Nico Mastorakis has been making horror films for decades, and I’ve already covered The Zero Boys, so I figured it was time to clean house and cover some of his others from back in the day. So let’s take a look at Island of Death, The Wind, and Nightmare at Noon.
ISLAND OF DEATH (1976)
Supposedly Mastorakis was inspired to quickly slap this film together just to make money after seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He clearly learned nothing about what makes horror work.
For starters, the film drags with too many montage scenes featuring the absolute worst in sappy no frills 1970s ballads. Second, there is no horror atmosphere. This is an exploitation torture and murder film that takes place almost entirely in the bright sunlight of a Greek island.
You simply have to judge for yourself if the film is making a moral statement against gays, women, sex, non-whites, hippies, etc., or if it’s demonstrating that God-loving white, blond heterosexuals are the real perverse monsters.
A white blond heterosexual couple comes to stay on a Greek island, and quickly shows how perverse they are, especially the man, from making his mother listen to them fuck over the phone to fucking a goat and then killing it.
All the while the man points out all the perverts on the island that need to die because, you know, God.
The couple kills them all while photographing their work. If only they had social media back in the 1970s they would have posted that shit, gone viral, and been caught sooner.
The insanity includes terrorizing an embarrassingly stereotypical gay couple that lands this movie on my does the gay guy die? page. While one queen runs off to be chased by the man, the other is held back by the woman and lustfully sucks the barrel of her gun. Ridiculous.
A lesbian is drugged and burned, a slutty MILF is pissed on and beaten, a black detective the refer to as the n word is tied to a plane with a noose and taken for a ride, and the only apparent depth to the plot is that the woman begins to have second thoughts about what they’re doing.
For the grand finale, the man, who has a great ass, gets to feel all the pain he’s inflicted on others…along with getting ass-raped and farted on.
Yet despite all those heinous situations, I found this film boring as hell.
THE WIND (1986)
It’s quite satisfying to see Meg Foster as the femme fatale to Wings Hauser at his most psychotic, but would you believe me if I said they are both upstaged by the wind in The Wind?
Meg plays a mystery author who rents a little house on the edge of the water in an exotic location. The eccentric old man she rents it from warns her to beware the power of the winds at night and to make sure to stay inside.
The film wastes no time in getting to the point. Wings is a neighbor who pops in, acts exceptionally weird…and yet Meg still engages in a casual conversation with him about murder.
By that night, as the wind howls around the house, Meg becomes convinced Wings has murdered someone and buried them in the dirt outside. She constantly voices the running commentary of thoughts in her mind to herself as if narrating a plot of one of her novels. Soooooo…as a cat and mouse game plays out between the pair for the entire film, we are left wondering if all this shit is just in her head. Some really noticeable plot holes and inconsistencies along the way add to our doubt.
There’s plenty of suspense, atmosphere, fog, and dramatic lighting, the kind of bizarre twists you expect from Euro horror, and even a body count despite the focus being on only two characters. Plus, horror veteran Steve Railsback brings his talents to one of the best segments of the film.
But as I said before, in the end the wind is most definitely the star.
NIGHTMARE AT NOON (1988)
An 80s b-movie cast doesn’t get much better than Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, George Kennedy, and Brion James.
Brion gets us right into the sinister sci-fi feel as an evil albino scientist dumping poison into the water in a small town as part of an experiment.
Wings Hauser and Kimberly Beck of Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter are traveling in an RV. They pick up hitchhiker Bo Hopkins. They stop at a diner. A crazed patron stabs the waitress before immersing the main characters in a long chase with cars, guns, motorcycles…
Supposedly this is a sort of remake of the awesome zombie film Mutant, which also stars Hauser and Hopkins. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, just watch Mutant.
Considering the title, Nightmare at Noon takes place almost entirely in daylight, which shows how bad the green face paint is on the mere handful of infected we actually get to see. It makes the blue paint jobs in Dawn of the Dead look like good makeup.
With the semi-horror segment out of the way, the second half of the film turns into a shootout in the desert on horses between the main characters and the scientist and his goons. There’s even a damn helicopter chase.
I repeat–Watch Mutant.