Monday, January 6, 2014

Horrible (DVD) - How to Drill Your Brains Out

Horrible. The movie title does not reflect my opinion on the film at all. Mind you that I only just saw the picture this past year under the title Absurd and know it historically as Anthropophagus 2. It has quickly risen to the top of my list, awing me with each subsequent viewing and becoming a splatter picture that I recommend from Italy. It's on my B list. That means when I recommend Italian Horror pictures I start by listing some of the classics and then movie on to a lesser known list for those who have more experience with in the genre. The A list is your Fulcis, Bavas, Argentos... the guys who had the hits. The B list is probably more fun to me now (say nothing of what comes after in lesser lists.... the C's and Z's). The B list will have your Joe D'Amato films. It will include Burial Ground, Hell of the Living Dead... trashier movies. Horrible is in great company and perhaps at the top of the B's if not at the bottom of the A's with the original Anthropophagus. I write all of that hierarchical gibberish, so you might understand that I garner a great deal of respect for this Video Nasty. I don't treat it like it's a movie for the casual viewing of horror pictures but am wary to show it to the uninitiated. You just can't understand the power of an Italian gore picture without the D'Amatos.

Synopsis from Mya Communications:

A man is running, followed by a priest. He comes across a house but the tall gates are locked so he begins to climb them, however he slips at the top and impales himself on the spikes. Injured to death he's take to an hospital. Once there, the doctors discover that this man has an amazing regenerative power and his blood coagulates very quickly, making him almost indestructible. Sergeant Ben Engleman is put on the case, and he finds out that the priest has answers: this man, Mikos Stenopolis, is the result of a nuclear scientific experiment gone wrong. he's now completely insane and will kill everybody who crosses hi path, showing no mercy. 


First let's speak of what works with the Mya release of Horrible. It's a DVD release, and a very complete version, however the quality suffers due to varying source material. I wish I could tell you that the differing source prints were nearly unnoticeable, but it is in fact too obvious. Even reading the disclaimer at the opening of the picture didn't quite prepare me for how I would react every time the screen went fuzzy. Alas, I fear that this gives us little hope for a Hi-Def transfer at some later date, but I have my fingers firmly crossed. Still, the overall narrative is preserved through this amalgamation of prints so you can follow the story.  No extras which isn't surprising given the distro company, but I believe that this film has a rich history. It went by several different common names aside from the Italian title Rosso sangue. Absurd, Anthropophagus 2, Horrible, Monster Hunter. There's a story behind this film that needs to be told, and it's director and star are both prominent folk in the Italian world of cinema. You mean to say we couldn't get a little something from them... older interviews etc.? It's a disappointment for a fan.

Horrible as a movie is one long walk in the day of the life of a juggernaut killer. Our antagonist cannot be killed, is mute like Frankenstein and creative like your favorite slasher. While the connection between Anthropophagus and its "sequel" are purely cast and some basic concepts, it's important to note that each movie does have the same feeling. You wait for crazy murder and the twist that allows for it. The blood spills plentiful in a beautiful Crayola paint river and the guts fall out of their skin cases with regularity. These aren't the realistic special effects of Tom Savini, but the effects of true bloodmeisters from Europe who design kills with long, drawn out attention to brutality. Whether a character is being thrust face first into an oven, drilled in the side of the head FOREVER or having their head split by a band saw, you'll laugh, turn away and then realize D'Amato's not done with you just yet.

Most of the action is backloaded toward the end of the film with minimal explanation as to why we have a near invincible human monster attacking civilians, but who the fuck cares. We don't watch splatter films for reason. We watch for guts and glory and kids terrified to death.

Note: 4:3, 1.66:1 in English or Italian mono.

I want you to pay attention to the color of the blood. I want you to pay attention to the driving powerhouse synth score that will force implements of destruction directly in the wounds they create. Also keep an eye out for George Eastman's luscious locks. That guy's got a serious head of hair (in juxtaposition to this hairline in Anthropophagus). Remember that picking up Horrible as it stands in this version is not because you're expecting a Hi-Def copy. You might be just as happy with an old boot VHS copy or Monster Hunt Wizard box, but you'll see the movie from start to finish.

You can pick up Horrible, but at a price. It appears to be out of print, but you might be able to dig around and get it for a reasonable price. Do not pay hundreds of dollars for it. It will get a proper re-release in time. It's a real, live video nasty straight of the UK list. This would make a great pair with Nightmare City, another feature involving radioactively challenged men with great violent rage, unkillable though lacking the Eastman quaff.

-Doc Terror

1 comment:

  1. A much cheaper route is to import one of the countless Austrian/German region 2 editions under the title "Absurd" or "Anthropophagus 2" -- I think I've even seen it as "Monster Hunter" and "Rosso Sangue" there. It never seems to go out of print; consequently cheaper copies abound !