Oh, Mills Creek, you let me down again. I was pretty excited when I saw that 1975’s Land of the Minotaur met my Satanic Halloween 2014 criteria because it has Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence. I’m not saying this is the worst Donald Pleasence movie I’ve ever seen–that honor goes to Puma Man–but it’s at least the second worst Donald Pleasence movie.
The movie’s set in a Greece Lite Europe-y country. Tourists are disappearing and Father Roche (Donald Pleasence) seems to know who’s behind it but the authorities are doing nothing.
Some inexplicably old 20-somethings visit him and he seems to know them. I’ll be damned if I can remember any of their names, all I know is that they drive a van that has “India,” “Pakistan,” and “Australia” written on it. Did they drive to all of those countries? Like all young people, they’re interested in archeology. Father Roche warns them to stay away from a place and there’s something involving a Settlers of Catan map and a napkin ring. They promise not to go and then they immediately go. They disappear and one of the guy’s girlfriend shows up. Her, Father Roche, and a private detective with Jim Jarmusch hair and Peter Gallagher eyebrows try to find the cult.
Mostly, they mill about a lot of different places and leave the woman behind.
It turns out that Baron Corofax (Peter Cushing) leads the cult. It looks like the Klan but with more polyester and maybe Frank Zappa.
They worship a statue of a minotaur that has a teeny dong and shoots flames out of its nose. Just like in ancient times! They also sacrifice humans with frosting knives.
Man, this movie. It sounds funny but it was really awful watching it. I watched with my best friend and I think we knew what was happening about a third of the time. People jump in and out of scenes and reference things that the audience never sees happen. Clearly, this movie has been cut to hell. Sometimes the results are intriguing, like that time I saw Seven Doors of Death before I knew who Lucio Fulci was or what The Beyond was. Even in the case of Seven Doors of Death, you can tell you’re missing some things but the characters still make sense and there’s still a plot. Pretty much everyone in this movie is interchangeable. I felt absolutely nothing for the characters. It’s impossible to worry about their fates because you don’t care about them anyway and any gore is ineptly done.
You know what’s weird, though? Brian Eno did the music. Yeah, that Brian Eno.
There are loads of eye shots in this movie, as much as in a Fulci film, but no stabbing. Just lots of significant glances but the audience has no clue what’s happening.
As a final indignity, the movie gives us this Face of Death.
My only comfort is that I just got a copy of Prince of Darkness and I know that is a much better Donald Pleasence movie.