The Movie Waffler Blu-Ray Review - THE WIND (1986) | The Movie Waffler

Blu-Ray Review - THE WIND (1986)

the wind 1986 review
While isolated during a storm, a novelist is besieged by a murderous madman.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Nico Mastorakis

Starring: Meg Foster, Wings Hauser, David McCallum, Robert Morley, Steve Railsback

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Greek exploitation mogul Nico Mastorakis is perhaps best known to fans of Euro schlock for his sleazy 1975 thriller Island of Death. One of the handful of movies that genuinely deserved a place on the UK's Video Nasties list, Island of Death provides a blunt commentary on colonialism as a holidaying British couple subject a bunch of Greek locals to all manner of violent and sexual indignities. In his 1986 thriller The Wind (aka 'The Edge of Terror'), those pesky Anglo-Saxons are once again causing trouble in Greece, though mostly among themselves this time.

the wind 1986 review

I can't speak for all my fellow hacks, but I know I favour peace and quiet when I'm writing. That doesn't seem to be the case with Sian Anderson, the pulp novelist played by Meg Foster, owner of the most ethereal eyes in cinema. To bang out her latest novel, Sian has opted to stay in one of the windiest corners of Europe, a small Greek village where shutters are constantly banging against window frames. After being shown her new residence by her pompous English landlord, Elias (Robert Morley), who conveniently lets her know where Chekhov's guns are hidden, she settles down for some writing only to be interrupted by Phil ('80s straight to video stalwart Wings Hauser), Elias's creepy and obnoxious American handyman, who introduces himself in a sleazy manner that would terrify most women but seems to merely raise a smile from Sian.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Beyond the Door ]

When Phil later murders Elias over a pay dispute, Sian peers through her window and witnesses him burying the body. Unfortunately for Sian, Phil sees her peering out at him, and spends the night attempting to bump her off. Unable to get any help - save for a useless American sailor (Steve Railsback) who seems but one of a huge contingent of English speaking ex-pats in the locale - Sian must fend for herself if she's to survive the night.

the wind 1986 review

The Wind is part of a long tradition of thrillers in which women in secluded houses are menaced by psychotic men attempting to break in - notable examples are Robert Siodmak's classic The Spiral Staircase and Peter Collinson's Fright. Mastorakis sticks to the template set down by his predecessors, hitting all the established plot beats. Inclement weather preventing an escape? Tick. Phone lines cut off? Tick. Electricity tampered with? Tick. Would-be-victim turning the tables on her aggressor with some ingenuity? Tick.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Edge of the Axe ]

The trouble here is that Mastorakis is out of his depth as a director. He's got a perfect setting for this sort of thriller but he fails to establish its geography, which evaporates much of the potential for suspense. Sian keeps running through doors that we haven't seen before, making us wonder just how big her holiday home really is, and every time it seems she's cornered by Phil a brand new door seems to conveniently materialise. It's also rarely clear just where Phil and Sian are in relation to each other, denying us the sort of "He's behind you!" or "Don't open that door!" moments that are the bread and butter of thrillers of this ilk. So poorly staged is the climax that I had to rewind a couple of times just to figure out what was occurring.

the wind 1986 review

The Wind is also hindered by a near complete absence of threat. Sure, Hauser is a menacing presence as Phil, but he's also incompetent, and every time he has a perfect opportunity to kill Sian, he trips or stumbles like Norman Wisdom on a staircase with loose carpet. It doesn't help that Sian takes the whole thing in her stride, seemingly unperturbed by the knowledge that a maniac is attempting to slash her to death,. She spends most of the night casually sitting around smoking and peering out open doors that Phil could charge through at any moment. Her publisher (David McCallum) back in Los Angeles displays an equal lack of alarm when she calls him to tell him of her predicament. When Sian calls him back to see if he got through to the Greek police, he's casually bathing in his swimming pool without a care in the world. If the movie's characters can't take any of this seriously, how can its audience?

New interview with Nico Mastorakis; Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers' complete soundtrack; collection of trailers for the films of Mastorakis; collector's booklet (First pressing only).

The Wind is on blu-ray April 13th from Arrow Video.