Beyond the Limits (2003)

Beyond the LimitsThe young journalist Vivian visits an ancient cemetery to meet its caretaker and gravedigger, Frederick, for an interview. The cemetery is supposed to be the oldest in the country, and after doing some research, Frederick will celebrate his ten year anniversary of his service. Vivian arrives just in time, he says, because tomorrow he will bury one of his most interesting “customers”, as he calls the newly deceased. Frederick takes her to one of the cemetery mausoleums, where he begins telling her the story of Robert Downing, a name you are sure to forget just after a few seconds.


As this story begins, we are in a sunny Californian area where a stressed man in a suit is carrying a mysterious suitcase. While calling his girlfriend and saying she must leave the hotel, she is soon assaulted by two other men who throw her out of the balcony with one of the worst uses of green screen of all time. After some meaningless flashback scenes, he is shot by two other men, who takes his suitcase. Then we jump right over to another scenario, in a mansion where a couple is getting ready for a dinner party. And in comes a man with the suitcase who presents himself as … (drumroll) … Robert Downing. Who? Whatever. But to be clear: who is who, who is what, who works for whom, is not the important thing here. As several guests starts to flock into the house like a bunch of stick figures that are only there to soon be tortured and killed in grisly ways, the gore is the only competent aspect to mention. Heads are blown by shotguns, heads cut off and so on. The acting is so bad it’s good, and one of the actresses even looks like she struggles not to laugh in some of the scenes.


The journalist, however, is clearly not laughing at the story she’s just been told, and says with a straight face that “this one was definitely Beyond the Limits™”.


Frederick moves on to his next and final story, which is set in the medieval times where we learn about James Flynn, a priest who has fled to the countryside where he has gathered a small flock of people in an abandoned church. He is hunted by David, a sadist who causes his men to slaughter the entire flock in front of the priest before he gets escorted away to a torture chamber. David also believes that Flynn has the sacred scripts to The Eternal Heart which grants immortality. Or something like that.  We get creative lines like “so, we finally meet again”, some fabulous overacting, a totally incompetent choreographed Deathstalker-style sword fighting scene and some goofy, cartoonish facial expressions. And to top the shitshow all up to eleven, it wraps it all up with a hilariously awful green screen segment that belongs in a David Hasselhoff music video. And if you’ve seen The Burning Moon, you know how this one ends. Not a big surprise there.


Beyond the Limits


Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Country & year: Germany, 2003
Actors: Darren Shahlavi, Russell Friedenberg, David Creedon, Natacza Boon, James Matthews-Pyecka, Simon Newby, Hank Stone, Christopher Kriesa, Daryl Jackson, Twin, Saskia Lange, Mehmet Yilmaz, Kimberly Liebe, Matthias Rimpler, Jeff Motherhead



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


Tom Ghoul