Arrow Heads #79: THE WIND (1986)

Assured direction from Nico Mastorakis elevates this slasher

Arrow Heads — UK-based Arrow Films has quickly become one of the most exciting and dependable names in home video curation and distribution, creating gorgeous Blu-ray releases with high quality artwork and packaging, and bursting with supplemental content, often of their own creation. From the cult and genre fare of Arrow Video to the artful cinema of Arrow Academy, this column is devoted to their weird and wonderful output.


What would you do if going outside meant being killed by a raging hurricane, but staying indoors meant being hacked to pieces by a sickle wielding maniac? Arrow video proudly presents The Wind, from prolific genre filmmaker Nico Mastorakis, the director behind such cult classics as Hired to Kill and Island of Death. When mystery novelist Sian Anderson (Meg Foster, They Live) arrives in the remote Greek town of Monemvasia, Elias Appleby (Robert Morley, The African Queen), the pompous British landlord of the house she’s renting warns her of two dangers: the wind, which gets dangerously strong at night, and Phil (Wings Hauser, Vice Squad), his sleazy and suspicious American handyman. As night falls and the wind starts howling, Sian witnesses the shocking sight of Phil burying Elias’s dead body in a shallow grave in his front garden! Trapped indoors from the raging, tree-branch-breaking wind, Sian must play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the murderous Phil, who’ll stop at nothing to silence this inconvenient witness! A tense and thrilling blend of Euro-horror and late 80s slasher, The Wind is a stalk ’n’ slash hidden gem, presented here for the first time on Blu-ray. Get ready to be blown away!

One of the oft employed tropes in thrillers is the suspicious neighbor. Tilting between overactive imaginations or actual wrongdoings, mined well, it can be a rich resource of mystery, horror, and even comedy. Rear Window, The ‘Burbs, Disturbia, and The Good Neighbor spring to mind. The Wind starts off on on a similar path, using a standout location and memorable cast to draw you in, all before shaking off ambiguity and embracing a nuttier and more obvious slasher vibe. Sian Anderson, a novelist with a penchant for mystery, takes a retreat to the island of Monemvasia. She’s greeted by Elias, the owner of a house she is renting (a portent of doom and blast of British character from Robert Morley). He warns her of local supernatural lore, as well as the strong gusts that regularly buffet the area. The other person she encounters on arrival is Phil (Wings Hauser), a disconcerting handyman who she later witnesses murdering Elias. Suspicion gives way to siege, as Sian is trapped, the winds ramp up, and Phil becomes increasingly unhinged and determined to cover his tracks.

There have always been actors who always catch the eye and linger in the mind, one for me has always been Meg Foster. A standout in genre fare such as They Live, Leviathan, Blind Fury, and even more niche roles as Evil-Lyn in Masters of the Universe, or as ‘The Muse’ in the Deep Space Nine episode of the same name. Her presence is undeniable, and one of the most memorable aspects of The Wind is a great opportunity to see her take the lead. The other standout here is the director (and co-writer) Nico Mastorakis (Blood Tide, The Zero Boys, Island of Death). Together with director of photography Andreas Bellis, aided by an impeccably chosen location, the film is shot and cut in a way that makes up for the lack of tension and mystery in the script. His character comes across in his style of filmmaking, one aided by the supplements on the release where he opens up about his approach, and also how Hauser’s misbehavior and personal character was leveraged into building the villain of the piece. Phil really embodies the imbalance in the film, starting off as a dangerous and intense figure, left with no way to really ramp up. This lack of subtlety and feeling of repetition as the two leads clash and reset for their next encounter can leave you yearning for a more nuanced and progressive structure at times, but there is just enough lift from Foster and Mastorakis to carry The Wind along.

The Package

Arrow deliver an all new 4K scan and restoration of the film from an original 35mm source, supplied by the director himself. The transfer is outstanding, with that 80s aesthetic and cinematic grain preserved, while impressive levels of detail, and strong, natural colors. There are some moments where the quality does fluctuate, usually darker moments, or a spike in grain levels, but this is likely due to the variance in the scanned film stock.

Extra Features:

  • Blowing The Wind — Brand new interview with Director Nico Mastorakis: Just shy of 30 minutes, this is probably the highlight of the release. The makers smartly position Mastorakis in front of a T playing back The Wind, allowing his to be filmed essentially giving a running commentary. The highlights of which are show, including plenty of insights into the production, firing shots at his lead, and other challenges he faced. More features like this please
  • The Sound of The Wind — The complete soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers: Yep, THE Hans Zimmer. The full score is here played back against a series of film stills
  • Alternate opening credits:
  • A collection of trailers for the films of Nico Mastorakis:
  • The Wind trailers: The original and an updated one
  • Image Gallery: Promo images and film stills
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys: Some rather splendid new work is splashed across the case
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Kat Ellinger:

The Bottom Line

The Wind pivots from suspicion to siege to slasher in short order. Some may find issues with structure and lack of subtlety, but there is still plenty to appreciate. The presence of Foster is a standout, and the pedigree of Mastorakis shines through, a facet aided by the extra features included in another fine release from Arrow Video .

Arrow Video’s The Wind is available via MVD Entertainment Group now.

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