Written by: TheFecalKid
the eating of human flesh; cannibalism.
Now don't let this definition fool you. This is in no way a cannibal film, in the traditional sense. There are a handful of cannibal scenes, but not what you'd expect.
The movie begins when a pair of teenagers are killed on a beach in a somewhat disappointing opening sequence. The film then cuts to the main characters, a group of tourists who meet up with Julie (Tisa Farrow) on a tramway and decide to let her accompany them on their trip as she has the same destination to see her two teenage friends. You guessed it, the same two dispatched on the beach. This soon creates tension when Daniel (Mark Bodin) starts to fall for Julie, much to the annoyance of Carol (Zora Kerova). Also tagging along are pregnant Maggie (Serena Grandi), Arnold (Bob Larsen) who is Maggie's boyfriend or husband, and Andy (Saverio Vallone).
After they arrive on a deserted island, they wander around the many buildings and streets, finding various clues as to where the people of the island may have gone. At the same time, Maggie, who remained on the boat has gone missing. This leads to not only a really eerie shot of someone dragging her away, but one of the most infamous scenes in D'Amato's career, and probably the one that landed this film on the Video Nasties list. As they search later that night, Danny and Julie are investigating a basement when Rita (Margaret Mazzantini), a blind girl who is a friend of Julie's, pops out of a barrel with a knife, and proceeds to hack and slash the air, eventually giving Danny a nice graze.
Rita explains that something killed everyone on the island but her, because being blind, she has those stronger senses, and is able to hide when she senses him coming. This him is played by none other than co-writer George Eastman, who does a stand-up job as the menacing, and terrifying "Grim Reaper" This is where the film starts to take an interesting turn. While the first hour or so is a lot of build up to what has happened on the island, who's doing it, why haven't we seen the killer yet, the last half hour really delivers the goods. The killer is not some sort of beast, or zombie, or cannibal. He is just a man who, with some very cheap makeup effects I might add, has been made to look very creepy. He stalks his victims throughout the film very slowly and methodically, and kills them with some pretty nice death scenes.
Now this movie really surprised me. From what I'd read about the movie and it's director, it was a terrible, awful, gory movie with no purpose but to disgust the viewer. I found this to be quite the opposite, aside from the aforementioned infamous "fetus scene" this movie doesn't have much in the way of unnecessary violence or gore. A few throat rippings, a stab or two, and that pretty much sums it up.
As for D'Amato, this was his first film I've seen, and I am in no way disappointed. He made this movie eerie, and pretty goddamn scary without showing much, and really playing off the fear of the audience. The isolation of the island, as well as it's creepy forests and buildings really made you scared to see what would be around the next corner, and the anticipation as to when you'd see the killer was enough to make you sick.
This is a real must-see, in my humble opinion. While most of the Italian horror films I have seen are geared towards the uber gore, this one holds off a little, and has a pretty nice storyline. The back story is a two minute tops flashback, but that's all that was needed. You can fill in the rest yourself, which makes it that much creepier. While it took awhile to get going, it was well worth it, and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Italian horror, some mild gore, or just a good horror movie that can really creep you out.