‘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 written by Arthur Rowe.
The movie 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).
The soundtrack score was composed by Brian Eno while Paul Williams (Phantom of the Paradise) contributed the bombastic theme song.
In the US, the scenes with nudity were 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 a former pupil and a private detective to find out what has happened to them…
“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 a 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
“Fifties formulary with Seventies trimmings.” BFI Monthly Film Bulletin
“Land of the Minotaur has very little to recommend it except for the presence of Cushing and Pleasence, so you have to believe they took this gig just to take advantage of a holiday in Greece […] 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
“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
Cast and characters:
Donald Pleasence … Father Roche
Peter Cushing … Baron Corofax
Luan Peters … Laurie
Kostas Karagiorgis … Milo (as Costa Skouras)
Dimitris Bislanis … Sgt. Vendris (as Fernando Bislani) dubbed by Robert Rietty
Anna Matzourani … Widow – Mrs. Mikaelis (as Anna Mantzourani)
Christina … Grocer’s Daughter
Nikos Verlekis … Ian (as Nikos Verlel Verlekis)
Vanna Reville … Beth (as Gelsomina)
Bob Behling … Tom
Anestis Vlahos … Shopkeeper – Karapades
George Veulis … Chauffeur – Max (as George Vevlis)
Jane Lyle … Milo’s Girlfriend
Meira Shore … Maid (as Meira)
Jessica Dublin … Mrs Zagros (as Jessica)
Efi Kosma … First Victim Girl
Lambrinos … First Victim Boy