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

 

 

 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2 (1996)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2 There’s a lot of people who hate Henry and he can’t let them win.

 

Part 2 of Henry’s Portrait of a Serial Killer, or just simply Henry the 2nd starts off not so long after the first one ended (I assume). Ottis is dead as his headless corpse is floating in a river somewhere while Becky is chopped to pieces and stuffed in a bag suit, discarded at the side of a rural road. Nothing but happy memories all around. Now Henry is a homeless drifter wandering aimlessly through the streets of a nameless, midwestern town and sleeps at various homeless shelters. One day he’s applying for a job on a port-o-john company where he gets the lovely task to clean and empty the porta potties (or the shitters as cousin Eddie would simply say).

 

Here he meets Kai and his wife Crickets, a lower-middle class couple who allows Henry to stay at their house after they feel sorry for him for being homeless. They are a shady couple that fits perfectly within Henry’s beacon of bad vibes. They also have a mentally unhinged teenage niece in the house, Louisa, who suffers from some severe BPD and that starts to creep on Henry (not the other way around). We learn that Kai and Crickets has a pretty dysfunctional relationship as Kai is a moody alcoholic, who also practice some really shady side job as an arsonist to set up some insurance scam to make money for their slobby boss, Rooter. After Henry finds out and becomes a liability, he joins Kai to fire up one building after another as the nights goes on. Things seems to go smooth until they stumble upon a couple of squatters in one of the buildings. Henry finally does what he does best by pulling out his gun and killing one of them while he forces Kai to kill the other one. I’ve never killed anyone before, Kai nervously says. Sounds familiar? Can’t have any of that if you wanna be buddy with Henry, you know.

 

This relatively obscure sequel was a mild surprise, given that Michael Rooker declined to reprise his debut role and John Mc Naughton is not in the directing chair. Writer and director Chuck Parello (who also made Ed Gein and Hillside Strangler) was clearly a big fan of the original and manages to duplicate much of the same cold and downbeat tone, although the visuals are more flat and melancholic. Like its predecessor the film follows most of  the same narrative with slices of life and death and the psychological aspects with the tense buildup around the chaotic relationship between Henry and Kai, which is getting dragged more and more into the hopeless pit of empty and meaningless life of serial killing. Nothing more, nothing less. All actors were unknown faces for my part and the task to fill the shoes of Michael Rooker went to Neil Giuntoli, who does a good performance, far better than I expected. He has the same lost boyish look with empty death stares and the raw intensity when he kills random victims for the kicks. Here we also briefly see some new sides from him to learn some of his motivations.

 

Overall Henry the 2nd is nothing too special but an OK sequel at best with a sharp knife and dedicated actors.

 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Part 2

 

Writer and director: Chuck Parello
Also known as: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 2 – Mask of Sanity
Country & year: USA, 1996
Actors: Neil Giuntoli, Rich Komenich, Kate Walsh, Carri Levinson, Daniel Allar, Marco Santucci, Rich Wilkie, Kevin Hurley, Richard Henzel, Fran Smith
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0116516/

 

Related post: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Graveyard Shift (1990)

Graveyard ShiftJohn Hall is a widowed drifter, who arrives at a small town and is hired to work in a rat-infested textile mill. Despite an eccentric exterminator having been hired, Tucker Cleveland, the rat problem persists. Hardy little buggers, indeed. When the exterminator admits defeat and tells the cruel and thick-headed foreman Warwick that he is unable to kill all the rats and recommends that the mill should be shut down, work still continue at the place as normal anyway of course. But people start going missing. Did they just pack up and leave, forgetting their letters of resignation and simply high-tailing out of the place…or is something else lurking at the mill, other than the rats?

 

Graveyard Shift is a Stephen King adaptation based on a story from Night Shift. The movie was directed by Ralph S. Singleton, and filmed in the village of Harmony, Maine at Bartlettyarns Inc which is the oldest woolen yarn mill in the US. Now, as with most Stephen King movie adaptations, it’s not exactly a masterpiece, and Stephen King heavily disliked it and stated that it’s one of his least favorite adaptations, calling it “a quick exploitation picture“. A comment which might drive away everyone looking for “quality”, but also pique the interest of horror ghouls who sometimes want to feast on a quick exploitation meal. So, how does Graveyard Shift fare in that regard?

