Event Horizon (1997)

Event HorizonThe year is 2047, and the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark is dispatched to investigate the distress signal from a starship called Event Horizon. This starship disappeared seven years ago, during its maiden voyage to Proxima Centauri, and now it has mysteriously appeared in a decaying orbit around Neptune. The eerie distress signal consists of a series of screams and howls, in which the Event Horizon’s designer Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) believes is the Latin phrase “Liberate me” (“save me”). When the crew of the rescue vessel, joined by Dr. Weir, enters the ship they find evidence of a massacre. They search for survivors, but then the ship’s gravity drive activates and causes a shock wave which damages the rescue vessel. They are all then forced to stay on the Event Horizon, and soon begin having hallucinations which corresponds to their fears and trauma…


Event Horizon is a science fiction horror film from 1997, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson and written by Philip Eisner. The filming took place in Pinewood Studios, and Anderson modeled the starship after Notre Dame Cathedral using an architectural cam program. And oh boy, did this film have a troubled production, where the filming and editing was rushed by Paramount when it was revealed that Titanic would not meet its projected release. Not only did the movie suffer from being rushed, but to top it all people complained about the “extreme gore” during the test screenings, and it’s claimed that some of the audience actually fainted. Even the Paramount executives were shocked by how “gruesome” it was, and demanded a shorter runtime with less gore, so apparently some of the best bits were cut away from the movie. The original 130-minute film was savagely edited on the studio’s demand, much to Anderson’s dismay.


It was both a commercial and critical flop, grossing only $42 million on its $60 million budget. In some way, the movie entered into its redeeming phase when it sold pretty well on home video, where the DVD release sold so well that Paramount actually contacted Anderson with wishes of beginning the restoration of the deleted footage. But, too late, because at this point it had been either lost or destroyed. So thanks a lot for that, you squeamish arseholes who demanded the movie to be cut during the test screenings. Had it not been for you, we’d have a much more disturbing and gory movie.


The movie can be best summed up as a haunted house-story set on a spaceship, which has quite literally been to Hell and back. Thus I guess some people were quick to label it as some kind of Alien meets Hellraiser, which isn’t really the case. Just like the typical haunted house setting, the fears play mostly on the psychological at first, and we already know from the eerie and sinister surroundings that things are not as they should be, with strange things happening that spooks the crew. And let’s face it: supernatural happenings in space is a lot more claustrophobic and threatening compared to happening in some old house. In a house, you can at least run outside…


The dark, empty hallways in the spaceship appear just as menacing and threatening as the hallways in an old mansion, and the visions the characters are seeing are suspenseful and effective. The performances are good, but best is Sam Neill’s performance as Dr. Weir who slowly starts falling into madness and becoming absorbed by the gruesomeness the starship brought back with it. There are no aliens running amok here, just anxiety, paranoia, violence and gore. It’s like the place it came from had been the very depths of Hell itself, which makes it very interesting when you keep in mind that the design of the ship was modelled after the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.


Over the years Event Horizon has developed a cult following as well, sometimes referenced in other works of popular culture. It is an effective horror film albeit not a masterpiece, and it sucks that some of its most disturbing content is lost. Overall, it’s a decent 90s sci-fi horror which will probably forever hold the mystery of what those extra minutes of playtime could have been.


Event Horizon Event Horizon


Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Philip Eisner
Country & year: UK, US, 1997
Actors: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Peter Marinker, Holley Chant, Barclay Wright, Noah Huntley
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0119081/



Vanja Ghoul








The Boneyard (1991)

The VoidAlley Oates is a well-respected psychic who’s received several prizes for helping the police solve crime mysteries over the years. Most of her job was to solve brutal crimes which involved children, which seems to have taken a toll on her mental health. Now she’s a deeply depressed, overweight (if she wasn’t already) middle-aged woman who spends her time burying herself in her bed under a mountain of blankets.


For some strange, bizarre reasons, this lady made me think of the nanny from Duckula. She’s got hands that could break coconuts, and I bet that her big, solid solid figure could easily crash through walls. Wouldn’t mess with her.


Anyways – life goes on as children are still missing and the local police need her help. A police man manages to drag her out of her hibernation cave to the the local basement morgue to unravel some dark mystery about three ghoulish corpse children. We learn that the bodies of the kids are possessed by some Asian demons called Kyoshi, and as they’re getting trapped in the basement, the ghoul juniors are about to wake up at any moment to get the schlock party started.


