Glenn Danzig is a creative guy, to say the least. Founder and frontman of the horror-themed punk band The Misfits, Samhain, and his life long band Danzig with eleven studio albums, 18 singles, and two solo albums. He’s also a huge fan of underground horror comics and started his own label in 1994, called “Verotik” (yes, without the A) with adult themed comics filled with blood, gore, nudity, Satan, porn and other insanities. Anything but mainstream, it seems. I’m not familiar with the comics, so I have no idea. And after pushing 60, Glenn Danzig finally managed to pursue his new career as a film director and screenwriter, and as we speak he’s already made not one, but two films. How ’bout that. The second film is in post-production with the colorful title “Death Rider in the House of Vampires“. A horror/western with Danny Trejo, Julian Sands and Eli Roth among the cast list. Sounds fun. His first directorial debut is called “Verotika” (this time with the A), an anthology of three segments based on the comics with inspiration from Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath“, among others.
And it’s just pure amateur trash from start to finish.
We start off in an underground dungeon where a chained woman gets her eyes plucked out, Lucio Fulci-style, by the nails of the sexy horror hostess Mirella before she welcomes us darklings to … Verotika. A somewhat reduced Elvira with low energy is the best way to describe Mirella, played by the porn actress Kayden Kross, with acting skills like a nipple with zero motivation. Just like all the rest of the actors we get to meet during the film’s three segments of this anthology.
The first story is titled “The Albino Spider of Dajaette“, but let’s just call it “The Tits Have Eyes“. It’s already awkwardly difficult to convey what’s going on, but here we go: A young lady with pink hair gives a guy a blowjob. The guy wants to take off her top and get to proceed right to the climax. But she won’t. At the same time we see a CGI spider crawling on a rose. And it turns out that her boobs have eyes for nipples. “Your chest! They are looking it mi,” he says startled with a bad and exaggerated French accent, before leaving in shock and disgust. This is obviously not the first time a date / customer has been intimidated by her staring boobies. Because, who wouldn’t. Then a tear falls from one of the crying tits, that hits the spider we saw earlier. The scene with the spider looks like something from the archive of an unused cut scene from a PS 1 game. The spider then becomes a humanoid creature, played by a guy in a ridiculous spider costume that supposedly required 8 hours to get him inside. “Only I truly love you” he says to Dajette, with lots of other crap we forgot right afterwards. The creature then kills people in the apartment complex. The highlight is when we see the crotch area on the spider costume ripped off as if the actor really had to take a piss, and no one bothered to fix it. Because it’s just like Ed Wood once said: “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture“. This segment is also the “best” in the anthology, and the only one with a glimpse of a story with a real start, middle and an end. And to be honest, the only one that’s merely watchable.
The second story is called “Change of Face“, but could just as well be called Change of Flares. And this one just … sucks. And it’s just downhill from here on. We’re in a strip club. And flares are everywhere. Four in a whole shot at one point. I seriously thought that this was just a part of the technical incompetence, but no. This is an effect Glen Danzig chose to add for some reason. It doesn’t add anything but distraction. As for this entire segment, nothing much happens here. It’s like a random scene from a porn film just without the porn, with badly filmed stripping scenes that seems to go nowhere. At some point, when we have already lost interest, we are introduced to “The Mystery Girl”. Another stripper who swings around the pole with a black silk robe and skeleton stickers on the chest, while Glen Danzig’s singing voice are heard from the clubs speakers. The Mystery Girl also likes to rip people’s faces off while the police have no clue and are dumber than a bucket full of sardines.
Next and last is “Draukija: Contessa of Blood“. Or just simply “Bathory“. Or “Nothing Happens In This Segment Either So Just Skip To The End Credits“. We are in the Middle Ages, filmed in the woods with a cheap green screen which should make us believe that it is a castle in the background, when most of the film was filmed in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. However, this woman, Drauijha, sacrifices some young virgins to bathe in their blood to gain eternal youth. There isn’t much to say, other than the countess rips out someone’s heart, a scene that should be at least memorable. But as ultra cheap, lazy and just lackluster the gore aspects are in this film, as with the rest of the production value, there isn’t much to be impressed by.
And that was Verotika, Glenn Danzig’s first glorious piece of cinema magic (sarcasm). I’ve also noticed that many compares Verotika to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. And yeah, the trailer sure gives some Tommy Wisau-vibes. But when his name gets thrown all over the place to describe this movie, the hype gets blown to the heavens, which can give some really false expectations. And I think that’s where the feeling of underwhelming and disappointment lies for the highly anticipated viewers. Because as whole I would say with great confidence that Verotika isn’t even near the same level of entertainment value as The Room, a film worth rewatching countless times. Verotika, on the other hand, just leaves an aftertaste that feels more like a bad hangover.
Director: Glenn Danzig
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate, Kayden Kross, Scotch Hopkins, Sean Kanan, Nika Balina, Jody Barton, Brennah Black, Kris Black, Kansas Bowling, James Cullen Bressack, Katarina Bucevac, Cody Renee Cameron