Sunday, June 2, 2013

Talk About Your Bad

Since my earliest days of being a slightly mature horror film fan (somewhere around the age of 14 or so when I quit hiding in the bathroom for hours because I was certain some monster was waiting just outside the door), I had a goal in mind when it came to movies. It was a simple goal, with a couple of variations. I wanted to find a horror movie that either scared me so bad that I wet my pants or grossed me out so much that I brought my last meal up for a second look.

I have yet to find a movie that made me tinkle in my undies. Sure, I've seen movies that created such a dark mood that it stayed with me for hours, but...well, I don't hide in the bathroom anymore, so that should tell you something. As far as being grossed out, I've been pushed to the point of muttering, "Oh, that is just WRONG!" That is nowhere close to half-digested Doritos in a frothy Mountain Dew/stomach acid sauce.
 Today, we skip down the streets of Grossville looking for Lucker-The Necrophagus. This film is one of those that gained a bit of a "legendary" status among gore fans as it was basically a "lost" film due to the original prints and negatives were reportedly destroyed by a producer, and, as a result, the film was only available in a shoddy VHS version with Dutch subtitles. In the heyday of what is known as "grey market" dealing, the movie was copied, duped, and handed around from whatever version people could find. This kind of thing tends to make mountains out of molehills because word-of-mouth without evidence to back up those words causes a lot of false information to be handed out as gospel. A good number of people feel Lucker ranks among the Mount Olympus of gross gore films.

It should be so...lucky. (Sorry, had to do it.)

At this point, I would like to cover the story of the film. 

There isn't any story. Now I can mark that off my list....

Okay, okay, a nutball who at some point in the past killed and THEN raped 7 or 8 women. I swear they say 8 but then they say one survived (survived being killed then raped?), so that would make it 7. Who cares? He's a nasty piece of work. Now, moving on. He is put up in a private clinic while he is being transferred from one place to another after he tried to kill himself. Huh? He took a long time to decide to kill himself depending on which length of time you accept that he's been held for his crimes. Yes, the movie's sense of time has no sense of time. You'll see why I say that soon.

In spite of supposed around-the-clock police supervision, our psycho overcomes medication that is supposed to keep a city full of people knocked out for a year, wanders about the hallways pulling a Scooby Doo-type routine of jumping from door to door to stay hidden, kills an orderly, walks out of the hospital in the guy's clothes (even though the guy is half the size of our killer, so let's hear it for Spandex) and drives off after beating a nurse's head against the steering wheel of her car.

The movie loses itself in a few minutes of shots of Lucker walking along a deserted expressway while we are treated to the visual exposition of him brutalizing the "one who got away" and a voice-over talking about her being released from the hospital after a year of recovery from her wounds, which the images indicated torture and a throat slashing (but it could have been a different girl as all the primary women he goes after kinda look the same).

Now that he knows his missing victim is out of the hospital, he does what any reasonable loon would do: he looks her up in the phone book and goes to her apartment building. I'm not making this up, I swear.

After a couple of pointless and unintentionally funny killings that use the same sound effect for squishing guts and a bleeding head wound, he hooks up with a whore who happens to live in the same building as his target. The convenience doesn't stop there. She tells him that she and the couple upstairs (his target and her boyfriend) are the only people in the building, so her and her freaky clients can scream and yell without bothering anyone. She should have the words, "Please kill and butcher me!" tattooed on her forehead. Lucker does kill her. Bet you didn't see that coming, huh? Then he turns up the heat in the apartment and, according to the information on the screen, allows four weeks to pass for her corpse to ripen. You know, some like it hot, some like it cold, others like it 30 days rotten. Ain't nothing that a little funky corpse banging won't fix, right?

Ultimately, he gets off his ass and goes after his target, who has no scars despite her throat supposedly being slashed. Long, pointless ending with 4 more deaths involved, with Lucker being one of them.

Yes, I told you how it ends. Don't act hurt. If you are inclined to watch this movie, you aren't there for the brilliant screenplay or for a shocking twist ending. If you want to see this movie, then you know why you want to see it. Gore. Stomach-churning, cover-your-eyes, kick-the-cat grossness. You don't care how it ends. Quit whining.

Is it gory? Yeah, kinda. Is it gross? Yeah, pretty much. The most notorious scene is the necrophilia bit with the ripe corpse where he rubs the gooey body with his hands and then licks them. Trust me, I'm making it sound more interesting than it is. It's artless and boring. That pretty much sums up the movie.

Now, let's address the lack of ability for the movie to account for the passage of time. The whole bit with ripening the corpse expresses this best. You are clearly shown that 4 weeks passed, yet, when 2 of the hooker's friends come over to see her, one says she saw her a week ago. Not unless you had a date with Lucker. And we all know what happens to his dates.

