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Mostly dull... then unexpectedly brilliant, in a scuzzy sort of way
on 26 August 2011
Smut merchant D'Amato's mad, bad monster of a video nasty deserves to finally be released from the censor's dungeon. It's a mostly dull slasher movie, with a well-heeled bunch of boring suburbanites wandering around a creepy island while an unseen, heavy-breathing lurker spies on them from the bushes.
But it's in the last half hour that the film's infamous reputation is justified, as an onslaught of hardcore (if rubbery) graphic violence unfolds, including the notorious foetus-eating scene, a truly nauseating piece of cinema. As Nikos The Beast lifts the bloody unborn child to his slavering lips, the cinematography dank and murky, the music score a pounding headache, for the briefest moment the film reaches the same heights/depths of scuzzy horror brilliance as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, pure undiluted terror.
As The Beast, Eastman makes for a formidable hulking presence, his shock hair and madman's eyes with workman's fatigues crafting a simple but effective horror icon, on a par with Myers or Vorhees, while that final shot of him attempting to eat his own intestines is as unforgettable a genre image as Leatherface swinging his chainsaw at the setting sun.
Make sure you have the full, uncut version, best enjoyed with an appropriate quantity of beer. A distribution company (Arrow Video maybe?) really should attempt to resubmit this to the BBFC for a 21st century Blu ray release, as gruelling as it is in parts there are far worse depictions of extreme violence currently available on these shores.