The Boneyard starts off with a dry and serious tone, more than it should, with static and boring dialogue scenes that didn’t leave the best first impression. But that starts to shift slightly when we enter the morgue and get introduced to the wacky receptionist, Miss Poopinplatz (lol) and her cute little poodle named Floofsoms. From here on, the film starts to loosen up and get more drunk as the silly, B-movie fun starts to set in.


Return of The Living Dead meets a very low-budget version of George Romero’s Day of the Dead is maybe the best way to describe this odd little film. The gore is very minimal here though, yet The Boneyard has several moments of solid fun value and special effects. The little kids who run around in their ghoulish rubber costumes add to the goofy charm. And then we have one of the characters who turns into an animatronic monster straight from Beetlejuice. The film rounds off with a crazy climax which could as well have been a deleted scene from Peter Jackson’s Braindead. Some name-dropping here, I know, but you get the point. Overall, it’s nothing spectacular but has its unique scenes and moments that make it an entertaining midnight watch. Ruff, ruff.


The Boneyard is on Blu-ray from 88 Films.


The Boneyard The Boneyard The Boneyard


Writer and director: James Cummins
Country & year: US, 1991
Actors: Ed Nelson, Deborah Rose, Norman Fell, James Eustermann, Denise Young, Willie Stratford, Phyllis Diller, Robert Yun Ju Ahn, Richard F. Brophy, Sallie Middleton Kaltreider, Janice Dever, Cindy Dollar-Smith
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0101497/



Tom Ghoul













Lord of Illusions (1995)

Lord of IllusionsThe year is 1982, and a man called Nix has gathered his cult members in an old house in the Mojave Desert. His disciples refer to him as “The Puritan”, and he’s got real magic powers. He plans to sacrifice a young girl, and convinces his followers that this will save the world and grant them wisdom. At the same time, a group of former cult members are driving through the desert in order to stop him. Among them is Philip Swann, who ends up being attacked by Nix’s magic but is then saved by the young girl who manages to shoot Nix through the heart with Swann’s gun. Of course, this isn’t enough to kill the guy, so Swann takes a hellish-looking iron mask and fastens it on Nix’s head in order to “bind” him and his powers. Apparently, he then dies, and his body is buried in the desert. Fast forward to present day, which is thirteen years later, we’re in New York City where a private detective named Harry D’Amour is investigating occult cases, including an exorcism case which shakes him badly. During a new investigation which is supposed to not have any occult-related cases, he still ends up in a messy attack on a fortune teller which warns him that “the Puritan is coming”, hinting that Nix may return from the dead. The fortune teller dies before he can reveal anything more. Then, he gets hired by a woman named Dorothea, who is Philip Swann’s wife. Swann now works as a famous stage illusionist, and she fears for her husband and wants D’Amour to investigate if he’s being targeted. He’s invited to Swann’s next magic show, which then goes terribly wrong…and that’s just the start of D’Amour’s descent into a world of magic and madness.


Lord of Illusions is a neo-noir supernatural horror film from 1995, written and directed by Clive Barker. It is based on one of his own short stories, named The Last Illusion, which was published in 1985 in Volume 6 of the anthology Books of Blood. The movie stars Scott Bakula as the private detective D’Amour, and Kevin J. O’Connor (Swann) and Famke Janssen (Dorothea), the latter two both starring in Deep Rising from 1998. While Clive Barker kept many of the elements from the short story, he made enough changes so it’s practically a new story, which was apparently met with mixed opinions from the readers of his original work.


Those familiar with Clive Barker’s work knows that he’s most known for Hellraiser, and that his stories often range from traditional horror to dark fantasy and sometimes even comedy. A recurrent theme is how seemingly ordinary people end up in situations that are either supernatural or violent/mysterious in some kind of way. The stories can often be morbid and disturbing, and while some of them are more fun than unsettling, there is one story of his that really stuck with me, and that’s In the Hills, the Cities which was published in the first Books of Blood volumes. It was also published in the comic anthology Tapping the Vein with haunting visuals by John Bolton. His most famous work to this day is still Hellraiser, which was based on his short story The Hellbound Heart. A remake was also made in 2022, directed by David Bruckner.


