Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 12th, 2012
Theatrical Release Dates: UK / USA / Greece, 1977 (Land Of The Minotaur), 1970 (Blood Mania)
Directors: Kostas Karagiannis (Land Of The Minotaur), Robert Vincent O’Neill (Blood Mania)
Cast:Donald Pleasence, Peter Cushing, Luan Peters, Kostas Karagiorgis, Dimitris Bislanis, Anna Matzourani, Jessica Dublin (Land Of The Minotaur), Peter Carpenter, Maria De Aragon, Vicki Peters, Reagan Wilson, Jacqueline Dalya, Leslie Simms, Eric Allison, Arell Blanton, Alex Rocco, Reid Smith, Chris Marconi (Blood Mania)
DVD released: June 19th, 2012
Approximate running time: 86 minutes (Land Of The Minotaur), 80 minutes (Blood Mania)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: PG (Land Of The Minotaur), R (Blood Mania)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.99
Land Of The Minotaur: Devil worshipers kidnap victims for a sacrificial ritual.
Land Of The Minotaur was directed by Kostas Karagiannis (Death Kiss) a prolific Greek filmmaker who’s output almost rivals Jess Franco’s in sheer number of films. When released in the U.S. by Crown International, The Devil’s Men was released under the title Land of the Minotaur. And just like the aforementioned Death Kiss, the U.S. release for The Devil’s Men was cut down from its original length, with about nine minutes being trimmed. The Devil’s Men’s eerie score was composed Brian Eno (Roxy Music).
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.
In a film where virtually everything goes wrong, it should not come as a surprise that the performances from its three main stars, Donald Pleasence (Halloween), Peter Cushing (The Horror of Dracula) and Luan Peters (The Flesh and Blood Show) are all just as bland and uninspired as the story at hand. Ultimately The Devil’s Men is a convoluted tale about Satanism that never figures out where it wants to go or what it is really trying to achieve.
Blood Mania: The daughter of a wealthy businessman convinces her ailing fathers Doctor to help speed up his demise.
Blood Mania was directed by Robert Vincent O’Neill, who’s other notable films include, The Psycho Lover, Angel and Avenging Angel. Other notable contributors on Blood Mania include its cinematographers Robert Maxwell (Point of Terror, The Candy Snatchers, The Centerfold Girls) and Gary Graver (Invasion of the Bee Girls, The Toolbox Murders) and co-screenwriter Peter Carpenter, who also happens to be the star of Blood Mania.
Content wise, Blood Mania has all the ingredients one would want and expect from a Horror film. The film features a strong premise, the narrative is well constructed and pacing is never an as things move along at a good momentum. And just how much mileage that one can get out of Blood Mania, really depends on one’s state of mind while watching this sleazy exploitation film. For instance, if you go into this film expecting a story rooted in substance, then you have come to the wrong place. On the other hand, if you are just looking for some good old fashion exploitation cinema, then you have come to the right place.
From a production stand point one of this film’s strongest assets are its visuals. Which at times have a Film Noir like vibe going on and other times they venture into the psychedelic realm. The performances in the film are best described as adequate. With this film’s most memorable performance being Maria De Aragon (The Cremators) in the role of Victoria Waterman, the ailing businessman’s nympho daughter.
Both film’s included as part of this double feature are presented in an anamorphic widescreen. Of the two transfers, Blood Mania fares a lot better and the end result for this transfer is very good. The transfer for Land Of The Minotaur at times looks pretty rough, especially when compared to Scorpion Releasing’s transfer for the film under the title The Devil’s Men.
Each film comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Though both audio tracks are rather limited range wise. They are no major issues with background noise and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Blood Mania (1 minute 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a interview with actress Vicki Peters (9 minutes 59 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and an audio commentary for Blood Mania with director Robert Vincent O’Neill and actress Leslie Simms.
The interview with Vickie Peters discusses working with her co-stars and director Robert Vincent O’Neill and what it was like to die onscreen. Topics covered in the audio commentary include the visual look of the film, the score, the film’s main location and why they had to switch cinematographers. Other extras include trailers for Family Honor, The Last Chase, The Babysitter, Mardi Grass Massacre, The Redeemer and Nightmare.
Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Watch the Movie Only’ or ‘Watch the Movie with Maria!’. This first option allows you to watch each movie separately, while the second option plays the films back to back and this option has three segments with Maria Kanellis, one before the film, another in the middle and the last one after the second feature ends. These segments are in line with the ones that she has done with previous B-Movie Mayhem releases.
Overall this is another strong double feature release from Code Red.