Welcome back gorehounds, once again I’m here to bring you some grisly fun..This time though, rather then trust the word of newcomer directors that their films are gory like we did in the last article we brought out the big guns! This article will focus on the classics of the gore and splatter subgenre as well as some great new comers’ fair. So rather then waste further time talking about it..Prepare yourself for a goregasm!
The first film we’ll be discussing is sent to us by none other then director Jack Mulvanerty, who along with Johnny Dickie and Joshua Bruce (who also both make appearances in the film) make up up a new and exciting generation of straight to shiteo directors who are reviving a movement that myself and many others loved and feared dead.The film is his directorial debut, a little slasher/splatter film entitled CREEPS: A TALE OF MURDER AND MAYHEM.
CREEPS: A TALE OF MURDER AND MAYHEM: Joins teenage friends Jack and Johnny. The two boys live in a formally quiet suburban neighborhood where a masked madman had begun a violent rampage. When the two discover that one of the victims’ bodies is missing and a reward is being offered Johnny convinces a very reluctant Jack into going to look for it resulting in a horrible violent act and Jack finding himself smack dab in the middle of a murderous plot of epic proportions. Will he discover the secret of the creeps and save himself..or wind up just another victim?
Delightfully inconsistent, wildly imaginative and more all over the place then an ADHD patient who just huffed a case of Pixie sitx, completely bypassing so bad its good territory and announcing itself as so terrible it’s brilliant! This little number is what the bastard child of a threeway furious fucking fest between Violent Shit, woodchipper massacre and Tim Ritter’s Killing Spree.
Story wise this one was interesting and engaging enough to work, while still containing enough inconsistencies and nonsense to remain true to it’s source material. It packs quite a bit of a sense of humor but stays away from the annoying tendency most comedic horror films have of being packed with stupid humor. Here instead we see humor in characters who portray ridiculous characters with complete sincerity, In fact sometimes with so much sincerity and over energetic insanity that the characters come across as somewhere between mentally handicapped and drug crazed, That’s not an insult, this manic energy is what made the shot on shiteo movement so popular amongst fans and Mulvanerty shows that, like Dickie, he too really gets that.
As I said above the acting showcased here is played as straight as possible but with a raw campiness and a barely restrained grin from everyone on screen. This is definitely a piece where inexperienced (and to be honest, flawed) actors actually increased the film’s likeability rather then hurt it in any way. Were their any next Johnny Depp’s present? Fuck no, but these guys were having a lot of fun with this and it shows, and I couldn’t help but have fun with them.
The gore here was excessive and very cartoonish (intentionally so) varying between believable and hysterically bad but all done on the fly with little or no money and all done practically. Even the worst of the gore, however, has that fun homemade quality that those of us who are lifelong fans of the “backyard DYI filmmaking style” have a special spot in our hearts for.
The only things I can really complain about here are some problems with the cinematography and audio.Shot on low-fi digital that almost looks like Hi-8, this film had the right low quality video to stay true to the classics..However a tendency for sporadic handheld camera movements, extremely rough transitions from scene to scene and varying light qualities, as well as a camera you can hear being handled made things a tad rough..considering though that this was a first attempt for Mulvanerty, even this isn’t all that bad. I’ve seen films made with a whole lot more money (this was made with an amazingly minuscule 400 bucks) do a whole lot worse.
Overall I give this film one middle finger a quarter of the way extended. It has some issues but as a whole it’s a fun little flick that marks the beginning for a promising young filmmaker who is sure to do great things.
The next film we’ll be discussing was sent over by writer/director/producer/editor Doug Roos, and though it’s a relatively recent film, already has an impressive cult following.
It’s a powerful end of the world zombie film with a twist titled THE SKY HAS FALLEN
THE SKY HAS FALLEN: Brings us to a world in shambles where a mysterious and destructive virus has killed off most of the world’s population, and drove most of the survivors mad. Those left uninfected soon find the worst has yet to come when strange black cloaked figures appear and experiment on the
dead, resurrecting them and making them into mindless killing machines. Former family man, Lance has taken up hunting and destroying these creatures and their creators, hoping to take down their leader and seek revenge or a horrendous act he was forced to commit, along the way he meets Rachael, a young woman who reminds him of someone special from his past and together they face the hordes, fighting for their humanity itself.
