The Devil’s Men – US, UK, Greece, 1976

‘Half man – half-beast. Trapped in a world forgotten by time’

The Devil’s Men is a 1976 American-British-Greek horror film directed by Kostas Karagiannis from a screenplay by Arthur Rowe. It stars Donald Pleasence, Peter Cushing, Kostas Karagiorgis, Luan Peters (Vampira; The Flesh and Blood Show; Twins of Evil), Jane Lyall (Island of Death), Robert Behling [as Bob Behling] (Island of Death).

In the US, nudity was removed and it was released theatrically by Crown International Pictures as Land of the Minotaur to cash-in on the success of the Amicus production The Land That Time Forgot.

Tourists visiting a Greek archaeological site are being abducted by a strange cult, intent on providing their God – the Minotaur – with sacrifice. Irish priest Father Roche (Donald Pleasence) enlists the help of former pupil and a private detective to find out what has happened to them…

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Reviews:

Land of the Minotaur has very little to recommend it except for the presence of Cushing and Pleasance, so you have to believe they took this gig just to take advantage of a holiday in Greece. At least Luan Peters, one of the sexiest and underused of the British horror film heroines (she had small parts in Hammer’s Lust for a Vampire and Twins of Evil) gets to wear hot pants and screams a lot. The direction, photography and sound recording are all very crude, and the plot is as predictable and unimaginative as they come.” DVD Drive-In

 

“The film, however, takes itself so seriously, that the overly earnest scenes that involve theology come off as clownish, as supposed to deep and contemplative. The fact that the scene where Karagiannis and Pleasence take turns calming a hysteric Luan Peters using the face slapping technique reminded of a gag from Airplane! didn’t help matters, either.” House of Self Indulgence

“Donald Pleasence is the only one to struggle with some conviction in this preposterous story which mixes witchcraft and living dead myths with the inevitable touch of exorcism … Even if his praiseworthy efforts enable him to save Luan Peters from the (expected) sacrifice, it is not enough to save the film from disaster.” Pierre Jouis, Ten Years of Terror

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“Fifties formulary with Seventies trimmings.” BFI Monthly Film Bulletin

“Considering the talent involved in this production, it is surprising just how inept the finale product is. The film’s is tediously paced, there is absolutely no tension and the haphazard plot is downright confusing and not in good way. Another area in which this film is a letdown are the way in which the deaths are depicted onscreen, they are virtually devoid of blood and to put it bluntly very tame.” 10k Bullets

“Pleasence, with his cod-accent, furiously overacts in every scene; Cushing on the other hand, opts to underplay – at least in the early scenes – and demonstrates how stillness can create a sense of icy menace. Sadly, it is not an effect that is sustained throughout and the Baron soon descends into formula. By then, the film has become mired in a narrative that seems to be stuck in first gear…” John Hamilton, X-Cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film: 1971 – 1983

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Cast and characters:

  • Donald Pleasence as Father Roche
  • Peter Cushing as Baron Corofax
  • Kostas Karagiorgis (credited Costas Skouras) as Milo Kaye
  • Luan Peters as Laurie Gordon
  • Fernando Bislamis as Dimitris Bislanis as Sgt. Vendris
  • George Venlis as Max
  • Vanna Reville as Beth
  • Nikos Verlekis as Ian
  • Robert Behling [as Bob Behling] as Tom Gifford
  • Anna Matzourani as Mrs. Mikaelis
  • Christina as Grocer’s daughter
  • Anestis Vlakos as Shopkeeper – Karapades
  • George Vevus as Chauffeur
  • Jane Lyle as Milo’s Girlfriend
  • Meira as Maid
  • Jessica Dublin (credited Jessica) as Mrs. Zagros – frantic woman at police station
  • Efi Cosma as First Victim Girl
  • Lambrinos as First Victim Boy

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