Saturday, July 7, 2012
The Devil's Men (1976)
It took me some years to finally sit down and watch The Devil's Men (aka Land of the Minotaur), but when I got my hands on Scorpion's new DVD release I had to use some of my savings (and believe me, that's not much at all) to buy it. Even if Peter Cushing is a brilliant actor and an awesome character my favourite actor in this movie is the always enjoyable and colourful Donald Pleasence. He often did better work than Cushing in these obscure horror-jobs and took the chance to really use everything he learned as an actor and twist it a couple of times. Cushing mostly looks tired. Anyway...
Young couples is disappearing in Greece and when friends of a priest (Pleasence) also gets lost he sends after his friend Milo (Kostas Karagiorgis), who's a random tough guy/private detective/man of mystery/whatever.
starts an investigation and soon find out that more couples has disappeared
over the years, and everything is connected to the old pagan temple who's
around the corner. Is the suspicious Baron Corofax (Peter Cushing) involved
somehow? Is he the leader of an ancient cult worshipping the Minoatur? Well,
Most reviews I've read is quite negative, and in a way I can understand them. The script is all over the place, the direction is uneven, the actors ranges from really good to just very, very bad. BUT The Devil's Man also has a lot of atmosphere and a imaginative storyline filled with human sacrifices, nudity and bored acting by Cushing. Everything involving human sacrifice looks excellent, with sect members in colourful capes, a fire-blowing Minotaur statue, even some blood - and yes, the traditional fisheye objective to make everything look a little bit more distorted and fucked up, a nice seventies tradition.
Another fresh idea is to make the priest a really nice and fun guy, who enjoys young people and joking - good food and maybe some flirting, and still takes his job seriously. It's a nice departure from all the stiff priests I've seen. Only Donald Pleasence could have done it and it wouldn't surprise me if he created a lot of this character himself.
I've seen gorier movies than this one, but it has a couple of stabbings that looks okay and a sequence when several characters explode in pieces of blood, dust and flesh. That's about it. But the general style of the movie and the wild script makes it better than it people say it is. Another very odd thing is the score, composed by Brian Eno of all people! The song over the end credits is extremely good, I love satanic 70's rock - but I highly doubt that it's THE Paul Williams singing, it's very far from his voice and style. Anyone have an mp3 of this track?
The only bad movies are boring movies. This was a little bit boring, but overall a very fun and entertaining piece of Greek trash from the golden years. The DVD from Scorpion is, what I've heard, an "uncut" version that differs slightly from the other DVDs out there. I have no idea what's missing, but I'm so naive that a trust people and it's better I recommend this version to be on the safe side.
Yeah, that's about. A bad movie getting a bad review.