With easy access to the sea, and the tiny nature of our country, film production crews can set up shop in Malta with relative ease (there’s also the small matter of the easy tax breaks we offer. Ahem). With all these factors in play, it’s not surprising that the island’s film-set potential was exploited by more than just the likes of Michael Bay and Brangelina.
But while we’re all very proud of our part in Game of Thrones, Midnight Express and Gladiator, there have also been a few odd movies to grace our shores in Malta’s long career as a viable film-servicing location: which actually began back in the 1920s.
Here’s a list of some films shot in Malta that you may not have heard of.
1. Iron Warrior (1987)
This cheapo Conan the Barbarian knock-off from Italy sounds like a hoot. If nothing else, thanks to immortal lines such as this:
Princess Janna: But what if they kill you?
Ator: Then I’d be dead. But they won’t.
2. Voir Malte et Mourir (1974)
This political thriller-cum-erotic drama (we… suppose?) starts off from the premise that the world’s energy sources are rapidly depleting. The only way for the West to secure some oil for itself is to entice a sheik with access to a generous chunk of it.
“The battle will not be fought with weapons but with glamorous women… in the beds of Malta where the Sheikh has places his headquarters,” the synopsis tells us. Where else to end all wars, but in “the beds of Malta”. Obvs.
3. Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969)
Apart from the ridiculousness of the character names suggested in the title – to say nothing of the title itself – this sounds like pretentious wank of the highest order, as the eponymous Hieronymus (it rhymes!) decides to shoot a film about his life in which he portrays himself as a mannequin being controlled by a higher power.
4. Black Eagle (1988)
Malta played host to the second Jean Claude van Damme movie ever made, and in which he actually plays the villain of the piece – a hard-fighting KGB operative pitted against Sho Kosugi’s benevolent CIA agent.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Maltese teenage boys consumed this with relish during late-night Italian TV binges. But did they know it was shot in Malta?
5. Courier from Paradise (2013)
Billed as “a funny story about Moscow policemen who travel to a small town”, this Russian production appears to be unremarkable save for the fact that Danny ‘Machete’ Trejo himself pops in for a pre-credits cameo, thus making our islands at least 80% more badass by proxy. Check him out in the badly dubbed video above.
6. Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)
This isn’t the only killer whale/shark/sea monster movie to be shot in Malta, and that attempts to piggyback off the success of Jaws. But it’s notable for featuring that apparently ageless beauty, UK actress Charlotte Rampling.
7. Inseminoid (1981)
Oh dear, oh dear. A picture is worth a thousand words, and that poster says it all. But what would we give to get a few of those words back?