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Death Has Blue Eyes
Written and directed by Nico Mastorakis and produced by famed Greek pornographer Grigoris Dimitropoulos, 1976's Death Has Blue Eyes introduces us to a man named Bob Kowalski (Peter Winter). He's got a strange past, having been born in England but having grown up in America where he served in the military. Early in the film, he travels to Athens to reconnect with Ches Gilford (Hristos Nomikos), his closest friend who makes a living as a race car driver, when he isn't working as a male prostitute for wealthy women.
Ches is slipping it into a pretty beatnik named Maria, a cute little thing who has eyes for Bob and doesn't waste any time hopping into the sack with him as well. When the wealthy woman that had been supporting Ches comes home and kicks them all out of her house, things get tricky. The two guys decide to steal a man's identity and stick the poor bastard with the tab at a fancy hotel, they get busted by a woman named Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin) and her beautiful psychic daughter Christina (Maria Aliferi)! Geraldin's got a motive of her own, however, when she coerces the two guys into working as bodyguards of a sort for Christina, who has found herself in hot water as a key witness in a political assassination that took place in Poland recently.
Nico Mastorakis feature-length directorial debut is an interesting mix of giallo-inspired thrills, weird
supernatural elements and occasional dashes of sex and violence to spice things up a bit. It's an entertaining picture despite the fact that it has some questionable plot devices and a very slapdash feel to it that could have been improved with maybe a few more script revisions and some better editing. Still, for a first time effort, Mastorakis does get quite a bit right. The movie is very nicely shot and takes good advantage of the exotic flair that Greece provides, and the story does contain a few unexpected twists that most won't see coming (possibly because they don't necessarily add up once the movie is over with, but I digress). The movie also benefits from a genuinely solid score from Nikos Lavranos that helps move things along nicely and which always feels appropriate to what's happening on screen and in the story.
If the production values are decent, which they are, the acting is less than perfect. Granted, the dubbing in the film doesn't do anyone any favors but both Winter and Nomikos lack the type of charisma that you typically expect leading men to have. Aliferi doesn't do much better, though she looks really good here. Dublin is better than the rest of the cast members but still not likely to really stand out here.
So again, Death Has Blue Eyes is an imperfect film, but it's interesting enough in how it mixes up various elements to be worth a look for those with an interest in Mastorakis's work.
<Death Has Blue Eyes arrives on Blu-ray from Arrow Video in your choice of 1.33.1 or 1.85.1 aspect ratios, with both transfers taken from a "brand new restoration from the original camera negative approved by the director." Aside from the framing, the transfers appear to be identical and the picture quality is, overall, very strong. Colors look great, detail is strong and there's good depth here. There isn't much print damage here at all either, and the transfer is free of any noticeable noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems.
Both versions of the movie get 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono audio in English. Clearly dubbed, the quality of the track is fine, with clearly dialogue and properly balanced levels. There's decent depth to the score as well. No problems with any hiss or distortion to note.
Extras start off with a new twenty-four-minute interview featurette with Nico Mastorakis entitled Nico Mastorakis In His Own Words, which the filmmaker shot by himself. Here he speaks about how he got his start doing work in the TV industry before then going on to do music videos and then feature films, how he hooked up with Grigoris Dimitropoulos and his connections to the pornography business. He then talks about the film's distribution, locations and more.
The disc also includes a new interview with actress Maria Aliferit hat runs eighteen-minutes. She talks about her television work that preceded her appearing in this film, how she was hesitant to be involved with Dimitropoulos due to his pornography career, how she appreciated working with Mastorakis, what it was like on set and more.
Rounding out the extras on the disc is Dancing With Death (forty-two-minutes, worth of tracks from the Death Has Blue Eyes original soundtrack), a pair of trailers, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.
Arrow has also included some nice reversible cover sleeve art with this release as well.
Death Has Blue Eyes is quirky enough to work and proves to be a pretty interesting thriller even if it isn't a perfect film. Arrow's disc isn't as stacked with extra features as a lot of their releases tend to be but the interviews are interesting and the presentation is strong. Those who appreciate Mastorakis's work should get a kick out of this release, the rest can safely rent it.
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.