Lord of Illusions is a movie that is nowhere close as renowned as Hellraiser, however. And it’s definitely more of an odd film, and thus destined to bounce off the radar for a lot of people. It’s a shame, though, as it really offers a nice blend of neo-noir with cosmic horror. A masterpiece it ain’t, but it’s still damn entertaining. The movie starts off with a bang, giving us a glimpse into a crazy cult leader’s world and his brainwashed followers, and a fight which ends in a brutal scene. While there are some parts in the film that move along a little slowly, it doesn’t really let up from there as we’re being presented with a steady delivery of action, murders, magic and insanity. There’s a few twists and turns underway as well, and some decent gore. Most specifically it’s got style; it’s pleasant to watch with a lot of intriguing scenes and settings like the creepy decrepit house in the desert and the magician’s victorian mansion for example. As for the movie’s special effects, there’s a range of the good to the pretty outdated. Some of the death and gore scenes are fairly well executed with believable effects, while some of the otherworldly elements looks like something from a Nintendo 64 game…but honestly, that’s part of the fun, and adds to the overall peculiar atmosphere of the movie.


So all in all I think that Lord of Illusions is a fun spooky ride, providing a bit of mystery and a lot of dark magic. It was the last film Clive Barker directed, and it may not be Clive Barker at his best, but it is definitely enjoyable.


Lord of Illusions Lord of Illusions Lord of Illusions


Writer and director: Clive Barker
Country & year: US, UK, 1995
Actors: Scott Bakula, Kevin J. O’Connor, Famke Janssen, J. Trevor Edmond, Daniel von Bargen, Joseph Latimore, Sheila Tousey, Susan Traylor, Ashley Tesoro, Michael Angelo Stuno, Keith Brunsmann
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0113690/



Vanja Ghoul








Puppet Master 4 (1993)

Puppet Master 4And now it’s getting really silly, if it hasn’t gotten already. In Puppet Master 4 we get our ass back to the Bodega Bay Inn with a new timeline where we get introduced to yet more meat suit balloons. And like the previous film, the puppets are the good guys. So, who’s the baddies here you’d ask? Say HELLO to the demon Lord Sutekh, who’s not some obscure former member of the metal band Gwar, but the ruler of Hell, the Prime Evil himself. The intro sequence where we see his stark color contrasted underground chamber as he sits on his throne surrounded with the most expensive Halloween decorations the budget allowed, not to mention the several piles of human skulls stacked around, surely grabs one’s attention. And as we go back and forth to this set, it’s the most memorable aspect of the film just by how over the top, cheesy and cartoonish it is. It’s something straight out from an 80s Saturday Morning Cartoon, and as a kid of the 80s myself there’s certainly some nostalgic strings to be pulled here, no pun intended.


Meanwhile at Bodega Bay Inn we meet the young scientist Rick who, among his girlfriend and some other friends, discover the secrets of Toulon’s work with the puppets and the Elixir of Life, the whole package. A lot of nonsensical BS happens with an unfocused script with as much direction like a Russian drunk driver on a regular thursday afternoon, but the premise is that the demon lord we saw in the beginning wants the elixir so he can do whatever. Since he can’t leave his domain he sends a couple of Totems, or just simply Demon Puppets, to invade Bodega Bay Inn and get the treasure. Toulon’s puppets have to save the day.


Toulon pops up here and there as a bizarre hologram as he gives some advice. We have some quick lackluster kills with some leftover cranberry juice as blood. The human characters are just meh and generic. I was hoping to see more of the demon lord and if he was ever to leave the depths and enter the surface to raise hell and mayhem. Never did, and that’s my biggest disappointment when they could do more of this character. Maybe it was a matter of budget which I would guess they blew most of on the demon lord’s set-design, or all the five who wrote the script couldn’t come to any agreements on what to do with him.


The final act is the most entertaining when it’s basically Puppets vs. Hellpuppets. Naive, dumb, innocent fun with a great dose of lighthearted puppet action, some pretty decent stop-motion and lively camerawork. Probably more fun for the kids and given that’s there’s no tits or other sleazy nudity here, and the gore is almost non existent, this is as close it can get to being family friendly. There’s also a weird Frankenstein reference thrown in here which leads to a robopuppet shooting lightning from his head. And the good old classic hand-drawn lightning effects will never, ever get old.


And then the film ends with a to be continued …


… and the film could just as well have ended there because there isn’t much of a continuation in Puppet Master 5 which was made simultaneously with this one. It’s the same movie all over again with little to no pay off. More scenes of puppet action while the demon lord just goofs around in his underworld basement sniffing his own sulfur-smelling farts. The fifth film was also promoted as The Final Chapter, and ha-ha, there’s only ten more films. As a first time watcher of this franchise I was a little surprised it was able to barely keep afloat to this point, because it goes straight down the toilet from here on… and I just leave it at that. All films (except for two) are available at fullmoonfeatures.com. Have fun and good luck.


