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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
Writers:
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

 

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.

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