Taut B-Movie Psychic Thriller

Cult director Nico Mastorakis made his debut with the groovy psychic thriller Death Has Blue Eyes. The Greek filmmaker concocts a wild and alluring paranormal adventure around a telepath that kills with her mind. On the run from sinister government agents, the swinging ’70s action includes murder, sex, and a slice of international political intrigue. The fun little movie is a surprisingly accomplished debut for a director best known for b-movie schlock and the notorious Island of Death.

Two close friends, both petty criminals, get caught scamming while on vacation in Greece. That leads them into the complicated web of Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin) and her daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Christine is a powerful telepath with the ability to kill people even from great distances. Ches and Bob Kovalski are soon coerced into helping protect Christine from her enemies. The two men put their carefree lives behind them as they are now in mortal danger, caught in a world of shadowy agents and psychic powers.

Death Has Blue Eyes is an interesting synthesis of several different movie strains circulating in the Seventies

Death Has Blue Eyes is an interesting synthesis of several different movie strains circulating in the Seventies. There are clear giallo influences, a dash of sexy exploitation scenes that verge on softcore territory, intense paranormal action, cold-war spycraft, and even a little political conspiracy. Filled with car and motorbike chases, Mastorakis pulls everything together with relatable characters and taut pacing.

The genre thriller keeps its audience on edge and masterfully sets up the final denouement with keen direction. Death Has Blue Eyes is probably the most coherent and conventionally engaging film made by Nico Mastorakis. Maria Aliferi and Jessica Dublin are strong female leads for any movie, much less a low-budget thriller made in Europe during the Seventies.

One quirk pointed out by many is that the proverbial woman with blue eyes may not actually have blue eyes – actress Maria Aliferi’s eyes are closer to hazel or green when viewed up close. Death Has Blue Eyes is a catchy title that works as a great hook.

Death Has Blue Eyes Blu-ray screen shot

Video

Arrow Video includes two different choices for Death Has Blue Eyes on Blu-ray. The original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and an open-matte 1.33:1 version. The 1976 movie was clearly made with the 1.85:1 framing in mind and the open-matte alternate should mostly be a curiosity for fans. Compositions work far better in the widescreen presentation with the possible exception of a couple salacious sex scenes.

Arrow Video has this to say about the Blu-ray’s film transfer:

Death Has Blue Eyes is presented in 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 aspect ratios with mono audio. The film was restored by director Nico Mastorakis and Angelos Argyroulis at SteFilm, Athens. The original 35mm camera negative was scanned, graded, and restored in 2K resolution.

The transfer is so-so with inconsistent video results. Death Has Blue Eyes includes crushed black levels and erratic definition, ranging from crisp to muddy and lacking detail. The elements are in okay condition with healthy colors and a fine contrast. There is no obvious ringing, though some filtering may have been applied. The poor shadow delineation and modest high-frequency content may be a reflection of the source material instead of heavy processing.

Arrow Video is often at the mercy of the film’s owner supplying a graded video master. Death Has Blue Eyes isn’t quite up to their usual standards but looks fairly good anyway. It’s a largely film-like presentation from a low-budget production that has never been seen in 1080P video before.

Audio

Death Has Blue Eyes isn’t a sonic marvel, offering unremarkable 2.0 PCM with ordinary fidelity at best. Sibilance and other problems can be detected. The soundtrack has been remastered from the original optical track. The monaural mix delivers fine dialogue reproduction and slightly richer audio quality for the interesting score by Nikos Lavranos. There isn’t much bass present and treble energies can be harsh during music.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

The Blu-ray is coded for all regions. Julian Grainger provides a new essay on the film in the illustrated collector’s booklet found in first pressings. It’s a typical quality Arrow Video release with new special features. The reversible sleeve offers original movie art and new artwork by Graham Humphreys.

Interview With Actress Maria Aliferi (17:49 in HD) – Done in Aliferi’s native Greek with English subtitles, the lead actress recalls getting the role and how it impacted her. The new interview covers a lot of ground, from her reticence to do nudity to the toughest scene she tackled.

Nico Mastorakis In His Own Words (24:43 in HD) – A wonderfully entertaining and deprecating featurette that mostly features the director taking a selfie video of himself due to Covid. Doubling as an 80th birthday tribute, Mastorakis discusses his early career in Greek television and how he transitioned into feature filmmaking. Includes rare footage from his television days.

Dancing With Death (42:03 in 2.0 Dolby Digital) – Audio selections from the movie’s score by composer Nikos Lavranos broken up into chapters.

Image Gallery (04:10 in HD)

Death Has Blue Eyes Theatrical Trailer (02:25 in HD)

Death Has Blue Eyes Extended Theatrical Trailer (03:32 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Death Has Blue Eyes
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A taut paranormal thriller from filmmaker Nico Mastorakis that grabs you with interesting twists and sexy action.

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