Goat sex, goat killing, lesbian sex, lesbian murder, blowtorch murder, rape: just some of the reasons the conservative UK censors decided that Nico Mastorakis' exploitation horror/sex film 'Island of Death' wasn't really what they wanted the good folks of Britain to be watching back in the day. Unlike many of the other so-called 'video nasties' from that time, 'Island of Death' is actually pretty light on the gore front, but it's the amoral motivations of the couple Christopher and Celia (Bob Belling and Jane Ryall) and particularly the treatment of women that clearly troubled the censor at the time and there are moments that still continue to shock. Politically incorrect is an apt description of 'Island of Death', but most horrors have been accused of that in their time. 'I Spit On Your Grave' and 'Straw Dogs' fell foul of the censors primarily because of the rape scenes. 'Cannibal Holocaust' was considered a no go on a number of levels, as was the film that inspired Mastorakis: 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', which he saw and (realising the huge profit that Tobe Hooper's now classic had made for such a low budget) decided to try the same.
As an exploitation piece, you can see why 'Island of Death' has gained such a cult following and fans won't be disappointed by Arrow's release. For a low budget, forty year-old film, this fully uncut 2K restoration looks pretty darn impressive. In the booklet notes, Arrow list extensive comments regarding the restoration, including the fact that Reel 5 of the original negative was heavily damaged whilst still in its can, and that there are 'regular occurrences of density fluctuation, flicker, and discolouration as well as noticeable dirt, debris and scratches. There are also a few points during this reel where frames had been lost due to this damage, and we have inserted these frames from a previous SD transfer to make these sections complete'. Arrow had done a great job dealing with this kind of damage to the original and the overall viewing of the film wasn't particularly affected for this reviewer.
As you'd expect with an Arrow release, the special features are extensive and illuminating and add to a package that should be popular with fans of the film who have waited a long time to see Mastorakis' challenging, sometimes amusing, but unforgettable exploitation classic finally arrive fully uncut.
This review is for the Blu-ray due for release from 25th May 2015 from Arrow Video
Nico Mastorakis' cult exploitation classic of a murderous couple on Mykonos finally arrives fully uncut in this excellent 2K restoration from Arrow Video.