Death Has Blue Eyes (1976)

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976)

With the announcement of a number of Nico Mastorakis’ films hitting physical media before the end of the month I have finally gotten around to a … bit of a classic that Niko put out early in his career. Death Has Blue Eyes is a Greek production from the mid 70’s and looks wildly fun.

In a bit of a surprising turn, what amounts to a sleazy sci-fi thriller with all the markings of being a trash-fest turned out to have a little more than one might expect. There are moments that this film feels like it might slip into European art-house territory, but with the amount of carnage occurring, it’s safe to say this is a fun exploitation flick with a surprisingly decent plot. Even if a muddled narrative results in a disconnected journey to get there.

Two happy-go-lucky vagrants become embroiled in a plot to destroy a flight utilising two telepathic ladies. Along the way a mysterious agency attempts to put a stop to it, but are the ladies really that evil?

I first came to Death Has Blue Eyes thinking it was associated with Luciano Ercoli’s notable Giallo movies Death Wears High Heels and Death Warmed Up. But it isn’t, and the reasons for this are entirely mixed up. The blonde in the yellow shirt and short skirt who appears prominently on the artwork is a secondary character and it almost feels like the character’s attire was added purely for marketing purposes.

Surprisingly the film has a couple of top notch chases. One occurring at night on a film set and another that sees our heroes abandon their car due to traffic, run around a small town centre on foot before returning to the car to resume the chase once the traffic had cleared. It’s pretty good fun and honestly took me by surprise, I’m a sucker for a lively car chase.

The problems with Death are numerous however. Some performances are poor, the music is a bit hokey in places and the film just doesn’t make a lot of sense, mainly down to the scenes not flowing from one to the next. An example of this is an assassin who creeps into Christine’s room only to be psychically attacked by her. The assassin staggers down the hotel corridor followed by Christine. The film then cuts inexplicably to a bowling alley with Christine wandering around the lanes with the assassin creeping up behind her only to have her deploy the same attack.

There is a good cast led by Maria Aliferi and Jessica Dublin as the mother figure to Aliferi, in what might be her first leading role. Dublin would appear in The Devil’s Men the same year and the notorious Island of Death alongside a couple of other sleazy Greek productions. She is particularly game during the silliness and gives a fine performance. Maria Aliferi must have made this prior to joining the cast of the long running show Voyage, a kind of Greek Love Boat with a murder mystery vibe. Greek actor Hristos Nomikos and Brit Peter Winter play the vagrants, Winter gave up acting soon after this film.

There is a fairly high level of nudity in the film, right from the beginning, serving little purpose other than to make the film a little more notable to potential audiences. Louise Melinda gives audiences an eyeful and makes her way onto the promotional material a lot more than the main cast despite only having a few minutes of screentime dispersed throughout the middle of the film.

Death has Blue Eyes is maybe worth seeing once from some car action and maybe to probe one’s imagination of what they could have done with the fairly fun storyline. A lot of the flaws come from the low budget and the filmmakers have put together a slightly coherent story that technically works, just not as smoothly as cinema-goers would expect.

Artwork is fun, however, some of it is hilariously misrepresentative.

Arrow put out are terrific blu ray a few years ago that contains both a widescreen 1.85:1 version and the full-frame 1.33:1 version restored from the original negative and approved by Mastorakis. There is also an interesting chinwag with Maria Aliferi amongst a load of other decent extras.

You can grab the blu ray from Arrow here or my Amazon affiliate link.


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