Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 7th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Greece, 1974
Director: Kostas Karagiannis
Writer: Thanos Leivaditis
Cast: Lakis Komninos, Dorothy Moore, Vagelis Seilinos, Dimitris Bislanis, Fragoulis Fragoulis, Jane Paterson, Leslie Bowman, Efi Cosma, Haris Nezos, Giorgos Oikonomou, Napoleon Ruditis
DVD released: January 3rd, 2006
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Video Asia
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.99
Synopsis: A maniac sex killer is on loose. A husband is a loveless marriage is pressured by his mistress to leave his wife. Not wanting to lose the life he has become accustomed to. The husband uses the recent sex killings to help him cover up his wife’s murder.
Death Kiss was directed by Kostas Karagiannis (Land of the Minotaur) a prolific Greek director who’s output almost rivals Jess Franco’s in sheer number of films. Death Kiss was originally released in Greece under the title Eglima sto Kavouri two years before it was imported for release in the U.S. under the title The Rape Killer. Another English language title for the film is the amusingly titled He Murdered his Wife. The U.S. Release is about eighty minutes long while the original Greek release is reportedly about eighty seven minute in length.
The structure of the story and the killer for Death Kiss bears many similarities that are prominent in Italian thrillers. The plot features adultery, blackmail, rape, murder, nudity and a double cross twist ending. The film is nicely paced with the sex and violence spread out enough to allow the plot to unfold without over shadowing it. Another area where the narrative excels is its depiction of the husband wanting to dispose of his rich wife and trying to disguise with the other rape/killings happening at the same time remains interesting throughout.
Visually Director Kostas Karagiannis creates some very stylish moments like the dream sequence. And of course when it comes to the sleazier moments his visuals do a superb job accentuating the more than ample assets of the female cast members. From a performance stand point the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles. With Vagelis Seilinos performance in the role of the sex maniac stealing the show. Also the film also features a groovy score that is reminiscent of the style often employed in Italian crime films. Ultimately Death Kiss is a satisfying thriller that exploitation and Giallo fans are sure to thoroughly enjoy.
The transfer for Death Kiss like most budget label DVD that are sourced from VHS or other dubious sources does not look that good. There are compression and artifacts issues. Colors look blown out and details look very soft. There is also some very noticeable edge enhancement that is present throughout. Judging by the framing of the image it looks slightly cropped. I would guess that the films actually aspect ratio should be closer to a 1.66:1 aspect ratio.
The audio for this release is a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The film’s original language was Greek. The audio mix for this release is the English dubbed audio created for the Joseph Brenner Associates U.S. theatrical release. Outside of some distortion issues the audio sounds clean and easy enough to follow.
Death Kiss is released as part of Video Asia’s Terror Tales double features DVD series. The other feature included with Death Kiss is a forgettable Hong Kong vampire comedy Jiang shi yi sheng under the title Dr. Vampire. Overall there is no extra content and both films included with this release come with poor audio/video presentations.