 

Let’s start with the negatives first. It does seem that the low budget killed off some of the potential this movie could have had, as the monster scenes are never on full display. Every character is a stereotypical archetype and you’ll probably find more interesting personalities in the dozens of rats on the screen, which you’ll end up rooting more for than the actual “heroes” here. Andrew Divoff “Wishmaster” has a little role here but he’s nothing more than a simple stock character whose main purpose is to become monster nourishment. The pacing is sometimes a bit odd, focusing on some character love drama in between which doesn’t really bring anything forward.

 

Now for the positives: while it should be obvious that it does not have the same wacky entertainment value like for example The Mangler (which is also based on one of the short stories from Night Shift), it does actually have a bit of atmosphere, with the old mill area and underground surroundings making a claustrophobic setting. There’s a little bit of gore, and the monster doesn’t look that bad the few sparse moments you actually get to see it. The characters, while being stereotypical to the point of being slightly ridiculous, adds some enjoyment into it and steer the movie away from being too boring. There’s some scenery and props that heightens the entertainment value as well, and if it had just been spruced up a bit with some extra gore and additional monster screentime, the end result could have been much better.

 

I’d say that, all in all, Graveyard Shift is an okay 90s creature feature for horror ghouls. A totally silly horror flick with nothing memorable or great, but a fun enough thing watch if you want to waste an hour and a half.

 

Graveyard Shift Graveyard Shift Graveyard Shift

 

Director: Ralph S. Singleton
Writers:
Stephen King, John Esposito
Country & year:
USA, 1990
Actors:
David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Andrew Divoff, Vic Polizos, Brad Dourif
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt0099697/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

Ice Cream Man (1995)

Ice Cream ManFrom the director who gave us Sperm Bitches, Intercourse with the Vampire, Sexmares, Bad Girls 5: Maximum Babes and the Edward Penishands trilogy, here comes his magnum opus Ice Cream Man – a goofy comedy horror, this time aimed for the mainstream surface audiences with a budget to buy an old ice cream truck, gallons of ice cream and fake sun flowers.

 

Ice Cream Man starts off with a quick opening in black and white in a Californian suburb during the 1960s. It gets straight to the point where the local ice cream man (with the letters Ice Cream King on his truck) gets randomly shot in a pure gangsta-style drive-by shooting. Among the witnesses is the boy Gregory Tudor who grows up to be an Ice Cream man himself – a deranged, retarded, homicidal Ice Cream Killer Man which uses body parts as flavors to his ice creams.

 

After the scene with the Ice Cream King’s murder, we jump to present day where Greg Tudor (Clint Howard) roams around in his blue ice cream truck, acting like a demented freakshow that should be as far away from children as possible. He likes to taunt the kids, as he speaks with an affected  growling, raspy and cheesy voice while serving them cockroach-infested ice creams. Yummy! That ice cream guy is pretty freaky, one of the kids says. No, you don’t say. At least, they like his ice creams. But still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to eat ice cream while watching Ice Cream Man, just trust me on that one.

 

Tudor randomly kills Binky, a dog (off screen) which he puts in the grinder to use as a flavour to his ice cream. One of the kids, that blonde one with the round glasses which looks like Maculay Culkin from The Pagemaster, gets kidnapped one night and shoved into his ice cream truck and locked in a cage in his parlor where he later grooms him to be his successor. When Tudor spots one of the other kids that witnessed the act, he yells with his raspy voice:

 

You little turds are gonna have to learn, you can’t run from the ice cream man! … I know where you live …  you tell anybody, I’m gonna get your mom and dad!

 

Boy o’boy…This is a weird little oddball of a movie. Already ten minutes in, the tone is all over the place while you ask what the fuck this is supposed to be. On its first glance it looks like if the whole thing was meant to be a short episode of Goosebumps, but midways they instead decided to stretch it out to a feature, throw in some gore, fill in a series of nonsensical scenes with bad actors and not much further plans than just see what happens. And don’t forget the fake sunflowers.

