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NIGHT OF THE MINOTAUR AKA THE DEVIL'S MEN

year: 1976
You can't deny the aesthetic villainy of Peter Cushing, one year before managing the Death Star in STAR WARS and after years of British horror flicks. Only in NIGHT OF THE MINOTAUR aka THE DEVIL'S MEN, his famously charming scowl means very little. And while Ray Harryhausen brought a Minotaur to life in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD a few years earlier, this bullish beast, important enough for the alternative title, rises slowly and then just stands there, a literal statue in a hidden labyrinth wherein a sporadic handful of young archaeologists wind up, are trapped and... could be made into sacrifices unless our unlikely heroes find them.

Not bad for a bad movie, MINOTAUR hands off various lead characters, from those twenty-something victims... much too curious for their own good while driving around in a Scooby-Do style hippie van... to a long-haired greying detective: all teamed with the true lead, the always-dependable Donald Pleasence who, like only he can, makes something out of nothing in yet another brooding performance.

Much of the suspense occurs indoors as the priest knows what lurks outside, located within the hidden caverns dug somewhere beneath a Gothic manor, guarded by the Devil himself in this ultra low-budget vehicle seeming like a thrift shop Hammer Production combined with a foreign crime noir but especially mirroring a body count drive-in flick: too bad there weren't more young banal victims to buy the farm, or a more worthy ingenue to center on, so the audience could have more fun along the way. 

CAMP VALUE RATING: ***
SOURCE: Drive-In Cult Classics Volume 2
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