Thursday, October 24, 2013

SYNAPSE FILMS APPRECATION WEEK: Lucker The Necrophagous - Not a Dating Guide

Welcome to Synapse Appreciation Week!

The week leading up to Halloween will feature reviews of some classic Synapse releases. We chose Synapse because they have a selection worth highlighting, excellent customer service staff on the other side of the website and product that gives fans a little something extra with every release. This past year we were made aware of their Demons and Demons 2 steel book releases as well as a slate of other Italian fare coming soon. We’ll be reviewing all of these in good time, but for right now we want you to get familiar with some of the more notable entries in the Synapse catalog. These will be titles we haven’t, as of yet reviewed. Make sure to go support them by purchasing titles you read about and enjoy as well as perusing their back catalog.

Today we start with a somewhat more obscure entry. A filthy, smutty, raunchy gore piece that seems to inspire a visceral reaction from viewers, whose name is as cryptic and depraved as the film itself.

Lucker The Necrophagous is the tale of John Lucker; brutal homicidal maniac with a penchant for goring up bodies and engaging in acts of deranged sexual gratification with those he’s murdered. I’m not sure that this sounds like good Halloween viewing, but it’s definitely a positive stroke for those who like to be shocked. I had first come across this movie upon my brother-in-law’s recommendation. He insisted that it was absolutely extreme, and that it was a must see for me as I’m a Faces of Death, Nekromantik, A Serbian Film kind of guy. Not always mind you, just sometimes. He also recommended Orozco in the same breath which I watched earlier this year and felt, surprisingly, emotionally effected by. Figuring that his knowledge of the sick and depraved exceeded mine and his taste being comparably debauched, I gave it a shot. 

Synopsis from Synapse Films:

John Lucker is a deeply disturbed serial rapist and killer. Locked up in a clinic after committing eight murders (and keeping the bodies around for his own sexual pleasure after the people died!!!), Lucker manages to escape and flees to the city… searching for the one lone survivor of his previous killing spree. His disgusting rampage continues and more people die one by one.

Lucker must find and kill the woman who escaped him the first time… and no one will get in his way!

What we have in Lucker is a relatively short film. The whole vomit inducing piece is a little over 60 minutes in length (just over 70 if you’re watching the VHS transfer featured on this disc). The quality is exceptionally low, watching like a shot on video piece. The original film doesn’t even exist anymore, so you’re working off of prints that have been in circulation, the director himself responsible for destroying the negatives. You almost don’t want this movie to look pretty. It doesn’t deserve to be beautiful or go to the prom or be taken out for dinner. Lucker needs to feel and look dirty dirty dirty.

Doesn't she look like Traci Lords?
Your kills are somewhat violent though I don’t believe them to be nearly as graphic as some more modern day shock flicks. Where Lucker excels is the post-death treatment of victims. The key question you have to ask yourself here is: Can you take necrophilia? Not really real necrophilia, but acted necrophilia with completely dismembered corpses. If you can stomach it or at least feel you’re on the fringe to be able to tolerate it, then this is a great way to test out your gag reflex. While I’m a bit desensitized to this type of picture, there was one scene in particular that featured a skinned/shredded corpse that had my stomach do a once over. This comes from a guy who doesn’t get bothered by mondo movies anymore. Remember when I ate meat on camera while watching Faces of Death covered in blood after snorting pixy stix?

The merit of Lucker is purely visual and does not rely on suspense, dialogue or intrigue to create a watchable movie. Also important to note that one of the actresses reminded me of Traci Lords though it was clearly not her, and she didn’t perform any circus seal routines on screen. Pity. The gore itself is very strong though it isn’t overly realistic. You’re really looking at a sick gore that is fantastical, low budget and on par with what you might find in a Herschell Gordon Lewis picture with blood that is clearly more realistic or at least not overly Crayola. John Lucker spends half the movie walking around with black gloves and wearing a Fedora begging the questions, was Lucker supposed to be a Giallo picture? The music and quality as well as the like of stylized photography or mystery would say otherwise. Still, can’t ignore that nod to Blood and Black Lace.

This disc features a lengthy interview with the director as well as the aforementioned extended, VHS transfer print. It’s only available on DVD, but as I’ve said before, you want this movie to ride dirty all the way down your TV screen.  The movie was originally released in 1986 during the video boom and shot by Johan Vandewoestijne out of Belgium. Vandewoestijne wouldn’t go on to do too many movies releasing only two more pictures in the 2000’s othwise sitting in the producer’s seat for movies like Maniac Nurses and Rabid Grannies. Synapse released Lucker on DVD in 2007.


-16:9 Anamorphic Director Supervised/Approved Version of the LUCKER “DIRECTOR’S CUT”
-English Audio Version
-Original VHS Version of LUCKER THE NECROPHAGOUS [English with Dutch Subtitles]

You can pick up Lucker the Necrophagous now at Synapse Films. Perfect for the shock feature collector or newbie shocker trying to break into the guts and gore.


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