Creepy, gooey and refreshingly new, THE SKY HAS FALLN is a zombie fan’s prayers answered, giving the genre a much needed resurrecting newness.
The story here manages to find that rare balance of being complex enough to create an engaging story and atmosphere without being complex enough to be confusing. The overall story came across as what you would get if you mixed together the best elements from Versus, Dark City, and Fucli’s Zombie series.
What really impressed me with this piece though was Doug Roos’s understanding of the mechanics of the genre, making the survivors the main focus rather then the reanimated. We see in Lance and Rachael, two individuals who under other circumstances would have been likely to date and eventually fall in love, but instead are left being mere companions. The tension between the two characters is nonetheless palatable and is quite impressive considering the adversity they exist among. Lance comes across almost like the old school sheriff heroes we see in Westerns. Strong, mostly silent and unflinchingly persistent, he is a man with nothing to lose but a life he would rather not have. Rachael is strong in her own right. Remaining distinctly human and holding onto a glimmer of optimism despite the horrible things she has seen and done, she invades Lance’s world, creating in him a feeling of love and companionship he fought not to feel. The fact that these two characters are virtually the only uninfected people we see in the film (other then a few other survivors we see along the way who only remain on screen for a few short moments) speaks volumes about the acting ability of these two. One aspect of their performances is overlooked by every reviewer I’ve seen talk about the film thusfar and that’s their shellshocked monotone speech. What some may mistake for bad acting is actually quite genius. We’re looking at two people who have literally lost not just their families, friends and whatever lives they had before, but their sense of reality itself, and I must say this is the first film I have ever seen that shows such a realistic portrayal of how this would likely affect survivors.
The gore effects here were excellent, with the zombies being horrendously gruesome, eyeless monstrosities, rendered even worse by the addition of hands replaced by huge, knife-like claws and other inhuman editions. Alot of creativity was used to utilize the miniscule budget to the max where effects are concerned with cleaver cutaways to close-ups of wounds and blood hitting trees when more
impressive effects weren’t possible. Doug Roos has an uncanny talent for making us, the audience perceive things as much more gruesome then what we actually witness. That’s not to say this film isn’t gory, quite the commentary, this little piece has enough of good old red stuff to make gore fans scream with delight, but he manages to stretch this aspect far beyond what the budget allowed and make us believe we saw more then we did.
The cinematography here was gorgeous, utilizing natural lighting and beautiful wooded landscape to convey something, that we, as a species may not want to recognize. That the world is better off with our demise. Here we don’t see destruction and things in shambles, instead we see a beautiful landscape, with a calmness about it. We see nature returned to herself, as if awaiting the eradication of the last of us human pests before she blossoms into the heaven she once was. This was another aspect that really impressed me about Roos’s work.
Overall I give this film 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded the bone. Everything about this kickass little film marks it as an instant classic and marks Doug Roos as a man who will soon get snatched up by Hollywood…so we better enjoy him while we have him!
The next part of this review we’ll be discussing a Director no gore review series would be complete without mentioning. This is the man many would say created the subgenre, paving the road for the thousands of directors who followed in his footsteps. That man, of course, is the Godfather of gore himself, Mr.Herschell Gordon Lewis!
Herschell began his career back in 1961 (as Lewis H. Gordon) with fun little sex fueled exploitation classics like Living Venus, Daughter Of The Sun, and Nature’s Playmates, but it wasn’t until 1963 that he made the film that would change his career (and many would say the entire Horror genre) forever. That film was BLOOD FEAST.
BLOODFEAST: introduces us to Ishtar worshiping cannibalistic caterer Fuad Ramses. Fuad gets hired on by clueless housewife Mrs.Fremont to cater for her daughter Suzette’s birthday party and immediately begins slaughtering young women to create a blood feast in honor of his blood thirsty Goddess with Suzette acting as the main course! With time running short and bodies piling up, the only thing between Ramses and his star dish is Detective Thorton. Will the bumbling officer be able to take down this maniac or will the Blood Feast prevail?
