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ISLAND OF DEATH [a.k.a. A Craving for Lust; Devils in Mykonos] (1975).

If you've ever had to endure any of Niko Mastorakis' more recent rotgut, such as GLITCH! or NINJA ACADEMY, then this early, incredibly demented epic will be a revelation! Hey, the guy has a shred of talent after all! Plus, he does it all -- directing, writing, producing, and even co-writing the songs! Bob Belling and Jane Ryall star as a vacationing couple, Christopher and Celia, who visit a quaint Greek island, rent a house, and initially seem like ordinary, swinging thrill seekers, who enjoy having sex in a phone booth. But all of these rather innocent, initial impressions are shattered when Chris wanders outside one sunny morning, stumbles across a lost lamb, fucks it, and then slaughters the poor li'l thing with a handy knife! Yikes! Later, Celia seduces a local house painter, and screws him in a field as Christopher captures a few Kodak moments from afar. And together, they torture the poor guy by nailing his hands to the ground and force feeding him a bucket of paint. If that weren't enough (and it never is, is it?), they invade the home of a gay shop keeper (a "filthy creature"), while a middle-aged slut gets an unexpected golden shower from Chris and winds up decapitated by a bulldozer! There's also a black private eye on their trail, a creepy crime novelist, and a pair of degenerate hippies who rape Celia in her bathtub. Sure, this is all pretty stupid if you think about it for more than a moment (especially when nobody notices Chris chasing a guy through the middle of town with a sword), but it's also an evil romp that wallows in increasingly-ill carnage, all juxtaposed against its sunny, vacation locale. These two don't simply kill somebody -- they also have to burn their face off by lighting a handy aerosol bottle. Uggh. And I won't even give away some of the more dramatic plot points, including Niko Tsachiridis as an 'innocent' shepherd who comes to their aid when on the lam from the cops. Despite loads of nudity and sex, all of that is overshadowed by the non-stop, unrepentant sadism. And forget any subtlety! This is balls-out depravity for the sake of cheap thrills, as this kill-crazed couple helps God punish the perverse. Or as Christopher puts it, "I am his angel, with a flaming sword, sent to kill dirty worms." As for my favorite edit? How about cutting from brains spattered against a wall, to a close-up of a bowl of breakfast preserves? Without question, this is a four-star exercise in hardened, gratuitous sickness, on par with such Cruelty Classics as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.