Island of Death (1975) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I can state unequivocally that Island of Death is the Citizen Kane of goat-fucking films. In fact, I'll go farther than that. It stands heads and tails above almost any other film involving bestiality with any kind of barnyard animal, excepting only Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex ...".

The best thing about the Island of Death DVD is the refreshingly honest interview with director Nico Mastorakis. Many people who make exploitation movies of this type try to rationalize their film by talking about what they were trying to say about the human condition, or the kind of artistic statement they were trying to make. Mastorakis says nothing of the kind. He made this film to make a buck. Making exploitation movies was a much more interesting way to make a living than fishing, and it seemed to be lucrative as well. Mastorakis saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and didn't much like it, but knew that it grossed millions worldwide despite a mere $100,000 production budget. That impressed him, because he felt capable of making a film with a much more professional appearance, with far more sensationalism and a vast amount of nudity, all while spending far less money. Logically, he felt that he could gross even more than Chainsaw Massacre with a smaller investment.

I think he was right. I can only repeat his own words about the financials - he spent $30,000 and grossed millions, but I can vouch for the rest of his claims. He made a movie that looks professional, and one that was about as sensationalistic as anything could be in 1975 and still be screened commercially.

It starts out like an Audrey Hepburn movie, with a handsome young couple staring into one another's eyes as they sail into a dock on the pastoral Greek island of Mykonos, an island filled with lovely, immaculately whitewashed buildings, colorful hard-working locals, and foreign tourists. Street buskers gambol, the locals engage in good-natured horseplay, and our young stars hold hands, smile, and snap pictures. Their first day on Mykonos is routine. They find a place to stay, then they have dinner with a friendly local painter, a repast peppered with witty, near-Wildean badinage like this:

Girl: Oh, I love painters.

Painter: I sure painter love you too.

That gets us about 25 minutes into the film with nothing very sinister transpiring.

The next morning however, is decidedly different. The young man wakes up and feels like sex, but his partner is not interested, so he steps outside, finds a goat happily cavorting in a flower bed, picks it up and caresses it as one would a kitten. Then the caresses become much steamier, and soon is he humping the bejeezus out of the goat.

This is where the film departs from Woody Allen's conception of bestiality. Instead of seeing the goat light up a cigarette, we see the guy with a big knife, slashing the goat with it about fifty times, with blood spurting everywhere.

When he is finished, he goes for a little walk and sees his female partner having sex with the painter from the previous night's dinner. So he does what most of us would do in the same circumstances:

1. Takes a lot of pictures.

2. Waits for them to finish the sex act.

3. Forgives his lover

4. Crucifies the painter.

5. Makes the crucified painter drink his own whitewash.

That pretty much sets the tone of the film. The young couple proceeds to dispose of much of the local population because the simple islanders do not meet the couple's high moral standards. The two of them kill some gay guys because they are gay. Then they kill some lesbians because they are lesbians. Then they kill a very horny old woman because she tries to seduce our hero. Then they kill a woman because she is taking a shower. I never did figure that one out. I don't think they were opposed to cleanliness, so I guess the victim must have been the same woman that our hero saw earlier, making love to a man who was not her husband.

In the course of their killing spree, they manage to come up with some interesting tortures. One of the gay guys is killed by being sliced up with a cavalry sword. The other gay guy has to suck a gun barrel until it goes off, or maybe I should say "gets off". A hippie is killed with a spear gun. One of the lesbians has her face burned off with a makeshift torch consisting of aerosol deodorant and a candle. The horny old woman is covered with urine, then decapitated with a bulldozer. A detective is dragged along behind an airplane, then hanged by his neck from the airplane, then dropped from a dizzying height.

You know. Good wholesome family entertainment.

SPOILERS COMING (not that it matters, unless you are watching this for the plot)

The whole thing eventually comes crashing down on our lovers. Discovered, they have to run from the authorities on foot. We find out that they are bother and sister as well as lovers. They are given refuge by a mute goatherd who feeds them, then sodomizes each of them in turn, then beats the brother senseless, ties his legs, and throws him into a pit of lime. As the film ends, we see the simple goatherd rutting away with the sister while the brother is being burned to death in the lime pit during a flash t-storm.


Like his fellow grade-z filmmaker, Jess Franco, Mastorakis created some of his own original music for the film. Actually, someone else wrote the music, and Mastorakis wrote the lyrics, but it sounds precisely like a Greek version of the music in a Franco film. The theme song - a haunting love ballad called Get the Sword (Kill them all) - was a surprising hit in the US top 40 in 1975, knocking The Eagles from their normal perch at #1 for six weeks.

No, it wasn't really in the top 40. I'm just fuckin' witcha. It's a wailing cabaret-style number which nobody has ever heard outside the film, at least so far as I know.

The actors are mostly amateurs who wanted to "be in the movies." Jane Ryall, who played the sister of the brother-sister psychopaths, was actually the daughter of the local representative for Black and Decker on the island of Mykonos. It is said of many actresses that they have "all the tools". Jane not only had the tools, but could get them to you at affordable prices. Ryall delivers what is unquestionably the finest naked acting performance ever given by the daughter of a local manufacturer's rep. She never worked in cinema before or after this film, and Mastorakis suggests that she probably returned to normal life, raising children and selling dependable power tools. Robert Behling, who played the brother, did stay in the film industry, but was a troubled man who finally took his own life in a way very similar to the crazy deaths in this film. The goatherd, who had no lines, was actually played by a rather famous Greek actor who is still working today, after 47 years in the business.

Island of Death DVD Uncut and Uncensored

  • fullscreen, apparently full frame. Good transfer remastered under the director's supervision

  • 17 minute director interview

  • isolated original songs

 As for the goat ... Mastorakis said that they neither hurt it nor fucked it, but did sedate it for a while. If you believe his account, it woke up from its ordeal and returned to eating flowers, romping in the foothills, and other normal caprine activity.

The DVD box tries to convince us that this film was banned in many countries, and that the pictures from the film are too explicit to be shown on the box. I don't know about the bans, but if it really made as much money as Mastorakis claims, it couldn't have been banned that widely. As for the content, well, the concepts are disgusting, but neither the sex nor the violence is shown explicitly on camera. Contrary to what you might expect, the film is shot almost entirely in sunlit exteriors and in bright interiors filled with gay pastel decor. The tone is kind of breezy, and the island of Mykonos looks great - sunny and inviting.

The typical scene goes like this:

We see a man's face, a knife in his hand descends from his ear level then back up again, blood spurts in his face. We see a goat, dead (asleep?), covered in blood, but no visible wounds or exposed internal organs.

In the succeeding quarter of a century, many filmmakers have gone far beyond what Mastorakis did in 1975. They could easily have shown many scenes from the film on the DVD box. The claims on the box are pure exploitation. Once a con man, always a con man.


all three b's from star Jane Ryall. Buns and balls from star Robert Behling

lots of nudity from unnamed extras (the film has no closing credits)

The Critics Vote

  • No major reviews. IMDb has some reviews from genre reviewers.

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's crap, but I guess it is a C, in that it's a solid example of 70's exploitation. Demented, well-photographed, creative, sensationalistic. That C is for a narrow audience, however. If you are not into goat-fucking and crucifixion, pass on this one.

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