Greek filmmaker Nico Mastorakis is perhaps best known in this country for his cult horror Island of Death, a film notorious for its repeated depiction of sadistic sexual violence, it was included in the infamous Video Nasties act, and subject to censorship the world over. The Wind is a far more conventional affair which sees American novelist Meg Foster hurled into a deadly cat-and-mouse with a murderer. Unlike his explicit earlier film, Mastorakis aims for atmosphere rather than gore, and the film lacks both the necessary cinematic flair of classic slashers, and the full-bloodied nastiness that covered up similar failings in Island of Death.
Mystery writer Sian Anderson (Foster) travels to the remote Greek island of Monemvasia for some solitude in which to write her new novel. Her plans are interrupted however; initially by a vicious wind that turns her rented house into a clattering cacophony of shutters and doors, and secondly by the attentions of psychotic handyman Phil (Wings Hauser), whom she witnesses burying the body of eccentric landlord Elias (Robert Morley).
There are many things wrong with The Wind, most egregiously some consistently sub-standard dialogue and a complete failure to adhere to the rules of show-don’t-tell. Foster’s embattled heroine for some reason explains everything she’s doing out loud, when it should be clear from her actions. It should be, except confusing editing ensure that it’s increasingly difficult to get a sense of the dimensions of the house, and therefore where Sian and her attacker are in relation to each other. The poor technique and poor scriptwriting simply compound each other.
Even the striking Meg Foster can do little when the filmmaker is unable to get across quite how resourceful Sian is. Children of the 80s may recall Foster as the actress with the eerie, ice-chip eyes who played Evil-Lyn in Cannon Films‘ dreadful Masters of the Universe cash grab, and while she’ll have been in worse films than The Wind, few will have wasted her talents so dismally.
In mitigation, reliable B-movie stalwart Hauser enjoys himself immensely, waving a sickle around with maniacal intent (although why there’s a sickle around when Monemvasia‘s beauty is of the distinctly rocky variety is anyone’s guess). He’s also involved in a denouement of low-budget wobbly absurdity that will delight anyone who likes a bit of accidental comedy thrown in with their horror. The film is also notable for an early score from consistent Oscar favourite Hans Zimmer, here collaborating with Stanley Myers on an idiosyncratic mix of jaunty Mediterranean rhythms and the plangent synths that were so prevalent at the time.
The isolated woman in peril thriller was far from fresh even back in 1986, and the picturesque setting, some deft cinematography and Hauser’s enjoyably batty performance aren’t enough for The Wind to be anything other than painfully average at best. The last few decades have seen the likes of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury‘s Inside raise the bar of brutality to insane levels, and Mike Flanagan‘s Hush put an elegant and clever spin on the formula. With such gems as these available, there’s little reason to brave The Wind.
Available on Blu-ray Mon 13 Apr 2020