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(aka "Land of the Minotaur" or "I maska tou Diavolou")

 

directed by Kostas Karagiannis (as Costa Carayiannis)
UK/USA/Greece 1976

 

Young people have been disappearing in the vicinity of the castle of Carpathian ex-patriot Baron Corofax (Peter Cushing, NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT), which is built above the ruins of a pagan temple presided over by the Minotaur. When Beth (Vanna Reville), Tom (Robert Behling, CUJO), and Ian (Nikos Verlekis, GIRL OF PASSION) disappear while searching for the secret entrance into the temple, Irish priest Father Roche (Donald Pleasance, THE DEVIL WITHIN HER) summons New York private eye Milo (Kostas Karagiorgis, DIAMONDS ON HER NAKED FLESH) to investigate - along with Ian's girlfriend Laurie (Luan Peters, THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW) - the village near the castle. Soon, they are on the run from hooded assailants eager to sacrifice them to the Minotaur...

An American-British-Greek co-production, THE DEVIL'S MEN - released in the US as LAND OF THE MINOTAUR - is pretty much a low-point for Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasance (both of whom probably took the job for the holiday). The scenario of American TV scripter Arthur Rowe - whose teleplay for the KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER episode "Legacy of Terror" depicts Aztec sacrifices in modern day Chicago - relegates the minotaur relegated to a stand-in for the devil, with Cushing's Carpathian baron's old gods no match for Pleasance's Irish priest and his cross and holy water (Karagiorgis' New York detective is utterly useless - even as hired muscle - and seems to be a co-production concession). What atmosphere the film possesses is almost entirely due to the electronic score of Roxy Music frontman Brian Eno (well, except for the end titles vocal) in conjunction with the arid and desolate locations. Behling's ISLAND OF DEATH co-stars Jane Ryall (MYKONOS ILLUSIONS) and Jessica Dublin (VOODOO DOLLS) have small roles.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 11 August 1976 (UK)

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DVD Comparison:

BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

BCI/Eclipse

Region 0 - NTSC

Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:27 1:34:09
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature)

 

Bitrate:

 

Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater)

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: BCI/Eclipse

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Bonus Film: TERROR (see below)

DVD Release Date: 26 September 2006
Amaray

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Scorpion Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• Playable with optional KATARINA'S NIGHTMARE THEATER segments
• Trailers for NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, and THE DEVIL WITHIN HER
• Bonus Film: TERROR (see below)

 

DVD Release Date: 24 January 2012
Amaray

Chapters 22

 

Comments

NOTE: The 'Katarina's Nightmare Theater' Double Feature also has TERROR compared HERE.

BCI's single-layer, double-sided (with bonus feature TERROR on the B-side) disc represents the US PG-rated theatrical cut of the film released by Crown International. Since Crown was no stranger to juicy R-rated fare, one assumes that they decided that the nudity and the small amount of gore were too tame for adult audiences and elected to market it to a wider audience. The gore and nudity is somewhat clumsily removed (although some of the "psychedelic" quick-cut editing of the horror sequences might make the censorious edits less noticeable to those who have not seen the full version). Some expository bits were also trimmed - including the first New York scene with Milo (which also featured nudity) - and the absence of much of this is less noticeable (and more appreciated). Also removed was the end titles vocal (which also ran for roughly a minute on black leader after the credits on the UK cut). The interlaced transfer - possibly 16mm sourced - left a lot to be desired with only fair detail, poor sound, fading, and print damage (including one wicked vertical tear at the start of a new reel).

Going by past video incarnations (the film was released thrice in the US by VCI, Interglobal, and United American) - as well as the state of some other Greek-produced and Greek-shot exploitation fare from the time - I would have said that the BCI transfer was more than watchable; however, Scorpion's progressive transfer of the British cut - with the original THE DEVIL'S MEN title card - shows how much better this film can look. Transferred from a French source (the presentation opens with credits for French and Belgian distributors, although the credits are otherwise in English), the colors are bolder, and the contrast and detail are superior (the lighting of the underground scenes is quite atmospheric without the blown-out highlights). The anamorphic 1.66:1 framing reveals more information at the bottom, but it seems that BCI's 1.78:1 transfer has been horizontally stretched. Sadly, there are not extras (there must have been a Crown International trailer) other than the optional wrap-around segments with hostess Katarina Leigh Waters and trailers for other Nightmare Theater titles.

The aforementioned US cut LAND OF THE MINOTAUR is still legitimately available - albeit in more compressed form - in Mill Creek's CULT TERROR CINEMA 12-movie set. THE DEVIL'S MEN was previously released on DVD in the UK from DD Video in a 4:3 letterbox transfer with an interview with actor Christopher Lee reminiscing about Peter Cushing (although I do not know if the film is touched upon), and a 24-page booklet about the film.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(BCI/Eclipse (Crypt of Terror Double Feature) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Scorpion Releasing (Katarina's Nightmare Theater) - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Scorpion

Sound:

Scorpion

Extras: Draw
Menu: Scorpion

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

BCI/Eclipse

Region 0 - NTSC

Scorpion Releasing
Region 0 - NTSC

 




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