Excessively violent (for it’s time), knowingly bad and undeniably fun to watch, Blood Feast is a so bad it’s good masterpiece of blood, viscera and bad acting that fully deserves it’s cult status!
The story here is about as bare bones as we can get with the gore and subtle silly humor definitely being the main focus but also packs a hilarious little jab at 60’s Suburban life where naivety seemed to prevail.
The acting here..where do I even begin!? Well to start, each of the characters here can only be described as caricatures. Fuad is my personal favorite, with his blatantly psychotic appearance and mannerism. He is the most obvious villian you could imagine and the oblivious way in which Mrs.Fremont and Suzette react to him is downright side splitting, if he were any more vile he’d have to carry around a severed head and a machete! Detective Thorton may just be the first official bumbling police officer in a horror film and created a long tradition of them. The other characters preform their character with such lack luster and lack of emotional conviction that you can’t help but laugh, particularly in the case of Suzette who literally breaks into a grin in some dramatic scenes.
The gore here is another aspect where Lewis winked at the camera, utilizing mannequin parts and butcher shop leftovers to create the effects and doing so in a manner that can only be described as so excessive it’s cartoony. For the times though, this was some pretty hardcore stuff and spawned the tradition of handing out commemorative barf bags for more sensitive movie goers.
The cinematography here is actually quite well done, showcasing gorgeous grainy 35mm film, and that special Technicolor look the 60’s were famous for. The shots weren’t overly creative or artsy like some of Lewis’s later work but nonetheless possessed a flair that has become one of Lewis’s signatures.
Overall I give this film no middle fingers up. It’s not the great film some make it out to be, at least not in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely one of the most addictively watchable so bad it’s good films and marks quite a turning point for Horror in general, marking Herschell Gordon Lewis as a man ahead of his time.
After the success of Blood Feast Herschell Gordon Lewis went on to direct several other gruesome films. The next film we’ll be discussing is (in my humble opinion) the best of his entire body of work. That film is TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!
TWO THOUSAND MANIACS!: Brings us to the friendly little southern town of Pleasant Valley just in time for their Centennial celebration! Some Yankees have come to the fair town due to a detour and of course the friendly townsfolk welcome them with open arms…and ready Barbeque spits! You see this isn’t just any Southern town. These townsfolk are really the cursed ghosts of a confederate town murdered by the union army..but the South’s gonna rise again!
A return to form for Herschell, gorewise, Two Thousand Maniacs sticks out among his body of work due to it’s excellent camera work, top notch acting, engaging story and gorgeous location.
The characters here, where the visitors are concerned represent the worst of us Yankee scum. They’re rude and self absorbed and can’t wait to take these friendly folk for whatever they can. The townsfolk on the other hand are an interesting bunch. At turns accommodating and bloodthirsty, we see a dazed and bewildered quality from them when they aren’t in the throes of bloodlust, giving us a glimpse at what they used to be before they were slaughtered by the yanks and became these creatures of wrath. We see that they were once really the kind hearted, mild folk they at first appear to be to lure victims now and this little glimpse gives the aggressors a small glimmer of tragedy that certainly adds to the overall experience.
The gore here (although not as over the top or excessive as Lewis’s later work) is more shocking then it is in the other films, both due to the more serious tone here and due to the suddenness in which the gore occurs. Lewis was also able to add things like reaction shots, POV shots of an axe and other elements he was unable to do in previous work that added to the overall effect. The effects are still done with Mannequin parts and animal innards but more care was taken to disguise the fact and a lot of the effects here still stand up to this day.
The soundtrack is another aspect that deserves mention here. Whereas most of Lewis’s work features primarily cheesy synths, here we have some truly wonderful renditions of some classic banjo music, including the title song that’s actually written and performed by Lewis himself!