Puppet Master 4 Puppet Master 4 Puppet Master 4


Director: Jeff Burr
Writers: Todd Henschell, Steven E. Carr, Jo Duffy, Douglas Aarniokoski, Keith Payson
Country & year: USA, 1993
Actors: Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Tunneler, Six Shooter, Decapitron, Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ash Adams, Teresa Hill, Guy Rolfe, Felton Perry, Stacie Randall, Michael Shamus Wiles, Dan Zukovic
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0107899/


Related posts: Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991) | Puppet Master II (1990) | Puppet Master (1989)



Tom Ghoul













Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991)

Puppet Master III: Toulon's RevengeIn the third installment of the Puppet Master franchise we go back to year 1941 and the place is Berlin, Germany where we meet André Toulon who works at the local puppetry theatre. And already here is the continuity off the rails when we learned in the first film that Toulon committed suicide in 1939 to escape the nazis, yet here is he alive and well and looks even younger. And if you thought this continuity blunder was bad, then you haven’t seen Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich where Toulon is suddenly an evil, unearthly and monstrous nazi himself. Oh my. Anyways… Toulon is also a happy man with his wife Elsa and it’s all flowers and rainbows until a nazi spy gets his attention on Toulon’s mysterious green serum, Elixir of Life, which wakes his puppets to life. And the nazi colonel Major Kraus (Richard Lynch) is very interested in that serum so he can resurrect dead bodies to use as human shields at the battlefront. With a group of Gestapos they invade his home and Kraus shoots and kills Elsa like the main villain he is. Toulon manages to escape and settles down in a hiding place where he’ll plan his way to avenge his wife and kill those nazi pigs with the help of his loyal puppets.


Although ocean air is always good for your health it was refreshing to get a break from the same locations on Bodega Bay Inn to the dark smogfilled streets of Berlin. And as Full Moon’s very limited resources to do a WW2 film is pretty far-fetched, they surprisingly nailed it. The sets, the costumes, the noir atmosphere is spot on. I was also surprised how the stock-footage of a crowded WW2 Berlin was able to blend in.


Then of course we have the puppets themselves which from here on and onward are actually the good-guys. Don’t know what I actually feel about that but as long they fight against nazis I’m in for it. And yes, nazis gets killed here in a straight-forward fashion, but like the second film and the upcoming ones, the kills are pretty tame and underwhelming. Some blood here and there and that’s pretty much it. Oh yeah, some quick shots of bare breasts, I almost forgot to mention. The new puppet, Six Shooter, is fun to watch though. He’s some dark bizarro version of Woody from Toy Story.


Puppet Master III is also regarded as the best one in the series and I agree.  The script is on its most cohesive, more steady pacing and more interesting characters to pay attention to. The strongest card here is the main villain, Major Kraus, played by the charismatic cult legend Richard Lynch, the most top-tier actor you’ll witness in the whole franchise. It also have the unique whimsical Full Moon trademark tone from first two perfectly balanced with the more serious undertone, which adds to the odd entertainment value.


Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge


Director: David DeCoteau
Writers: Charles Band, C. Courtney Joyner, David Schmoeller
Country & year: USA, 1991
Actors: Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Tunneler, Six Shooter, Leech Woman, Djinn, Mephisto, Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, Kristopher Logan, Aron Eisenberg, Walter Gotell, Sarah Douglas
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0102728/


Related posts: Puppet Master 4 (1993) | Puppet Master II (1990) | Puppet Master (1989)



Tom Ghoul












Puppet Master II (1990)

Puppet MasterWe’re in the gloomy smoke machine-filled Shady Oaks Cemetery where the puppets pour some green liquid on André Toulon’s grave to finally resurrect their beloved master. After this atmospheric and eerie opening, we get introduced to the new characters, a group of young ghost hunters who are sent to the Bodega Inn to investigate the murder of Megan Gallagher, the wife of the previous owner.


One of the investigators go missing after getting kidnapped by two puppets and, ah shit, here we go again. There’s a weird side-plot with a redneck couple that lives in a shack not so far from the hotel, and they’re there only to get body counted. A soft-spoken man of mystery with a Romanian accent shows up at the hotel who looks like a mix of The Invinsible Man and Héctor from the Spanish Sci-Fi thriller Timecrimes. And who could that possibly be and why is he so interested in collecting brain tissues as people at the hotel starts to get killed? Huh.. Only Scooby-Doo would know…


Although this could also easily be a remake of the first one, there are some new ideas here to make some progress in the franchise which later goes more back-and-forth in the timeline. We have some flashbacks as we dip more into the lore and backstory of André Toulon and how he and his wife came across the Elixir of Life somewhere in Egypt. The characters are mostly disposable meat balloons with their own personal drama, but they’re at least far more awake and in presence than they were in the first one.