 

The film is regarded as a black comedy, and a comedy it is for damn sure, no question about that. What’s intentional and not, however, is not easy to tell, but that’s what makes it even more funny. There’s enough of bad acting, weird dialogues to laugh of, and watching this with the right mood it’s overall some fun, dumb, light-hearted entertainment that could have been suitable for the whole family if it wasn’t for the gore. But I can’t deny that the star himself, Clint Howard (the younger brother of Ron Howard), is the main reason to give this slightly obscure film a watch. Calling him eccentric is an understatement, the guy is the purest definition of bizarre which both acts and looks like a live-action figure straight out from Looney Tunes. Howard has been in over 200 films which he has had the lead role in only … two: Ice Cream Man and Evilspeak, another horror flick from 1981. And since Clint Howard was recognized as the ice cream man on the streets by fans throughout the years, a sequel had to happen. A kickstarter campaign was set up by Howard and director Apstein in 2014 to crowd fund the sequel Ice Cream Man 2: Sundae Bloody Sundae with a goal to collect 300.000 dollars from fans. Only 4 grand was donated from 70 backers. Ouch, how embarrassing. This was also the only mainstream film Apstein made before he went back to the porn industry.

 

But at least, the fans can still enjoy Ice Cream Man on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome and on several streaming sites, including Full Moon Features where we watched it.

 

Ice Cream Man Ice Cream Man Ice Cream Man

 

Director: Norman Apstein
Writers: David Dobkin, Sven Davison
Country & year: USA, 1995
Actors: Clint Howard, Justin Isfeld, Anndi McAfee, JoJo Adams, Mikey LeBeau, Sandahl Bergman, Andrea Evans, Steve Garvey, Olivia Hussey, Doug Llewelyn, Lee Majors II, David Naughton,
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0113376/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Night Killer (1990)

Night KillerNight Killah … cool title, though. And by taking a look at the tasty cover art for the dvd, you get the impression of some body-horror going on. We also see a house in the night with a big full moon. If the cover itself couldn’t lie more, the title is as misleading as it can get. But this is first and foremost an Italian produced low-budget schlock film. And with that being said, Italian distributors have for a long time been notoriously known for using some of the most misleading titles possible and promote genre films in the home country as a sequel to a more known franchise in hopes of cashing in some more bucks. The most known example is probably Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 (a great film, by the way) which tried to cash in on Dario Argento’s cut of Dawn of the Dead, released as simply Zombi in Italy. I can also mention fake clickbait titles as Cannibal Holocaust II (1988), Changeling II: The Revenge (1989), Terminator II (1989), Evil Dead 5 (1990) and the list goes on.

 

In this case Night Killer was promoted as – and I kid you not – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 in Italy, just prior to Leatherface: The Texas Chaisaw Masscare III which was already released seven months before. So, watching this film must have been like being pranked or Rick Rolled for 85 minutes straight. The distributors must think that the Italian horror audience have mushy pasta for braincells and they should be glad that the internet wasn’t a household thing back then. And of course we have the unofficial sequel of the more obscure 80s horror/fantasy Troll, completely overshadowed by Troll 2 which was made by the same director as Night Killer. We’re of course talking of no one other than the man, the myth and one of the legends of Italians so-bad-it’s good-movies, Claudio Fragasso himself. (Applause)

 

The film starts off in the middle of an aerobic dance practice where the stressed and unhinged female instructor is far from impressed by the dancers. She has a quick hilarious meltdown, then goes to the bathroom where she encounters a person with a black coat and a face covered by a cheap Freddy Krueger-like mask. He’s already killed one of the dancers by shoving his rubber claws straight through her torso. While it sounds brutal on paper, the effects are, how should I even try to describe it…it’s pure hot garbage and not even on an amateur level, it’s beyond that and filmed in such a close-up and edited down to a split-second, that you’ll miss it if you blink.