The cinematography here exceeds that of Blood Feast by leaps and bounds, showcasing gorgeous 35mm film, mostly natural lighting and vibrant color, all worked to the max to highlight the beautiful little Florida town where the movie was shot.
Overall I give this film two middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone, it’s a true blue classic that is still revered and loved by genre fans and newcomers alike and remains the best feature Herschell Gordon Lewis ever directed. This is a must have!
The next film in our gore drenched lineup brings us Herschell Gordon Lewis in a much goofier light, as well as a much gorier one. It’s a titillating little black comedy called THE GORE GORE GIRLS.
THE GORE GORE GIRLS: Focuses on a string of grizzly murders being committed by an unknown killer. One of these murders is that of stripper Suzie Creampuff which leads to a local news station asking their star reporter, Nancy Weston to hire ultra asshole Private investigator Abraham Gentry to attempt to finger the killer and get the station the breaking story first. Gentry takes to frequenting the club the murdered girls worked for and several possible suspects pop up including a crazed war veteran, a threat spewing and feminist movement leader. Can Gentry find the killer and get the station the story they want so badly..or will he get himself killed for being such an asshole first!?
Weird, hysterically off and bizzarly brilliant, The Gore Gore Girls is likely the only slap stick/black comedy/Gillao/murder mystery/sleuth film ever made, packed to the hilt with cartoonishly absurd bloody kills, whacky characters right out of National Lampoon magazine and an all over the place story and pace that will have you laughing and scratching your head in equal measures.
The story here is probably my favorite part of the film (other then the off the wall kills we’ll discuss in a minute) It goes all over the place, at first coming across as your average mundane detective story, then shifting gears into a gore packed slaughter fest with regular slapstick elements thrown in. We also see a pretty awesome Giallo feel to the kills, they seem rather..sexual, and we also are treated to the infamous black gloved unseen assailant that was so popular in Italian cinema. By the end of the film Lewis does the only thing left to pull the rug out from under the audience by shifting gears once again..I won’t tell you how..but have no doubt that this shift was intentional and that Lewis laughed his smart ass right off at the audience.
The characters here are pretty run of the mill for the most part with the major exception being Abraham Gentry who comes across as what you’d get if you were to mix Sherlock Holmes with Stiffler and a bad porn character, he’s grating, mind bogglingly rude, fancies himself a ladies man and is such an asshole you can’t help but root for him. The acting here isn’t abysmal like in Blood Feast, (although also not as great as that in 2000 Maniacs) but Gentry’s character steals the show completely..which is ok because this is one of those characters that can really carry a film.
The gore here is some of the most (if not THE most) extreme gore ever featured in a Herschell Gordon Lewis film (Some will say blood feast tops it.but I’d say this one may trump that one in some of the kills) but all of it is handled in a comedic and slapstickish manner. For example one girl chewing bubble gum has her throat cut and the bubble fills with blood, another is slashed only to die by meat tenderizer to the asscheeks and another has her nipples cut off which results in one mammary gland spraying regular milk and the other chocolate. Even the most brutal kill, where a girl has her face completely demolished, is rendered comedic when the killer clearly puts an eyeball into her socket before pulling it out and rupturing it. This film shows that while Peter Jackson is considered the first director to do splatterstick gore films Lewis did it ten years before him and is the true father of the subgenre.
The cinematography here is quite well done with some excellent POV shots from the killer’s point of view as well as a return of the smooth pans and scene transitions we were graced with in 2000 Maniacs..But here we see a lot of use of vibrant colors, gaudy clothing and colored lighting, all of which lend to the overall Giallo feel.
Overall I give this one 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone, its an excellent little black comedy with some hilarious gags. If you’re looking for a serious gore film avoid it like the plague, you’ll only bitch about it on an IMDB review no one but review junkies like myself will ever give a shit about..But then again if you’re dumb enough to think a film with a title like THE GORE GORE GIRLS is serious you probably can’t write anyway.
After the Gore Gore Girls Lewis disappeared from the director’s chair for 30 years! Many gorehounds thought they had seen the last of the grandmaster of the genre, that perhaps he had passed the torch to the younger filmmakers who were making a once almost empty sub-genre packed to the hilt with material…Then, in 2002 came back with one of his bloodiest (and funniest) entries yet, and better yet..It was a BLOOD FEAST SEQUEL!