But the star here is the new puppet Torch which, you’ve already guessed, torches his victims to hell with a flamethrower as a hand. Totally rad! And then we have a quick classic paused movie moment with three seconds of bare tits. The kills are not to get too exited about. We have a lackluster scene with the Tunneller who drills the skull of one of the sleeping victims, some quick knifing from Blade and the only memorable one is a woman who gets burned alive by the Torch. There’s also a scene in broad daylight where some kid encounters Torch, which cuts off before he gets roasted. No dwarfs were available for body burn, I assume. Meh! Puppet Master II is overall entertaining as long as it’s going thanks to the mysterious villain, tasty gothic visuals, gloomy and light-dimming atmosphere, the puppets themselves, catchy tunes from composer Richard Band (brother of Charles Band) but otherwise, not much that will stick to the memory.


Puppet Master II Puppet Master II Puppet Master II


Director: David Allen
Writers: Charles Band, David Pabian, David Schmoeller
Country & year: USA, 1990
Actors: Blade, Pinhead, Jester, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Torch, Djinn, Mephisto, Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, Greg Webb, Charlie Spradling, Jeff Celentano, Nita Talbot
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0100438/


Related posts: Puppet Master 4 (1993) | Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991) | Puppet Master (1989)



Tom Ghoul













Virus (1999)

VirusA Russian research vessel, Volkov, is out in the South Pacific and communicates with the orbiting space station Mir. Suddenly, some kind of energy source from space hits the space station, kills the cosmonauts and sends beams down to Volkov, causing an electrical surge that invades the ship’s computer and causes chaos and destruction. A week later, the alcoholic captain Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland) is out with his crew on the tugboat Sea Star in terrible weather, and ends up losing the cargo. Which is uninsured, of course. Matters go from bad to worse when they discover that the engine room is taking in water, and they try to take refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs. Then, Volkov appears on their radar, like an ominous ghost ship out of nowhere. Of course, the captain knows the ship and its possible worth, and he orders the crew aboard as the tempting thought of millions in salvage could turn this horrible day into a splendid one.


When they get on board they notice that most of the electronics have been destroyed, and the crew appears to be missing. There’s something else lurking onboard, however…a robotic, spider-like creature appear and kills one of them, and they meet a terrified woman who later proves to be Nadia Vinogravoda, the Chief Science Officer on the ship, and she desperately tries to prevent them from turning on the ship’s power. At first they refuse to listen to any of the gibberish nonsense she is telling them, but when a gun-wielding cyborg appears that is supposedly one of the missing crew members on Volkov, they realize that what Nadia tells them is true, and something out of this world has taken over the ship with the intention of killing what it thinks is a “virus” in this world. In other words: kill mankind.


Virus is a science fiction horror movie from 1999, directed by John Bruno and starring a fair share of well-known faces. Despite high competence in visual effects and some famous actors, the movie turned out to be a flop and failed to appease both critics and moviegoers, and with a budget of 75 million dollars the box office ended up with a measly 30.7 million dollars. Ouch. A bunch of merchandise was also created, including action figures, comics, and a survival horror video game called Virus: It is Aware by Cryo Interactive made for the Sony Playstation. Just like the movie, however, the reception was rather poor and caused the game to fall into obscurity. Flop after flop, in other words. Over time, however, the movie has gained a bit of a cult following. Despite the rough reception, it is in hindsight a decent enough sci-fi horror. Not a masterpiece by any means, and yeah, somewhat derivative and unoriginal, but there is a fair amount of action and old-school gore effects. Sometimes that’s all you need for a fun time.


The movie was mostly filmed in Newport News, Virginia, on a ship anchored in the James River. The ship used as the Volkov was actually a retired Missile Range Instrumentation Ship (USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, T-AGM-10), and one of the satellite dish antennas was intentionally damaged for the film’s final scene. John Bruno, the director, is a visual effects artist and has worked on numerous animated movies and TV series, including Heavy Metal (1981), The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) and the rather obscure Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977). He’s also done visual effects for movies like Poltergeist (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), and the NOS4A2 TV series, just to mention some. So yeah, the old school effects in Virus are solid as hell and even gorier than I remembered. Also, Donald Sutherland works well as a greedy, sadistic and slightly cheesy villain.


