Nov 18, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: August Underground’s Penance - 2007

August Underground’s Penance
Director: Fred Vogel

By now we all know the premise of this film series. There are not much plot, handheld camera work and lots of death and torture, a faux snuff movie. I would like to say that this is by far the best of the three movies but it was too long ago that I saw the first film that I a hard time comparing them. But at least it’s a lot better than the previous August Underground’s Mordum!

It’s not as extreme as it’s predecessor but that’s really not a bad thing. It has a lot much dynamics which means that the gore scenes become more shocking since they’re not there all the time. The film also shows “normal” behaviour of the perpetrators and the contrast makes the extreme parts more shocking.

There is also a lot better picture quality here than before. Gone are the crappy VHS look and is replaced with a new more digitalized look. This means that you actually have a chance to see what’s going on. But since the camera work still is all over the place I guess you don’t see much anyway. But the gore you do see is very well made and looks as authentic as it could! You could say that instead of a crappy video camera we get a crappy digital camcorder.

I reckon that the fans of August Underground’s Mordum might find this a little bit stale as it’s nowhere near as extreme. But on the other hand, we who don’t think that Mordum is such a great flick might prefer this one. I know I do! I could never figure out what it’s all about though. Is this a trilogy designed to just shock and disgust or does it have some deeper meaning? We could debate about this forever I guess. Some people see it, most people don’t. To me it’s just about disturbed individuals who does just as they feel like without regret or remorse. It has some kind of anarchistic feel to it. Or perhaps a elitist point of view.

As it’s predecessors this is not a flick for everyone, but as soon as you read “extreme” on the top of the page you knew that right? It’s not necessarily a flick for me either but my curiosity is so great that I just had to give it a go. Not my kind of movie but still a decent one in its own genre!


Nov 17, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: Snuff 102 - 2007

A translation of a review I wrote a few years in Swedish.

Snuff 102
Director: Mariano Peralta

A Young reporter gets interested in extreme violence and starts to explore the myths of snuff. She didn’t expect to get into the middle of things when her investigations began but now she’s in a world of torture, rape and domination, you can also add a little humiliation to it. Come to think of it, it’s not such a small amount of humiliation either. After all, the tormenter and/or the buyer of the taped deeds should get what they pay for – in full!

The definition of snuff that is used here are quite far from my personal opinion of it. It’s quite enough that someone gets killed on camera, the commercial business and the thesis that snuff must contain some sort of storyline where the killings are a natural part are not present at all. Hence this film is about making a film with murder and torture with no real plot. It’s mostly in black and white and from Argentina. I think it look pretty authentic.

The quality of the picture is quite bad though, I expect it to be that if it were a real snuff film so I guess that’s realistic! It’s pretty hard to see anything though, to see if it’s faked or not. Obviously this is not the real deal, you don’t have to be a genius to figure that out and there are moments when even the poor quality can’t hide the bad faked effects. At some point the perpetrator hits the female victim several times in the face with his fist and each time he’s supposed to hit her, the picture goes black for an instant. And it’s obvious that the punches don’t hit her at all! But there are also really grim and rough scenes that looks truly genuine. At some point the tormentor cuts off all the fingers of his victim with some kind of gardening scissors which looks pretty gruesome and realistic!

There is also a scene with a pregnant woman lying on the floor on her back and the perpetrator stomps her stomach time after time. This might very well be the roughest scene in the entire movie by the way! And the cruelties should be endless really. The imagination of a sexually deviated tormenter should be about limitless. But that is not necessarily the case here. As a whole, this is pretty stale after all. That doesn’t mean that those who aren’t used to extreme violence in movies won’t get shocked, because I think that’s just what’s going to happen! It wasn’t so strong of an experience for me though and those who have seen a few extreme flicks probably won’t get very excited over this, but that’s just what I think.