BLOOD FEAST 2:All YOU Can Eat: Introduces Fuad Ramses the 3rd, an enterprising young caterer who recently inherited his Grandfather’s old restaurant and has moved to his deceased Grandpa’s hometown to remodel the old place into a catering business/ Deli. Young Ramses knows nothing about the deeds of his crazed grandfather who passed before he was born and only wants a chance to make his culinary dreams come true. He gets his chance shortly after he moves to the town when extremely bitchy, but extremely rich Mrs. Lampley hires him to cater her daughter Tiffani’s marriage to local hotshot jackass Detective Myers. Unfortunately for Ramses Myers isn’t so fond of him and immediately gets suspicious of him and his catering business, a suspicion that’s completely unfounded…That is until poor Fuad stumbles upon his Grandfather’s old alter to Ishtar and becomes enchanted by the evil Goddess, embarking on a massacre to create a blood feast to her that rivals that of his Grandfather’s! Soon bridesmaids are reduced to dishes and appetizers. Now it’s up to bumbling Detective Myers and his ever hungry partner Detective Loomis to stop the bride to be from becoming the Bride-Cabob!
The edition of W. Boyd Ford as writer made this wonderful follow up to the so bad it’s good classic not only live up to the original but exceed it by leaps and bounds. Whereas the humor in Blood Feast is often debated amongst fans Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat is without a doubt a black comedy and a brilliant one at that, featuring more little gags then you can shake a stick at, including a migratory corpse that the idiot detectives literally step over while investigating Ramses’s business, a reoccurring mantra of “Satan Satan Satan” whenever uber bitch Mrs.Lampley comes into frame, and Loomis being so obsessed with food that he’s literally eating and/or talking about food in every singe scene he’s in, not to mention the less then subtle wink at John Carpenters Halloween with the two Detectives’ names.
The acting here was very campy and cartoonish (and knowingly so) but done very well…well..in the case of the major characters anyway..alot of the lesser characters could be mistaken for porn stars..but that’s likely also on purpose. Ramses himself couldn’t be further from his creepy Grandfather, handsome, charming and polite (on the outside anyway) Fuad the 3rd is actually believable as someone who can get people to put their guard down, and by adding the angle of the statue controlling him this film also makes us sympathize a bit with its psycho and identify with him a bit more whereas the first only made us feel disgusted with it’s psycho. Mrs. Lampley plays an excellent bitch, bring to the story some great comedic elements with her unflinchingly evil attitude and selfish personality, she’s a walking, talking sterotype of epic proportions and she’s fuckin’ excellent!
The gore here is quite graphic..Is it really the “goriest film ever made”?..No, not by a long shot, that title still certainly belongs to Dead Alive, in fact I stand by The Gore Gore Girls still being Lewis’s goriest flick..However this one certainly is a crowd pleaser with everything from a corkscrew being jabbed into a woman’s skull and her brains being torn out through the jagged hole, to a woman’s arm grinded to mush all the way up to the elbow in a meat grinder, to a chick having her face and scalp pealed away from her still screaming fleshless head, the having her skull sawed up and brain torn out but all of this is done is a very Peter Jackson-esque manner with tongue so far in check that it pops through! I dig my gore with a fair amount of humor and this was a dream come true!
The soundtrack isn’t quite the epic as the one in Two Thousand Maniacs but it’s definitely got a charm all its own, showcasing some great surfer tunes which work to give this film an odd little 70’s feel that makes it fit quite nicely into the rest of Lewis’s insane little world despite it’s being 30 years after his last film.
The cinematography here was breathtaking, definitely some of the best Lewis has done, showcasing silky smooth pans, transitions and strangely beautifully shot gore.
Overall I give this film two middle fingers cut off and sanded to the bone, Lewis returned with a vengeance and a shit eating grin with this one and the team up of Lewis and Ford is a one that needs to happen again and soon!