There’s been a fair amount of older horror movies that were downright crapped on back when they were released, and are later getting a cult following and some delayed praise for being what they are (Deep Rising, for example, one of my favorite sea-monster movies, fits well into this category). As a techno-bodyhorror B-movie, despite not being great by any means, Virus still holds up well as a gory B-grade popcorn-flick.


Virus Virus Virus


Director: John Bruno
Chuck Pfarrer, Dennis Feldman
Country & year: USA, 1999
Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Yuri Chervotkin, Keith Flippen, Olga Rzhepetskaya-Retchin
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0120458/



Vanja Ghoul













Premutos – The Fallen Angel (1997)

PremutosHail Premutos! Premutos who? The very first fallen angel, of course. Forget all about Lucifer, here it’s only Premutos that matters, ready to conquer the world of the living and the dead by spreading death, carnage and insanity (as if the world wasn’t insane enough already). But in order to reach into present time, the son of Premotus must clear his path throughout the human history. And in order to do so he has to be constantly reincarnated. Sounds rather stressful.


The plot here is all over the fucking place, scattered over various time periods, so I will do my best to cut it as minimal as possible so it doesn’t get as long as The Satanic Bible. Here we go: We start in year 1023 in the middle of a gory battle-field in India, where the son of Premutos gets reincarnated through a skeleton that transforms back to life. As the skeleton transforms into a human in the cheesiest low-budget style possible, Premutos Jr. rises from the ground, holding two severed heads. Some hand-drawn lightning sparks from his blood-soaked body, ready to raise Hell, but his stay gets reduced to not more than fifteen seconds before he gets stabbed to death. Oof! Better luck next time.


We take a huge leap to year 1942 and the place is on a graveyard somewhere in Germany where the old farmer Rudolf digs up a scroll, or whatever. Since the town folks are being suspicious after bodies are being missing from the graves, a mob breaks into his house to kill him. In the basement they are met by the sight of dead bodies, just in time to rise as zombies and cause mayhem. One of them gets his dick bitten off. Fun stuff. But to cut it short (non pun intended), Rudolf buries the manifest that reveals the black magic of Premutos. He then attempts to bring his wife (I guess,) back to life, only to his disappointment as her head suddenly explodes like a melon put in a microwave, just like that. No time to mourn as the mob bursts through the door to finally kill Rudolph. Rest in peace.


Then we’re in the present time, in mid 90s Germany where we meet the young man Matthias (Olaf Ittenbach). He’s a clumsy tard that always fails to impress his love-interest next door. Calling him mentally inept feels wrong since everyone seems that way, probably due to the bad and goofy acting. However, he’s the last and seemingly final reincarnation to open the gate for Premutos to enter the modern world. He’s of course unnaware until he has nightmares and flashbacks from his many earlier lives, from various scenarios as he goes more and more insane. We see him as a farmer in a plague-infested Bavarian Forest in 1293 where he meets the old hag from Resident Evil Village telling him that Premutos will come, as she’s holding a severed head and laughs hysterically. In another flashback he’s a soldier from WW 2. He transforms into a werewolf-like creature. Then we jump back to present time where we finally get introduced to the film’s hero or anti-hero: Matthias’ stepdad Walter (Christopher Stacey) – a jolly, bubbly guy who looks like a caricature of a hillbilly straight from the heartlands of ‘Merica in love with his rifle. He adds a lot of the fun factor. But anyway, today it’s his birthday and tonight, to quote 45 Grave: it’s partytime! But first, he digs a hole in the garden to plant a flower, because why not, only to find the book we saw earlier. And just to add gas on the fire, he gives it to Matthias.


Nothing goes wrong from here on, and Walter has the birthday party of his life, all wrapped up with a fifteen minutes finale with a non-stop splatter orgy with the almost impossible attempt to outdo the gore-meter of Peter Jackson’s Braindead.




Premutos – The Fallen Angel is regarded as Olaf Ittenbach’s best film, his magnum opus and the only film that someone would bring up with a good conscience if you were asked to recommend only one film from his still growing filmography. I haven’t seen a quarter of his resume yet as we speak, so I can’t really subjectively confirm. But still, Premutos is a fun package of a low-budget gorefest that blends inspirations from Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi and Andreas Schnaas.


Based on the remastered Blu-ray version there’s a lot of decent visuals here. The flashback scenes are quite competently shot with flexible camera work, and a sense of sober cinematography on set and fitting spots for locations, which is a rare element in a film like this. Although it’s overall completely B-Movie chaos, it shows that the director had more ambitions than to only focus on the gore and bodycounts. The present-day scenes however are dull and flat where we see Matthias on a local football match, getting his nutsack destroyed after being hit with the ball. Yeah, shit happens. And there’s some other boring filler-scenes here that doesn’t add much, but they’re minimal.


