Monday, February 1, 2010


Horrible 1981
Director: Joe D'Amato
Writer: George Eastman
Starring George Eastman, Annie Belle, Charles Borromel, Katya Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Ian Danby, Edmond Purdom and Ted Rusoff

Joe D'Amato is one of the most notorious names in Italian horror with films such as Beyond the Darkness and Anthrophagus under his belt. He also made a few Emmanuelle films which enjoy a very popular cult film status. Horrible is his take on the slasher genre but pushed to the nth degree. This film is very bloody and the plot is just there as a setup for all the carnage that ensues. This film is over the top bloody and has some great kills in the film. The best one has to be the oven death of the babysitter, which is a prolonged and painful death scene to watch. As it seems like the camera just loves to leer over it and to subject the viewer to as much depravity as is humanly possible. The film really has a gritty atmosphere to it which is really helped along with a score that reverberates through your very bones during the malicious kill scenes. At best this film is a fun slasher film that follows many of the tried and trued rules of most slasher films and at its worst it is just a absurdist horror film and if you do not take it too seriously you will have loads of fun with it. The final 20 minutes of the film are nail biting suspense filled and really make the film worth watching.
The plot basics are this, Mikos, (Eastman) a homicidal maniac, somehow miraculously survives a accident and also seems to have the ability to regenerate blood cells. He awakes in a hospital bed with a reinvigorated zeal to kill anyone in his way. While on his destructive path he has hot pursuit on his heels by Sergeant Ben Engleman (Barromel) and a priest (Purdom) who discover that his ability is due to a nuclear accident. Mikos escapes onto the grounds of a family who is out for the night but left in the home is their sick daughter (Berger), their young son (Kochansky) and their babysitter (Belle). Mikos then goes on a path of destruction trying to kill all who are in his path. The question is will the Sergeant and the priest show up in time or will the sick girl have to find a way to defeat the monster?
This is really a fun little slasher film. The direction by D'Amato is tense and suspenseful. He sets up the kills with a skilled eye and some of the best examples of this are the drill scene and the aforementioned oven scene. He takes his time with these scenes and they payoff very well for the viewer if they can stomach their way through it. He also uses the landscape of the film well, he has a keen eye for what works and what does not. The script is fairly simplistic. It is mainly about moving the plot forward. There is little explanation for Mikos miraculous healing factor and not much characterization for any of the characters. But, slasher films are more about the body count and the kills than anything like the actual story. So, the script does it's job ably well. The cast is good. Eastman makes a great lumbering slasher and he leaves a indelible impression on the viewer as they watch him leave his swath of victims. Purdom as the priest is quite hammy in his overacting and that works really well. Berger as the young girl who must combat Mikos, does extremely well as she really carries those last 20 suspenseful minutes of the film. Especially when she is trying to get out of her harness before the killer comes back to dispatch her. The SFX and effects are very good. They are quite bloody and graphic, such as the drill scene or when Mikos scales the wall of the house puncturing his stomach with his intestines slipping out. It is vile and sleazy and that is why the film is so damn enjoyable. The score by Carlo Maria Cordio really accentuates the film, especially during the kill scenes. The music is so jarring that you know something bad is about to happen and the film never disappoints you in that matter. This is a fun slasher film that most fans will like as long as you are not expecting anything with a serious tone to it. Just grab a bag of popcorn and watch the mayhem fly.
This one gets 4 out 5 drills to the head

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