On a sidenote: Shriekshow released 3 different versions of the film, an unrated cut, an R-rated cut and a special edition 2 disc set. I highly recommend you avoid the R cut like the plague, virtually all the gore is cut out, it’s an abomination, like watching Debbie Does Dallas if it was cut for a G-Rating and unfortunately that’s the version you’ll find if you pick up their Cannibal Lunchbox Set.
The next film we’ll be discussing is, honestly. One I avoided for quite sometime. Considering that Two Thousand Maniacs is one of my favorite films, the idea of a remake/quasi sequel to the classic was..less then appealing. For the most part I consider remakes to be unnecessary and dreadful..but then I saw that this one was directed by none other then Tim Sullivan (who directed my favorite Chillerama segment: I Was A Teenage Werebear) and when I found that out my curiosity got the best of me..and I’m glad it did!
2001 Maniacs: Pretty much follows The plot of the original, only this time around the focus is a group of College students on their way to Florida for Spring Break, They take a detour and find themselves (along with another carload of college students and a few bikers Whom they met at a gas station earlier) in the small, old school town on Pleasant Valley where they are immediately greeted with a hearty welcome by Mayor Buckman and the rest of the town who insist they stay for the Guts and Glory Jubilee. With free food, lodging, games, free flowing alcohol and such friendly hosts how can they say no!? Unfortunately when things seem too good to be true, they usually are, and these town folks are really cannibalistic confederate ghosts returning once a year to kill Yankees until they’ve killed 2001 of them to avenge the 2001 townsfolk in the town who were murdered by Union soldiers.
I still love the original and if I had to pick I’d still pick that version..but luckily I don’t have to pick because as much as I wanted to hate this one..I fuckin’ Loved it!
Storywise, this one is by far a lot more developed and let’s us get to know the characters a little better and Tim definitely did a wonderful job sticking to the source material enough to be respectful to the source material while taking artistic license with it enough and modernizing the story enough to make it distinctly his. Here we have a story that takes a much more comedic route then the original, which worked in this case as Tim seems to function his best with a smirk on his face.
The acting and characters here are pretty campy but purposely done that way, particularly in the case of the residents of the town, but here we got a reverse of what the original did. We see much more character development with the main characters and the townsfolk are very caricature-like..Although I must say that the character of Mayor Buckman was a big favorite of mine (I can’t say who played him..but I will say you’re likely to be used to seeing him in a knifed glove and fedora..) Buckman manages to embody both wonderful Southern grace and that silky sensuousness Southern gentleman are famous for and a disturbingly ruthless psychosis. Much like the original there was great performances all around but this was the character who stuck out the most for me and really made this film work.
The gore here was all handled with a fair amount of humor. Some worked deaths worked better then others (a sequence with a graphic acid moonshine comes to mind) but all of it was very well done with the majority of the good old red stuff being done in a practical way. There was some scenes which appeared to have some CGI touchups..but if so It’s done in such a crafty way that I actually can’t tell and that certainly says something.
The cinematography here was very well done on gorgeous 35mm film ( a wonderful touch staying with what made Herschell Gordon Lewis’s films so great) with smooth pans, flawless transitions shots and some awesome multi-angle views of the gruesome bits. This was by far one of my favorite aspects of the film and in the end was what decided me for sure on whether I liked it or not.
Overall I give this film 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. Herschell Gordon Lewis’s masterpiece still stands strong but Tim Sullivan’s film amazingly holds it’s ground when compared to the classic and that’s one hell of an accomplishment!
The last few films we’ll be discussing were some of the first German splatter films I ever saw as a kid, in fact they were two of the first truly gorey films I ever saw at all, making Herschell Gordon Lewis’s gore look downright tame in comparison. Director Olaf Ittenbach released both of these wonderfully terrible gorefests back in 1997. The first of the two is the gruesome splatterfest THE BURNING MOON.
