Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eglima sto Kavouri (1974)

...aka: Death Kiss
...aka: He Murdered His Wife
...aka: Rape Killer, The

Directed by:
Kostas Karagiannis

Similar in many ways to Italian gialli (particularly the 1975 title THE KILLER MUST KILL AGAIN), this Greek horror-thriller is worth checking out. Jim Preston (Lakis Komninos, as "Larry Daniels") has just gotten married to the older Helen (played by an Angie Dickinson look-a-like who goes by the probably-fake name of Dorothy Moore). Since Helen has a load of money and runs her own business and Jim's just a meager oil rig worker handsome enough to get whatever woman he wants, you can guess where this thing's headed. Yep, it's another of those kill-her-for-her-will tales where the greedy people get just what's coming to them in the end. However, this one has enough violence and sex, and enough interesting twists and turns in the storyline to keep it surprisingly watchable throughout. A little far-fetched at times, for sure, but it's not boring. A big part of that has to do with Mike ("Angelo Cilento"/Vagelis Seilinos), a sadistic, drug-addicted sex maniac, who chloroforms, rapes and murders women. The actor who plays Mike is very convincing in the role.

Anyway, Jim strikes up a deal with the psycho. He'll give him Helen to do as he pleases with (as long as she ends up dead) in exchange for part of the inheritance. To keep the cops off his tail, Jim also allows Mike to shoot him in a non-fatal way (the psycho also decides to give him a few whacks over the head with a rock when he's out cold just for fun!) to make it look like he'd also been attacked. Thinking he needs some added insurance since Jim is a less than savory character, Mike drugs, kidnaps and murders a woman who looks exactly like Helen (and is played by the same actress). He substitutes her body for Helen's corpse, and keeps Helen prisoner in the cellar of his home until he gets what Jim promised him. Adding extra complications are a doctor friend of Helen's, who's in love with her and aids the police in finding her, and Jim's blonde mistress Laura (Jane Paterson), who's sick of being treated like his whore.

There's a load of female nudity, some sex, some rape, some violence, a nightmare sequence, a flashback and a long and gratuitous "Lord of the Dance" style sequence at a restaurant. I liked it for the most part. The director, who made around 130 films (!) in Greece before his death in 1993, also made the terrible LAND OF THE MINOTAUR (1976).


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