Add a problem with tacked on footage that looks completely different than the original footage, as well as completely altering objects the actors are holding and...oh, forget it. This is the "director's cut", mind you. Cobbled together from what bits and pieces he could find and sloppily glued together with these pointless added on scenes. The director must have WANTED to make a huge steaming turd of a movie.

All of this would just mean an awful film in normal circumstances. This particular DVD version also contains a fair copy of the original VHS version with Dutch subtitles. When you watch the VHS version, you realize that the "director's cut" is not only awful, but stupid and insulting. Not saying that the original version is much better. It DOES explain how Lucker knows how to find his missing victim (he sees a television report that stupidly SHOWS where she now lives, even though they are also reporting Lucker's escape). Instead of 4 weeks, the original had him waiting 6 days for the corpse to ripen, which makes more sense and explains her friend's comment about seeing her a week ago. And to make matters more insane, the VHS dupe looks BETTER than the "director's cut".

I heard about this film years ago, and it has been on my list. Instead of being grossed out, all I got was a headache from thinking, over and over, "Can you just end this thing before I go to sleep?" Forget the hype you may have heard. Take the time to find a copy of Necromantik instead. It is truly gross because the filmmaker knew how to craft a film properly. Lucker is pure amateur work.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Step up, step up!! See the transformation of woman into hideous beast!!!

For those of you who may be too young to remember, there used to be a form of entertainment known as "The Sideshow". Called so because you found it off the main strip of the carnivals or fairs where they operated like some parasitic being. Here you found the things adults whispered about and kids clamored to see and share stories of with their friends. You saw strip shows, belly dancers and bawdy comedy acts.

Yet there was a darker side to these tents and trailers. You also found the freak shows and the weird little short films that presented things normal, rational people turned their face from. You could see Amazon princesses turn into howling beasts. People who could pop their eyes out of their heads. Folks who pierced their bodies with needles, nails and swords. Deformed babies floating in pickle jars. Headless bodies that moved as if alive.

You wanted to see it. You knew all your friends would want to see it too. Even though you felt a thrill of anticipation as you approached the tents with their shouting barkers extolling the wonders beyond the curtains behind them, there was always a sense of dread, of fear. Sure, it was all fake. But what if it wasn't? Would you see something that would forever change your way of facing reality? How would you handle it?

Thanks to the glory of political correctness, those things are gone, or commercialized into hipster traveling shows that command $40 a ticket. The days of cheap, seedy thrills are buried in the past.

Or are they?

Satan's Black Wedding, from the descriptions you may run across on the web or even on the DVD cover, may seem like just another low-budget piece of offal you'd avoid unless every other single DVD had been rented at the video store, and even then, maybe you'd just watch the traffic light change instead. Pick it up. Put it in your player and forget the upconverting. Just shut off the lights and wonder what you might be seeing for the next hour.

Satan's Black Wedding starts in with the full sideshow hook. A woman dressed in black roaming the countryside before descending into a dark chamber. The lighting is dim and oddly colored in reds. It's hard to see clearly what is happening, almost like watching with your hands over your face, or one of those dreams where something bad is happening but you can't open your eyes enough to see. There's a guy in a coffin with cheap plastic fangs. You want to laugh, and you might. Still, these people aren't laughing. They are dead serious. And that's when you start to feel slightly uncomfortable. If they are serious, then what are they willing to do next?

Slaughter, that's what. The woman who entered the chamber is suddenly in the comfort of her own bed, but there is no comfort there. She is having a seizure, and you are treated to visions of her face pulled into a horrible rictus grin as her muscles strain. She pulls out a razor and begins slashing her wrist, once, then twice and then over and over in a fit of mania. Yeah, that looks like red poster paint splashing the walls but this woman seems intent on seriously injuring herself. Meanwhile, the fellow with fangs watches her from the shadows and drools obscenely.

Welcome to the deranged world of Nick Millard (known in the credits of this film as Phillip Miller). Go on, search him on He's made a number of films and precious few of them are worth the time it takes to look away in embarrassment. Yet, when he decided it was time to attempt making a little money off horror movie drive-in fare, he made a mark on cinematic history. Okay, you have no idea who he is, and you may not know his films, but trust me when I say that there are folks out there who gurgle like happy babies at the thought of this movie and even more are fans of the whacked-out Criminally Insane. You are in the vintage weirdness aisle.

Satan's Black Wedding manages to capture something on film that I do not believe the director intended. It is honestly creepy. Not scary, but you have a constant sense of not knowing what is going to be thrown at you. You have moments that leave you shaking your head, like when the suicide victim's actor brother decides to stay in her house while he looks into her death and he finds himself in the still gore-drenched bedroom in which she died. There are people attacked by the undead sister. She is gnashing her dimestore plastic teeth, but she seems so intent that you start to wonder if she isn't off her rocker. And backing all of this is a soundtrack of a piano that does a drunken dance like a merry-go-round's calliope out of control. You are in someone else's bad dream, and you aren't getting out until they wake up.