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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Crypt of Terror: Land of the Minotaur / Terror
Crypt of Terror: Land of the Minotaur / Terror
BCI Eclipse // Unrated // September 26, 2006
List Price: $12.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted November 13, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Continuing to release oddities from the Crown International vaults, BCI Eclipse unleashes the latest entry in their Crypt Of Terror series of double feature horror DVDs, this time pairing up the Greek Land Of The Minotaur with the British Terror - an interesting choice!

Land Of The Minotaur:

A trio of archeology students named Beth (Vanna Reville), Ian (Nikos Verlekis) and Tom (Robert Behling who has had bit parts in Cujo and the third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer) head to Greece to do some research, despite the fact that Father Roche (Donald Pleasance of Halloween fame) warns them against it. They arrive, and things seem to be going fine though no one is really getting much work done, instead opting to spend most of their time getting it on. Eventually, the three students are kidnapped by a cult whose members dress in cloaks. They're taken back to an ancient Greek temple where they find that the members a stone idol carved into the likeness of a minotaur.

Luckily for our three intrepid archeologists, Father Roche has not been resting on his laurels. He's made a few phone calls and managed to get in touch with Milo Kaye (Costas Skouras), a private investigator who used to be a student of his. Milo, at Roche's request, gets on the case and soon enough meets up with a woman named Laurie Gordon (Luan Peters of The Flesh And Blood Show and Twins Of Evil) who, as the dutiful girlfriend of one of the missing guys, is out trying to find her man. The two team up and soon connect the mysterious and diabolical happenings in the area to a strange but powerful man named Baron Carofax (Hammer horror legend Peter Cushing).

Goofy and completely predictable, Land Of The Minotaur is at least enjoyable enough in that it's well cast and it has some nice scenery. The PAL release that came out under the alternate title of The Devil's Men a few years back has some racier and bloodier content and it's a shame that BCI has put out the PG version, but even with the naughty bits missing in action it's fun to see Cushing and Pleasance together in the same film. Luan Peter doesn't have much to do here except look good, but she does that well. Hammer fans should enjoy seeing her again, alongside Cushing no less, but the horrible score from Brian Eno (how he ended up working on this movie is anyone's guess) doesn't fit the movie at all.

While not as good as other devil worshippers vs. innocent people movies like The Devil's Rain, this film still moves quickly enough and has enough interesting actors in it to warrant a look. Go into this one with your expectations low and you should come out okay. The camp value from the talking and fire shooting minotaur statue adds some charm though the fact that Costas Skouras has all the charm of a rock hurts things more than it helps them even if he does look the part.

Terror:

Directed by Norman J. Warren (the same man who did Inseminoid and Satan's Slave) this film was released theatrically in the United States by Crown and as such, it didn't go to Media Blasters like many of the other Norman J. Warren titles did.

After a fun 'movie within a movie' style opening scene we learn that horror movie director James Garrick (John Nolan) and his family have had to deal with a curse for years now. When he casts his cousin, Ann (Carolyn Courage), in his most recent movie, it seems that the curse becomes active again and essentially the witch that we see get decapitated in the opening scene, a woman named Mad Dolly, rises from the dead to cause problems again. It seems that Garrick has been, rather foolishly, mining the family history for movie ideas and the witch is none too happy about that. Soon enough, Ann is acting strange and people start winding up dead in increasingly gruesome fashion.

There isn't much story here and the film borrows very heavily from Dario Argento's Suspiria (it's hard not to notice the influence) though it doesn't work on the same level as its inspiration. There are some fantastic and rather bloody murders here that keep things moving along at a good pace and the film works well if you approach it expecting nothing more than a fun ninety minutes of trashy horror. There isn't much in the way of legitimate suspense and it's fairly easy to see where it's all going early on but the murder set pieces are definitely creative and the art direction is quite stylish.

Nolan and Courage are decent enough in their roles, and if they aren't remarkable they are at least believable enough. Interestingly enough, Peter Mayhew, best known as Chewbacca, shows up in a small part which will prove amusing to those who only know him when he's covered in fur and growling at Stormtroopers. Even if you've never seen him without his suit on, he's still pretty easy to spot – he's the big tall hairy guy. At under eighty minutes the movie goes by quickly and as such there's enough carnage and slickly shot mayhem in here to ensure that even if the characters are rather shallow and the premise a little hokey, the film is never dull.

Video:

Both Land Of The Minotaur and Terror are presented in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen and the framing looks good for both films. Minotaur loses some of its fine detail in the darker scenes and suffers from some mild print damage here and there but it's perfectly watchable even if the image isn't pristine. Terror definitely looks better, with brighter and more dramatic color reproduction and less noticeable print damage. The darker scenes are still a little too murky but otherwise, Terror does look quite nice indeed.

Sound:

Both films are presented in English language Dolby Digital Mono tracks. Land Of The Minotaur has some moderate hiss present for much of its running time, and while it's not overly distracting it is hard not to notice it. Terror definitely sounds better as while there is some mild hiss present it is only there in a couple of scenes rather than throughout the majority of the movie. There are no alternate language dubs or subtitle options provided for either of the two movies.

Extras:

Sadly, aside from animated menus and chapter stops for each side of the disc, this release is barebones. There is a slipcase that fits over top of the keepcase, but it doesn't contain any alternate artwork or anything. It's a shame that there aren't any trailers or even a still gallery here.

Final Thoughts:

While neither of the two films contained on this double feature release are classics, they're both worth seeing particularly Terror which is a better than average Warren film. The movies look and sound pretty decent and if there aren't any extras the low MSRP makes it easy to overlook that. Crypt Of Terror – Land Of The Minotaur/Terror comes recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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