 

Anyway… the instructor gets her throat slit by the killer’s rubber claws. And if you want blood, just forget it. There’s hardly any blood pouring from her throat, as if someone just squeezed the last drops from a ketchup bottle and used the cheapest prosthetic make up one can buy from the discount bin at Walmart. It’s the laziest shit ever. And the funniest thing is that this opening sequence was directed by Bruno Mattei because the studio wanted more gore. He didn’t add anything new other than more inept filmmaking and a perfect foretaste of what to expect for the next 80 minutes. The most notable thing in this opening is that we clearly see that the fresh cut on her throat is magically gone when she is supposed to bleed to death. Continuity error on its finest.

 

Night Killer

 

The “plot”, which could be hidden here somewhere, goes something like this: After the extended opening scene we’re in the sunny beachside of Virgina) in the holiday season (oh, how convenient) where we meet the middle-aged Melanie (Tara Buckam) living in her upper-class house. She is soon to be one of the targets of our mysterious Freddy Krueger-masked serial killer. But first she gets a phone call from her ex. He’s drunk and sitting in a bar. She hangs up. Then she stands in front of a mirror with a blank stare, talking to herself while she’s touching her breasts. The phone rings again, this time by the masked killer that has picked her as the new victim. He then says with a slow and cheesy distorted voice “I won’t kill you straight awayyy, first I’m going to fuck your braaains ooouuut. ” She calls the police and the police do what the police does best: nothing. He invades her home, backs her against the wall while pointing a knife to her face. She screams while looking at the camera and… we cut to the next scene where she wakes up in the hospital. Her daughter asks her, with emotions like a robot, when she’s coming home. Soon, she says. When Melanie is suddenly out from the hospital, she’s being stalked and kidnapped by some random dude (Peter Hooten) which I thought was Steve Guttenberg as first glance. While she seems to develop a bizarre stockholm syndrome to this guy in which they have several cringy scenes together, the masked killer continues his business with other victims. It’s like watching two separate movies from here on: a soap opera and something that tries to resemble a slasher film. Confused? There’s also a sideplot with a policeman trying to finally catch the killer.

 

Claudio FragassoBruh … What the fuck is this whack bullshit even supposed to be, you may ask. According to the director himself, who made it under the pseudonym Clyde Anderson, this is actually a psychoanalytical, intimate horror movie, didn’t you already know that? He’s also so proud of the idea of the film which he calls “a brilliant idea, an incredible mental masturbation.” During the interview on the DVD’s extras he says with a straight face that he wanted to make something like an Ingmar Bergman film. I’ve seen some interviews of Mr. Fragasso and there’s just something about him that doesn’t make him easy to read, yet I can catch glimpses of sharp, ironic detachment within his eyes. I’m not a body language expert nor Dr. Phil, but I’ve had this theory that he’s quite self-aware and just trolling us (no pun intended). Because there’s just no way a director in his age can sit and reflect on a complete demented and incomprehensible schlock 30 years later and view it as a flawless piece of cinema work while putting the cherry on top by comparing himself to Steven Spielberg. I just can’t buy it. Sorry. I believe more in Loch Nessie having a baby with Bigfoot.

 

We can also just speculate how Mr. Fragasso instructs his actors, or if he just pours some green shrooms from Nilbog in their drinks before shooting. The way he makes them perform and convey emotions is nothing but absurd, if not unique, and nothing you see everyday. It’s like watching a bunch of retarded aliens in disguise trying to behave like normal human beings, or human beans like Tommy Wiseau would say. Just like Troll 2, it’s the acting that really does the film with the bonkers line deliveries, stiff, delayed reactions like Oh My GoooooooOOOOD while the actors can’t hide their confused facial expression of “what the hell did I really sign up for? Will this be my legacy?” Fragasso knows exactly what they signed up for and he has the first laugh while he thinks to himself: I now own you forever, bitch.

