Posts Tagged ‘Italian Horror’

Absurd-1981-movie-3

AKA: Anthropohagus 2; Monster Hunter; Horrible; The Grim Reaper 2

Directed By: Joe D’Amato

Starring: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Charles Borromel, Ian Danby, Ted Russoff

Synopsis: A psychopath with a healing factor escapes and goes on a killing spree.

Thoughts:   Absurd is short on plot, but goes the extra mile with the gore. Although it is often referred to as a sequel to Anthropophagus, there is very little tying the movies together. Both feature George Eastman as a homicidal maniac, both were written by Eastman and both were directed by Joe D’Amato. I’ve read that critics accused Absurd of being nothing more than a Halloween rip-off upon its release. The basic premise is the same, with a silent killer stalking his prey, being near impossible to kill, and both films feature a babysitter. As I was watching Absurd, I didn’t feel like it was a Halloween rip-off, or at least any more so than other slasher films from the 80s.

It’s easy to see why Absurd landed on the BBFC’s radar. It had the pedigree of Anthropophagus and Joe D’Amato and is filled to the brim with gory deaths. Other than that, I find Absurd to be unremarkable. There isn’t an overly notorious scene like one from Anthropophagus, the story is straight forward and the acting isn’t memorable. 88 Films released a good-looking version of the film in their Italian Collection if you want to check it out, and if you are a completest like me, you’ll pick it up because they numbered their releases.

Fans of the Video Nasty list will surely check this one out, as will people exploring the filmography of Joe D’Amato, but frankly, there are better examples of Italian horror and splatter films.

How Nasty is it? The gore starts from the very beginning here as George Eastman eviscerates himself climbing over a fence and his intestines are hanging out and doesn’t relent until the end.

ZombieCreepingFlesh_quad-1

 

Directed By: Bruno Mattei

Starring: Jose Gras, Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garafalo, Selan Karay, Joseph Lluis Fonoll

Synopsis: Government experiments lead to a zombie outbreak.

Thoughts: The success of 1978’s Dawn of the Dead led to many, many zombie movies flooding the market in the 80s. It just so happens that many of those zombie movies came from Italy. Bruno Mattei, already well on his way to becoming a master of Italian genre cinema, set out to make a film similar to Dawn, but lighter in tone. What was delivered was a bit of a mash-up of Italian action movie, cannibal movie and zombies.

The story, although basic in premise, is drawn out for a bit too long. The runtime, at just over an hour and forty minutes would have benefited from some tighter editing. The effects were also all over the place. In some scenes, the zombies and attacks were very well done and realistic. In others, it looks like some amateurs first attempts at creating zombie make-up.

The acting is also laughable, especially that of the team of commandos that are dispatched to deal with the outbreak. Unlike a lot of movies from this era of Italian horror, there aren’t any recognizable names here.

Even with Zombie Creeping Flesh being a bit too long and sloppy at times, and the acting being subpar at best, I had a good time watching this. It embodies the term “so bad it’s good.” If you want to watch the best of zombie cinema, stick with Romero and Fulci. If you want a movie that you can sit back and crack jokes about the acting and camera work, this is a great candidate.

How Nasty Is It?

This has some pretty gory scenes of gut munching nastiness, especially during the portion of the movie where the group encounters the cannibal tribe. It’s something that is seen throughout the zombie and cannibal genres, but you can see how it caught the eye of the BBFC.

anthropophagus

 

Directed By: Joe D’Amato

Starring: Tisa Farrow, George Eastman, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini, Mark Bodin, Bob Larson, Rubina Rey, Zora Kerova

Synopsis: A group of friends plan to tour some islands in the Mediterranean, but run into trouble in the form of a deformed cannibalistic maniac.

Thoughts: If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching Italian horror movies, is that it’s a pretty bad idea to visit islands. You’re guaranteed to run into cannibals, zombies or some sort of bloodthirsty maniacs.

Anthropophagus is no different. We see two German tourists stop off at a beach and immediately meet their demise at the hands of an unseen killer wielding a rather large butcher knife. As the movie progresses, we find that the killer is Klaus Wortman, who was believed to be lost at sea with his wife and son. Klaus survived, but his family did not, and he ate them to survive, which ultimately drove him insane and led to him becoming a cannibal.

The story is pretty solid, although the characters make some very poor decisions that you’ll find in a lot of horror movies. They split up, they venture into areas they shouldn’t and ultimately, most of them die for it. I always find it hard to critique actors when the movie is dubbed, but Anthropophagus never came across as campy, so that says something for the actors, the script and the direction.

Joe D’Amato, mostly known for sexploitation type movies (both hardcore and softcore), ventured into the horror genre in the early 80s and did so with a splash of blood and gore. In addition to Anthropophagus, he directed its sequel Absurd and Beyond the Darkness.

Based on his background, Anthropophagus has surprisingly little sex in it. Instead, he focused on the atmosphere and brutality of the attacks. It worked very well, as Klaus is an extremely memorable and creepy killer.

There are a multitude of very bad movies on the Video Nasty list. Anthropophagus is not just another boring gore fest with bad FX. It has an above average story, some great direction and a great setting. Add that to some pretty nasty gore, and you have yourself one of the better entries on the list.

How Nasty Is It? This one deserves its place on the list, if only for a couple of scenes. There are some pretty long stretches where there isn’t a lot of action, but when there is action, it’s pretty gruesome. This is topped off by Eastman catching up to Maggie and rips her unborn child from her womb and eats it. This scene actually had some prosecutors believing that this was an actual snuff film!