Friday, October 15, 2021


In a small Greek village, an attractive trio of young people (handsome Ian, blond Beth and hunky bearded Tom) arrive to study some ruins of an ancient temple located on the property of Baron Corofax (Peter Cushing, pictured), the local bigwig who can be both welcoming and stand-offish. The three spend the night with Father Roche (Donald Pleasance, with an on-again, off-again Irish accent) who knows Ian and Beth, and he warns them that other people who have come to study the ruins have vanished. Unconcerned, the three sneak off in the middle of the night to stay by the site. Early the next morning, Ian and Tom find a secret entrance to an elaborate cave which looks to have been the center of ritualistic activity. They are greeted by a giant stone statue of the Minotaur (a half-man, half-bull monster from Greek mythology) which spits flame and makes pronouncements, and are held by hooded figures to be used as sacrifices to the Minotaur. When Beth goes looking for them later, the same thing happens to her. A concerned Father Roche tries to get the local police involved but the chief doesn't care, even when Tom's girlfriend Laurie shows up worried about him, so Roche calls in a New York City detective of his acquaintance to investigate. As we already know from the film's opening scene, the Baron is the head of a satanic cult which worships the Minotaur--the statue is apparently possessed by a demon--and the entire village is in on it. What chance do a priest, a cop, and a young woman have fighting such evil?

As a relic of the 70s craze for demon movies, this is par for the course for a European B-film. Both Pleasance and Cushing seem a little low-key--one online reviewer wonders if they just signed on to get a Greek holiday--but they suffice. Costas Skouras is similarly average as the cop. The best you can say for the young people is that they're attractive, especially Nikos Verlekis as Tom. (In what is a first in my experience, the movie's credit roll--and therefore IMDb's credits as well--misidentifies two actors, claiming that Verlekis is Ian and that Bob Behling is Tom, when a check of actor credits and Google images shows clearly that dark, Grecian Verlekis is Tom and blondish American Behling is Ian).Scarier than the stone Minotaur is the young girl with the empty stare (early teens, I'd say) who serves as the executioner at the rituals. The Greek setting is nice and the final battle with Pleasance's crucifix versus Cushing's red robe is pulled off well. Little known but not bad. It includes a so-so electronic score by Brian Eno (!).This is a PG-rated cut of the movie known in Europe as THE DEVIL'S MEN; it's said to be missing about ten minutes of gore and sex and exposition. [DVD]

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

I was a little bit underwhelmed by this one, even though it seemed to have all the right ingredients.