But this is not a movie with just loads of torture in it after all. There are also some moral to the story, a deeper sense if you wish. I don’t think it’s obvious and I don’t think it’s really effective either. But as I see it there’s also a story about why you choose to see such a film about death. The film asks questions about how the organization to such a distribution would look like. There´s also the matter of if the possible buyer of this kind of material gets turned on by the fact that it’s for real or buy the torture which causes the death of the victims. Is a violent death more arousing than a less tormented one? If the latter is the truth I see these as a failure, the quality of the violent deaths are so poor that you hardly can make out what’s happening. If I were into this hit I would pay extra money so that I actually could see what was going on prior to the victims’ death, if that’s what I was after. And what is the main purpose, to hurt other in a painful manner or to humiliate and degrade them? I realize that this might be almost the same thing at times of course, and that both deviances can exist without the other. It’s just a thought.

There is a comment in the movie which kind of speaks for itself. It is claimed that a video with a child being tormented, rapes and finally murdered in front of the cameras are more expensive for the buyer than it is to actually purchase the child on the market. I’m really not surprised and the reality of this is such a shocking thought that it’s almost impossible to comprehend.

I hoped that the torture in this movie would be very strong and really shock me but that wasn’t the case. There are scenes where the tormentor’s own body is in the way, so that you can’t see anything. An easy way to fake thing perhaps but not very realistic (who what’s to buy a death tape where you can’t see what’s going on?)! There’s also very little real connection to the victims and I think about something that was stated in a film called King of the Kickboxers. You need to get to know the victim to some extent to feel sorry for him/her.

I had a hard time with the annoying camera work, the annoying music and the dimly lit events. It’s the technical aspect of the movie that’s most painful to watch and what makes it pretty boring to watch. I think that it shouldn’t have to be this way in a  movie of this kind but on the other hand the creators may have been forced to do it depending on money problems. As good as it gets compared to the budget in other words!

And finally I feel like I have to defend the movie a bit. After all, I’ve been pretty harsh to it. It’s quite intelligent and it aims at being more than just a torture flick. There’s some thought put into it that perhaps the budget wouldn’t allow to get executed and there are some points in it. But I don’t think I’ll ever bring myself to watch it again anyway.

Nov 16, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: Pig - 1999

Director(s): Nico B, Rozz Williams

This is a movie in black and white with some very disturbing elements. It’s not very long and I recommend turning the volume up a bit before watching it. There are no opening credits but if there were they would have been silent. It take a while until you realize that there’s actually sound! And once you realize it and the film starts using it it’s very effective. There are some sequences close to genius execution of sound/picture combinations.

The plot revolves around a killer and his victim but it seem to be kind of voluntarily that the victim agrees to being treated the way that he does. He does not fight the aggressor and let’s himself get tortured in different ways. A central part of the film is also a book titled Why God Permits Evil or something similar in which the antagonist gets ideas for his methods of torture. This is included in the DVD release by the way!

I don´t want to get into too many details as it’s a short movie and I feel that some should be left to be surprised or astonished at when watching the movie. But even if I can’t be entirely sure it looks like that the violence is done for real! I can’t think of any other way to express it but if I put it simply I should plainly say that I love this!


Nov 15, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: August Underground’s Mordum - 2003

August Underground’s Mordum
Jerami Cruise, Killjoy,
Michael Todd Schneider,
Fred Vogel, Cristie Whiles

As with the first part in this trilogy the plot is very shallow and concerns a couple of individuals’ killing- and rape spree. They stop at nothing to for fill their sexual desires including masturbating with a chopped off penis and raping a dead child! One would think that these things would be shocking beyond belief but that’s not entirely the case. Of course it’s disturbing but the whole movie is so hard to watch due to shaky handheld cameras anyway so when we come to the most disturbing part we’re already so tired of watching that we don’t have the energy to get revolted anyway.

Frankly, I had a difficult time staying awake and all the other times I’ve tried to watch it I had the same problem! It’s not disturbing in the right manner that’s for sure! If it were to shock me and make me feel sick (as I think the intention are) I wouldn’t have any problems keeping myself awake but this is just SO boring!