 

And then we have the title itself, Night Killer. There was no chainsaw to be see in the Italian release but here we at least have a killer, even though there isn’t much killing to see. There’s only three body counts (as I remember) and they are as tame, weightless and ridiculously ineptly shot that they could easily fit in as segments in Sesame Street between Elmo and Abby’s Flying Fairy School. There’s not a single night scene here either, not even close to it. Every scene is shot like it was either a soap opera or a sitcom with its heavy use of light where in the outdoors scenes the sky is always blue and the sun is shining. Not a single shred of atmosphere or the feeling of looming threat. And then there’s a twist. No spoilers, of course, but when you thought you’ve seen it all and just thought the film couldn’t be more absurd, the twist will make your brain and head shrink (like the Goombas in Super Mario Bros) and leave you speechless. Not even M. Night Shyamalan in his wildest fever dreams could make this shit up. The film also ends with a cliffhanger, or sort of. And since Fragasso are hinting about a comeback as Clyde Anderson in the DVD interview, well, what are you waiting for, maestro? Gives us the sequel so I, among others, finally can recover and grow our heads back, per favore! Until then: Merry Christmas.

 

Night Killer Night Killer Night Killer

 

Writer and director: Claudio Fragasso
Original title: Non aprite quella porta 3
Country & year: Italy, USA, 1990
Actors: Peter Hooten, Tara Buckman, Richard Foster, Mel Davis, Lee Lively, Tova Sardot, Gaby Ford
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0401696/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

The Burning Moon (1992)

West Germany, early 90’s. Peter (Olaf Ittenbach) is a disturbed, hateful young junkie who has dropped out of school, and is spending his days drinking beer, showing authority the finger and participating in gang fights. At home, he argues with mom and dad and clearly shows his disdain for house rules, by telling them to go to hell before entering his boy’s room to shoot up on some heroin. A typical German teenager, it seems. He also has a little sister that he likes to sneak in to after she has gone to bed, to tell her two “goodnight stories” while in full heroin intoxication. Well, this should be interesting..

 

The first “goodnight story” is called “Julia’s Love” which is about Cliff Parker, a schizophrenic mental patient with 21 murder victims behind him, who manages to escape. He goes straight on a blind date with the young Julia, who obviously has no idea what she’s gotten into. While they’re both in Cliff’s car, he goes out to buy smoke while leaving Julia inside. Then she hears on the radio that a certain lunatic who is on the run has stolen a car that is described similar to the one she’s inside. Julia is in deep shit and from here on there’s anything but love that’s awaiting her.

 

After this unconventional love story, Peter’s little sister is in shock and tears, and says Stop, I don’t want to hear your stupid stories. Well, we have an additional 47 minutes to fill while the heroin rush is still in full action, so grab your teddy and hang in there.

 

The second story is called “Purity”, and is about a middle aged priest who lives a double life. Preaching in the daytime while raping and killing ladies at night in a small town community. We also learn that this priest is a full-blown satanist who kidnaps people and sacrifices them under some juicy rituals, while he drinks their blood from a goblet. And just to top that, he looks like a mishmash of Edmund Kemper and Dennis Rader, which by itself is fucking hilarious. He’s the high point of this movie, for sure.

 

The film’s juicy climax ends straight into Hell, literally. With a tirade of torture-porn scenes where we see Olaf Ittenbach’s true ambition and talents come to light, and where the micro-budget probably went: effects. While most of the effects we’ve seen until this point has been pretty sloppy, he made sure to save some of the best till the end.

 

However, The Burning Moon is a stumbling underground amateur-reel starring Olaf Ittenbach’s friends, who never tried to act before or after this movie. And of course, with a budget that couldn’t even afford a microphone, some horrible dubbing was added in post production. It’s also obvious that the film tries to go for a more serious and gritty tone, with ultra-taboo subjects, but nosedives by its own incompetence already in the opening credit sequence. It reeks of cheapness and amateur hour all the way, which provides us with some funny scenes and gut-busting moments.

 

This is Ittenbach’s second film, with a filmography spanning of 18 titles as we speak, and the guy is still active today. This is my first viewing of his works, so I have no idea how (or if) the guy has evolved through the years. We’ll see..

 

The Burning Moon

 

 

Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Country & year: Germany, 1992
Actors: Olaf Ittenbach, Beate Neumeyer, Bernd Muggenthaler, Ellen Fischer, Alfons Sigllechner, Barbara Woderschek, Helmut Neumeyer, Andrea Arbter, Christian Fuhrmann, Herbert Holzapfel, Thomas Deby, Karl-Heinz Nebbe, Karin Dellinger
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0103898/

 

Tom Ghoul