The birthday party scenes, before Hölle gets real, are fun, though, where it’s clear that the actors had a blast and were probably getting drunk for real while the camera was rolling. One of the guests is the doppelganger of Sam Hyde, by the way. Just take a look at the dude with the round glasses on the seventh screenshot down below and convince me otherwise. Anyway – they get so drunk that they start to puke and … grab their fresh spew and throw it at each other. Fun times!


But of course, we’re mainly here for the gore, and it sure delivers. Just like the Hell scene from The Burning Moon we get a non-stop batshit carnage that goes on for over fifteen minutes. Some effects are really great, some are straight-out cartoonish and cheap, but overall a perfect dessert for gorehounds, if you weren’t pleased already. Body parts get ripped off left and right, torsos cut in half with a chainsaw and much more. Whether the film did outdo Braindead or not, I would bet that Olaf Ittenbach at least outdid himself with Premutos.


The film was released on Blu-ray later this year by Unearthed Films. It contains a fully restored version, which looks great, with the original German dialogues. A new, animated opening is also added. We also get a bonus-disc with the soundtrack and a vintage VHS version with pure bonkers Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence-style dubbing  for those who want more so-bad-it’s-good experience.


Premutos Premutos Premutos



Writer and director: Olaf Ittenbach
Original title: Premutos – Der gefallene Engel
Also known as: Premutos – Lord of the Living Dead
Country & year: Germany, 1997
Actors: André Stryi, Christopher Stacey, Ella Wellmann, Anke Fabré, Fidelis Atuma, Olaf Ittenbach, Heike Münstermann, Ingrid Fischer, Frank Jerome, Susanne Grüter, Ronald Fuhrmann, Renate Sigllechner
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0144555/


Tom Ghoul













Premutos Lord of the Living Dead from Unearthed Films on Vimeo.

Two Evil Eyes (1990)

Sometime in the late 80s, George A. Romero was invited to Italy to eat pasta and sip red wine with Dario Argento. The result of that meeting became Two Evil Eyes, an anthology of two films, one hour each, based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The original idea was an anthology of four segments in which also John Carpenter and Stephen King was considered to make the other two. However, Carpenter was busy with other stuff while Stephen King, still and forever traumatized by the experience with Maximum Overdrive, had no desire to call himself a “moron” a second time, and thus Four Evil Eyes got reduced to Two Evil Eyes.



The millionaire Ernest Valdemar is on his deathbed in his big mansion suffering from terminal illness, and his younger and gold-digging wife Jessica and Dr. Robert Hoffman have a plan: to hypnotize Valdemar into signing the will papers so they can get away with all his money. During the last hypnosis session, things go horribly wrong and the old man dies … well, sort of. They hide him in the freezer in the basement while Valdemar seems to be trapped in hypnosis and moans with a ghoulish voice that a bunch of demons will take over his body.


George A. Romero were on hiatus during most of the 90s where he made only two films; The Dark Half and this one. Instead of tons of gore, we get a slow build-up and an eerie atmosphere where Creepshow meets Tales From the Crypt. Even though the story itself is intriguing, Romero’s direction feels as stale as if it was meant to be made for TV, and the runtime could have been cut down to thirty minutes. The scenes with Jessica and Dr. Robert is as dry and boring as a soap opera, and with even stiffer acting than Valdemar in the freezer. As already mentioned though the atmosphere is great, and Tom Savini, who worked on both segments, provides with some top-notch prosthetic makeup and a memorable death-scene.


THE BLACK CAT – Dario Argento

We follow the crime-photographer Rod Usher (Harvey Keitel) who documents the most brutal crime-scenes in Pittsburgh, George Romeo’s hometown of all places. Rod is a cold psychopath with a distant relationship with his empathic girlfriend Annabelle. As she feels ignored, she gets some comfort in a stray black cat. The cat hates Rod and he hates the cat back and as the classic story goes, he kills the cat who then starts to haunt him until he descends into complete madness.


The Black Cat is one of Poe’s most famous works, and this film adaptation is made in modern times where a crime-scene photographer has been replaced with the author himself, Poe. Harvey Keitel is the money shot here, alongside with FX maker Tom Savini, and the only reason alone to give Two Evil Eyes a watch, to be honest. Argento’s segment is also far more stylish, better paced, better acted and of course more graphic.