Comparing it to the first movie I would say that this is more extreme. But what’s the use if it doesn’t shock you? It’s hard seeing what’s happening and I doubt that a blu-ray edition would make anything any clearer. The whole point is to create an illusion of a crappy hand held camera and that illusion works great! That makes the picture quality one of the main problems and part of the reason why it’s so boring to watch.

From what I can work out the make-up effects are excellent though! That’s one of the better aspects of the movie. They were great in the first one and they are equally realistic here! So are the acting as well! The feeling of realism is the one true asset of the film and it’s nice to see such a low budget movie without crappy camera angels and lousy acting non realistic acting. How many times haven’t you seen great plots getting ruined by actors that couldn’t deliver a line if their life depended on it?

The bottom line is not very positive though. There are far more negative things to say than positive and the fact that I can’t stay awake for the 77 minutes speaks for itself. I don’t like this at all but I hope that the final part of the trilogy can make up for this!


Nov 14, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: The Gateway Meat - 2008

The Gateway Meat
Director: Ron DeCaro

Set in present time, society is getting stale when everyone revolves to using I phones and stuff and going with the flow rather than to actually think by themselves. The President of the United States I shot and in the aftermath a family of Satanists takes this as a sign for attempting to open a doorway to hell.

Some of these extreme flicks are a bit hard to comprehend. I mean, I would never had figured the above out if it hasn’t been written in the beginning of the film. There’s a lot of violence but I couldn’t have figured out the Satanist part. I’m also lost when it comes to how the doorway to hell should be opened. But on the other hand, there would be no chance in hell that I’d figure out Begotten either…

The strong part of the movie isn’t necessarily the violence – at least not by itself. But there is the contrast of the kid, a girl maybe four or five years old, and the over-the-top violence that really makes me uncomfortable when I watch. The scenes are mixed and it goes from ultraviolent to beautiful and innocent in a heartbeat. There are beautiful sequences of flowers and butterflies and suddenly gross footage of a decomposing corpse which is very unsettling. It’s done a few times and succeeds in shocking effect ever time too!

It’s hard to evaluate the acting, what should be the comparison point? It’s not anything that would get any award but on the other hand it’s a bit better than most of the low budget splatter films I’ve seen. And there’s not much humor either (luckily). Many of the scenes are very original and there seems to be a lot of thought out in the filth. There isn’t so much nudity but it makes up for that with the gore. It’s really well done and there at few if any scenes where someone chews on intestines’, it’s a matter of opinion really (no it’s not a cannibalistic flick).

It’s a gross movie and as I said before I was very uncomfortable at times. Still it’s a very slow paced story that I don’t really get. There are odd characters which are very entertaining and if you exclude the Satanist part it’s so much more entertaining! Look at the gore, the violence and the portrayal of the characters and you might find it really entertaining!


Nov 13, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: I spit on your corpse, I piss on your grave - 2001

This is a translation of a review written in Swedish from 2005.

I spit on your corpse, I piss on your grave
Director: Eric Stanze

Sandy (Emily Haack)voluntarily let herself be kidnapped by her ex boyfriend (Eric Stanze). She soon realizes that sex is not the only thing he’s after. Three men are chained up in the basement and Kevin – the boyfriend, describes in detail why he’s going to torture and kill them before her eyes and finally do the same with her! Sandy acts fast, she overtake Kevin and kills him. But what she does next is not in the lines of normal behaviour. She doesn’t free the other hostages at all, neither does she call the police. Instead she keeps them chained up and starts to torture them both mentally and physically to a certain death. She’s totally out of control!

I’m not entirely sure if this really should be classifies an and “extreme” film but it’s very nasty and deals with themes you’d never se in a big budget Hollywood film so I guess that makes it legitimate!

