in the seats; to make money. Check your artistic interpretation at the door and prepare to enjoy yourself while feeling completely dirty about watching this one.  Great job, Arrow. You turned us all into sexual offenders with one viewing.

Order this filth now before somebody talks you out of it.

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  Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by writer-director-producer Nico Mastorakis
  High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  Exploring Island of Death – film historian Stephen Thrower on the making of a cult classic
  Return to Island of Death – Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations
  Archive interview with Mastorakis
  Alternative opening titles
  Island Sounds – five original tracks from the Island of Death soundtrack
  Original Theatrical Trailer
  The Films of Nico Mastorakis – four-part documentary charting the director’s filmmaking career [Blu-ray only]
  Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel [Blu-ray only]
  Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker

From Arrow:

Welcome to Mykonos, the holiday destination of choice for sun, sea and slaughter! From cult director Nico Mastorakis, Island of Death is a travelogue of atrocities with scenes so strong that the British Government was once compelled to ban it as a “video nasty”.

Arriving on the idyllic Greek island, Christopher and Celia appear to be every inch the perfect, handsome young couple. Little do the welcoming locals realise that they are in fact a pair of murderous degenerates, determined to spread their own particular brand of perversion across the island. DIY crucifixions, opportunistic bestiality, sexual peeing and murder by all conceivable forms ensue – including death by makeshift blowtorch, samurai sword, dump truck and more!

Shocking, brutal and totally politically incorrect in its outlook, Island of Death is a gruelling cinematic experience devised by director Mastorakis to out-do the excesses of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which he was hugely inspired by. Now fully uncut and newly-restored from the original negative, fans can enjoy Island of Death in all its sleazy, lurid glory.

Need a quick fix for a song from the movie? Look no further:

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