THE BURNING MOON: Introduces us to drug addled scumbag Peter. After purposely fucking up a job interview and getting into a gang fight with his buddies and a rival gang Peter is punished by having to babysit his little sister. After his parents leave he shoots up some heroin and decides it’d be fun to terrify his little sister with some truly disturbing bedtime stories. Julia’s Love tells what happens when a lonely young woman goes on a date with a handsome young escaped mass murderer, and The Purity takes us back to 1957 where Father Ralf does God’s work by day and rapes and murders by night. The towns folk single out town outcast Justuz as most likely being the killer. For some reason Father Ralf has taken a liking to the outcast and promises him that those who terrorize him shall pay with hellfire..and Father Ralf fulfills that promise after the not so good father kills himself!
Hysterically off, excessively gooey and undeniably enjoyable, The Burning Moon is a so bad it’s good gorefest that starts off slow and unintentionally funny and then explodes in a nonstop cascade of ankle deep gore!
The stories here are as barebones as possible, and in the case of the second tale are even nonsensical (why would a rapist/murder/devil worshiper want to save the man who’s taking the blame!?) but as a lover of B movies that added to the fun by a mile. I also must point out that this film has a fair amount of a tongue in cheek feel that marks it more as a black comedy with a rather dark twist at the end, and for me that’s what made this one enjoyable. If it were more seriously handled it wouldn’t be fun!
The acting here…is downright silly. Every character here is overplayed and cheesy..Almost as if we’re watching a live action 80’s cartoon with gore, this cheese seems to be a trademark for Ittenbach, and one that fans like myself have come to love and enjoy.
The gore here is almost completely absent for the first half of the film. For me this made the surprise of it all a lot more extreme. (quite a few people disagree..but fuck them this is my review) when the blood does start flowing though it flows with a vengeance. Heads are stabbed with machetes, chopped off, exploded with shotgun blasts, bodies are torched, teeth are hit with power drills…this thing had more creative kills then then all of the Friday the 13th movies combined! And every single one of them was done with a practical effect with very little money..In fact, word on the street is that Ittenbach wrote the film around what effects him and his team could cook up with the tiny amount of money they had! Some of the effects are cheesy (and all of them are so excessive they can only be described as cartoonish) but the majority of them still look better then what Hollywood films put out to this day.
The cinematography here is low grade (although definitely not VHS like the majority of reviewers have stated).. I’m going to go on a whim here and say that this may actually be a bad print of either 16mm, super 16mm or super 8 (my best guess though is 16mm) and the DVD doesn’t give this film a polish (thankfully) but the grit works for this one. Im a firm believe that films like this SHOULD look gritty and murky and this one definitely fits into that category.
Overall I give this one 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. Is it a masterpiece..YES! YES IT FUCKIN IS! Maybe it’s not Citizen Cane or Titanic or whatever the fuck Hollywood says is good lately but in the world of German Splatter this one is a classic of epic proportions..the only thing that could make it better is some terrible dubbing!
Next well be talking Ittenbach’s take on both the demon and zombie genres as well as fully flexing his funny bone in PREMUTOS: LORD OF THE LIVING DEAD!
PREMUTOS: LORD OF THE LIVING: focuses on a young man named Mathias who is suffering from strange and unexplainable flashbacks to time throughout history where he couldn’t possibly have been, from WW2 to the crucifixion of Christ, Mathias experiences several strange memories. Things get even stranger when Mathias’s step father uncovers a strange book buried in the back yard. The book tells of the first fallen angel, the lord of death and resurrection Premutos. Every century Premutos returns in human form and our boy Mathias is this centuries unwilling incarnation! When a vial of the bizarre resurrection liquid that was found along with the book accidentally pours on Mathias’s junk (which was injured before hand by a soccer match) which begins the slow transformation from young man to super strong monster!.. But this monster may have just met his match when it has the balls to interrupt Mathias’s militant step father’s Birthday dinner party with a horde of flesh hungry zombies!
Coming across as the German version of Dead Alive meets Dawn Of The Dead with gross out humor and sight gags right of a Revenge Of The Nerds movie. Premutos is disgusting, gratuitous, offensive..and fuckin AWESOME in every way!