This is the third film by Eric Stanze that I see. I really like his style when it comes to telling the kind of storylines that he does. This might not be the best of his films but it sure has its moments. I recognize his style and there’s some guts and intestines’ of course. There is also lots of naked skin so if you’re looking for that kind of stuff you won’t be disappointed! But if the intent were to make the viewer sick to the stomach it’s not enough. There is something missing that I really can’t put my finger on. The pace it a bit low and you’ll have to wait both for the nakedness and the torture.

There’s no doubt that other rape/revenge flicks has inspired Stanze to make this one. Classics like I Spit on you Grave, Last House of the Left and House on the Edge of the Park were obviously in Stanzes head when he wrote the script! The nostalgia is obvious and the cruelties are visualized in a way were there’s really no emotions present. It makes you feel almost like a voyeur and still it’s as far from entertaining violence as you can come! There are shock values and the disgusting violence sort of feels real!

Emily Haack plays the leading roll with the same brilliance that made her presence in Stanzes Scrapbook to great! She’s really a very good actress which is something you’re not too used to when it comes to extreme violence movies such as this one. The other actors are ok but nothing more and nothing less for that matter. They can all be ignored there’s really no use analyzing their contribution to the movie.

A fun trivia about the film is when the sealed bags with faked body parts and stuff like that were found someone called the police and Eric Stanze had to explain that he was a film maker and that this was left overs from the film rather than the real deal. Several policemen and some coroner arrived to the scene and Stanze had to tell his story over and over again. This somehow got the attention of the press of course and soon Eric Stanze could be proud of making TOO good special effects for his movies!

If you like rape/revenge flicks I think this one will suit you just fine!

Nov 12, 2012

Extreme Flick Week: August Underground - 2001

This review is based on one I wrote in Swedish 2005.

August Underground
Director: Fred Vogel

What would you do if you found a videotape with two men executing the most hideous crimes? Crimes that you imagination never even could come up with? If you found a tape with severe sexual assaults and torture, would that shock you? What if it contained Coprophagia and cannibalism? This is the journal of two men, their way of documenting their everyday life and the violent killings they do just for fun…

There’s only a handful flick more infamous than this one! I can’t really say if that’s because it’s kind of difficult to get by, at least on a legitimate DVD. I would imagine it’s a lot easier to find a downloadable version as this seems to be the way things are done these days, but what fun is it to own an illegal copy anyway? I think part of the truth is that this film is somewhat unique. It’s filmed in subjective mode and is really extreme! The rumor has it that Fred Vogel got the film taken away from him in the Canadian customs and that is cause him to spend ten hours of his life behind bars. And that he didn’t even get to take the film with him once he was released.

If I were to compare it with anything else I would use the Guinea Pig film The Devils Experiment. There is a lot better documentary feeling in this one though. There are very few things to give away that it’s actually fake and not for real! The picture quality is bad just as it would be if it were the real deal filmed by a mediocre video camera. The victims act like the really are about to die and the perpetrators seems to be totally mental fucked up! They are truly sadistic and get aroused by their innocent victims’ pleas for mercy and laughs in the victims’ faces. They are in total control and won’t let anything get in their way!

But even it’s a unique film we can still debate on how strong it really is. For an experienced film critic such as myself it’s really not that much of a big deal. I have seen too much violent and bizarre film to be totally shocked by this. In fact, it gets quite boring at times. There are too many scenes which don’t contribute to any uncomforting feelings at all that make it all lose pace. But that’s a paradox of sorts too! It’s just those scenes that make the illusion of reality so good! We get to follow the bad guys both when they kill sadistically and when they to the most trivial things. I think that a mainstream viewer would be really shocked of this and it’s an extreme movie; there is no doubt about that! The films tagline describes it pretty well too by the way – The Sickest Film Ever Made. It might not be completely true but it’ll still give you a hint on what you are about to see!


Nov 3, 2012

Trailer: upcoming flick - Sendero

I don't think I've ever seen a flick from Chile before, I hope I get the oppertunity to review this though, it looks awsome!