So, there you have it. Two short horror tales from two directors with their own style of filmmaking and approach to storytelling. And some with more meat on the bone than the other.  For HD buffs, the film is available on 4K Ultra HD from Vingar Syndrome.


Two Evil Eyes


Directors: George A. Romero, Dario Argento
Writers: George A. Romero, Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Peter Koper
Original title: Due occhi diabolici
Country & year: Italy, USA, 1990
Actors: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Jeff Howell, E.G. Marshall, Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Holter Graham, Martin Balsam, Chuck Aber
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0100827/


Tom Ghoul













Violent Shit II (1992)

violent shit 2

We are in an open field somewhere at the countryside, where a drug deal between two gangs is about to take place, which quickly goes terribly wrong and ends up in some ridiculous martial-art fight scenes. Suddenly another threatening figure with an iron mask appears on the horizon, and finishes the whole match by cutting the throat of the last man standing with a machete, before he breaks the fourth wall by introducing himself with a guttural voice in the most beautiful German: Du Warst Gut! Aber Ich Bin Besser! ICH BIN KARL THE BUTCHER JUNIOR!!!


Then the  opening credit sequence rolls with some heavy metal tunes with vocals performed by the director himself, Andreas Schnaas, as we see clips from the first film which gives a clear prediction that you should expect much of the same (violent) shit.


After the opening scene, the movie switches to some unexpected, and out-of-place documentary-ish mode in Hamburg, where journalist Paul Glas investigates a variety of brutal murders that is out “of the ordinary”. He gives a quick history lesson of the city and of  course mentions the greatest, infamous, tourist attraction star, Fritz Honka. He interviews some random people on the street, who obviously think they are in a legit documentary about serial killers and not in some amateurish, zero-budget, shits-for-giggles, underground splatter titled Violent Shit 2, (a.k.a Violent Shit II: Mother Hold My Hand) made just to piss off the conservative bureaucrats at the censor boards in Germany. Hardy-har-har.


Anyway, a new killer is on the loose and Paul Glas is seeing similarities between Karl (I forgot his last name, but he was the killer in the first film), and ask an anonymous informant who supposedly has some secret information about the killings, and blah, blah, blah… To just cut it short and get to the point; Karl The Butcher is Son of Karl Senior and he’s out on a mission to avenge his father by wandering on a murderous rampage and kill everyone in his way with his machete. That’s everything we need to know, and enough of a plot that a film like this is able to comprehend, especially if you’re half-drunk while watching this shit already.


Violent Shit 2


After the halting docu-sequence, we’re back at the countryside where Karl Junior lives with his deranged mother. She has a murder fetish, and looks like Hillary Clinton with Freddy Krueger make-up. And of course, she has taught her boy to become an equally retarded, redneck sadist just like his father, so he can entertain her with torturing and killing random victims to feed her fetish and get her pussy wet. Afterwards she drinks the blood of the victims from a bowel that Karl serves her. Karl also forces one of the victims to eat his own shit, just to make us pretty ensured once and for all that it’s still Violent and it’s still Shit, and still one of the most self-aware titles ever.


And from here it’s basically the first film all over again, just with a longer runtime. So if you liked the first one, you’ll love this one, for sure. It’s gag-reel after gal-reel with close-ups showing limbs getting sawed off, heads shoveled off and blown to pieces by a handgun. Entrails getting ripped out of the victims stomach, and we get a pretty nasty scene where someones ballsack gets ripped apart by a hook. Andreas Schnaas is also very careful to shoot the scenes in broad daylight so we can enjoy some of  of the nasty details among the muddy image quality. We get a little time to catch our breath with a training montage, Rocky-style, where he levels himself up to hunt victims at a more rapid pace. The film also slips into pornographic territory with some fugly vagina-close-ups just to give the final middle-finger to Germany’s censor board.


Violent Shit II is available from Synapse Fims and has been remastered with some silly, cartoonish sound effects, and replaced the copyrighted music from the original VHS version with its new, own soundtrack. The added subtitles are as hilarious as the first one. It’s also stretched to widescreen to reduce the raw, unfiltered and amateurish home video quality. It still makes Bad Taste look like a glossy Hollywood production by comparison, though.


Violent Shit 2 Violent Shit 2 Violent Shit 2


Director: Andreas Schnaas
Country & year: Germany, 1992
Actors: Andreas Schnaas, Anke Prothmann, Claudia von Bihl, and a bunch of friends of Andreas Schnaas
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0105759/


Related posts: Violent Shit (1989) | Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom (1999) | Violent Shit 4: Karl the Butcher vs Axe (2010)



Tom Ghoul