12 February 2008 | Ultimex_Varptuner
Nice Atmosphere, Shame About Everything Else.
The Devil's Men represents what turned out to be one of the last gasps of the occult obsessed horror scene of the 70's shortly before Halloween came along, tore up the rule book, set fire to it and kicked it screaming through a plate glass window.
To cut a long story short a couple of enterprising Greek film makers fancy their chances of nailing together a new film franchise featuring the unlikely double act of womanising, wise talking American investigator Milo and stuffy but kind hearted priest Father Roche. An exiled nobleman is mixed up in some satanic jiggery pokery - offering up tourists as sacrifices to an extremely unfrightening effigy of the minotaur and only Milo and Roche can stop him!
Or something like that.
The reality is however horribly dull, frustrating and loaded with wasted opportunities. I strongly suspect that the fledgling film makers blew most of the budget on getting Donald Plesance, Peter Cushing and Brian Eno (for the soundtrack) onboard and hoped that would be enough to sway audiences in the English speaking world.
It isn't. The Devil's Men looks beautiful with assured, camera-work and fantastic locations. Eno's score, though basically just a one chord drone that he probably cranked out in an afternoon is suitably atmospheric and the movie is laden with cracking 70's crumpet including that Austrailian sort from Fawlty Towers and uber hottie Jane Lyle of Island of Death infamy. But there the positives end. Cushing sleepwalks through it, looking like he has a corn cob up his bum and Pleasance fusses about trying his best, but never quite getting things right. To make matters worse the character of Milo is appallingly flimsy and unlikeable.
Okay, so it doesn't look that good. But from there the film simply refuses to go anywhere. There is an insinuation that the local villagers are possessed, but to be fair to them, they never really do anything very much other than shuffle about looking glassy eyed. Perhaps they were just tired? Just when you are sure things will come to some kind of a head Milo and Roche interrupt the Baron's satanic party with laughable ease, sending him on to meet his maker. The statue of the minotaur falls silent and hey presto! Satan is defeated.
The inane optimism that The Devil's Men might be the first of a series of films is hammered home by Father Roche's final line mere seconds before the ridiculously rushed ending.
"Who knows Milo? Perhaps one day I may call upon you again to help defeat the Antichrist."
I'm sure you'll be putting that call in any day now Donald.