I see other reviewers CONSTANTLY state that the story here is “bare bones” “barely there” and “confusing”.. I highly disagree. While the story isn’t overly complicated we see a number of themes and genres brought together successfully. First off, the slapstick and gross out humor. Everything from slip and fall sight gags to enormous flying buggers flying into mouths to good old fashioned one liners are here in full. Then we have the demonic angle. One of the oldest form as of horror tale, the evil spirit story is still one of the most appealing, and here we have a damn interesting (if completely historically inaccurate one) Then we have the bell of the ball, ZOMBIES! And all of these angles are explored and molded together..Say whatever you want about Olaf, he did a wonderful fuckin’ job making this thing work. Our writers and directors over here have problems making buddy cop and batman movies make sense and this guy successfully weaved together a fun, complex and engaging story out of several genres. And those saying they don’t get it..I’m sorry but that’s just plain willful stupidity. As complex as the setup is, it couldn’t be more straight forward. I honestly think these people just read other reviews and then fast forwarded to the gory bits and pieces.
The acting here, for the most part was extremely campy, but here it’s a lot more obvious that this was done on purpose then it was in Burning Moon. When we see the flashbacks we see acting that is actually quite well done (when not including the silly dubbing..which we’ll get to in a bit) My favorite character here is that of Walter, the stepfather who is pretty much what you’d get if you mixed together the sex starved yet badass Uncle from Dead Alive with Ash from Evil Dead. His complete conviction in everyone needing military training, man’s man attitude about everything and brutal fighting skills in conjunction with ridiculous one liners, all while sporting a Ludacris blue suite made him one of the most fun characters ever committed to film. He’s defiantly not the only memorable character but he’s certainly the one who will burn his way into your brain forever when you watch this thing!
The dubbing in this film is something that’s often cited as making this film “so bad its good” and for good reason. The voices on the track are mismatched, often emotionless and all sound as if they were recorded in a basement with a tin can taped around the microphone! Now, I personally see this as a bonus..Sounds crazy but as someone who grew up on foreign films with bad dubbing and fell in love with them so this was great..Although I was pretty pissed to find that the Shock-O-Rama release of the film lacked any subtitles if you opt for the German language version..Especially considering the dub (as funny as it is) is highly suspect..But considering how hard it used to be to get this film, the fact that we get a kickass making of documentary on the disc (along with a whole lot of trailers..which are 99.9% softcore porn) This is a small complaint and one we certainly can’t hold against Ittenbach who likely had nothing to do with the decision.
The gore here made The Burning Moon look like The Sound Of Music! Olaf did the impossible here and trumped the gore he gave us in The Burning Moon by leaps and bounds. We also get gore right away with this one whereas we had to wait almost an hour for it in The Burning Moon. However, much like The Burning Moon, the big finale is the coup de grace and what a fuckin hoot it is! More head trauma then 20 Troma Films, more viscera then all of Fucli’s movies put together..This fuckin thing destroys the human body in virtually every way possible (and plenty that aren’t!) All of the gore is practical and here we find not only quality akin to that in Burning Moon BUT EXCEEDING IT! That’s right, Olaf topped it, and made it look better!
The cinematography here was about the same as that we saw in The Burning Moon, with some great little tricks added in (my favorite being the POV giant spinning bugger) and a quick glance at IMDB confirms that Olaf’s format of choice was indeed 16mm film. Is it gritty and grimy looking? Yup. Does it work for this flick FUCK YES!
One thing That I have to touch on is the terrible fuckin cover Shock-o-Rama put on this great movie..I mean look at that fuckin thing! A couple ugly goth chicks with shitty makeup on and to add insult to injury the fuckin zombie in the background isn’t even from this movie! No, it’s from that little known College student made unofficial sequel to Reanimator REANIMATOR ACADEMY! Why the fuck they would package it this way is beyond me but I’m willing to bet it lost them a fuckin shitload of sales!
Overall I give this film 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. This is my all time favorite Ittenbach film, it’s got a bit of everything I love; comedy, gore, gross out humor, hysterically bad dubbing and a great story. I would highly recommend checking this one out!