Written and directed by Marc Rohnstock in 2012, Necronos: Tower Of Doom starts off with a prologue sequence that aptly sets the stage for the atrocity exhibition that follows. In this opening sequence a master of black magic named Necronos (Thomas Sender) is all set to sacrifice a virgin witch in order to imbue his army of living corpses with invulnerability. Not only does this go wrong when it turns out his sacrificial lamb has been previously deflowered, but soon after this is revealed his lair is laid siege to by a squadron of Templars. They bring the wizard back to their king (Thomas Kercmar) where he is sentenced to death.
As anyone of faith would imagine, a man like Necronos goes straight to Hell but while he's hanging out with ol' Scratch he's somehow becoming more and more powerful and given that he's had centuries to hang out and think, well, he's also planned his revenge. And so, with some help from a demon named Goran (Timo Fuchs), he returns to the Earth's surface to pick up where he left off and rebuild his army of walking corpses. But to do that, he's going to need to find a virgin witch to complete that blood sacrifice he attempted centuries ago and to make that happen, a whole lot of people are going to get killed in exceedingly disgusting ways.
And disgusting is probably the best way to describe this movie. It's basically a two hour plus gore soaked extravaganza of good old fashioned practical effects, the plot quite obviously comes second. While it's probably too long for its own good, you've got to give Rohnstock and company credit for really outdoing any of the underground German gore films that have come before it. If you're thinking of films along the line of those made by the likes of Andreas Schnaas and his ilk, you're absolutely on the right track, in fact the mask worn by Karl The Butcher in Schnaas' Violent Shit films makes a cameo in the picture and Schnaas himself appears here playing a character referred to as a ‘Snuff Dealer.' Timo Rose, who directed Barricade and the three Mutation films shows up in the movie too, as do German underground director Andreas Pape and actresses Manoush, Tanja Karius and Luna B.
In that regard, Rohnstock has learned well from those who came before him. The gore is not only frequently pretty disturbing, but it's insanely creative too. While one scene in particular pays an obvious homage to the infamous impaling scene from Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust, most of the gore effects don't pay tribute to older movies but instead attempt to break new ground. So yeah, we get the typical limb severings and beheadings but so too do we get nastier and grizzlier scenes involving blood drinking, vomit, abortion and other assorted bits of flat out nastiness. All of this is played completely straight, there's not a wink to the camera in sight and the movie is just flat out relentless in how it continues to just beat us over the head with one completely off the wall gore set piece after the other.
If the extreme gore weren't enough, the movie is also jam packed with plenty of naked ladies, most of whom are frequently being tortured or mutilated on camera. This one has a mean streak a mile wide and it doesn't pull any punches regardless of the sex of Necronos' many victims. While the plot is light, it really only exists to string together the countless set pieces, the movie definitely accomplishes what it sets out to do. It's unsettling, it's gross, and it's completely over the top.
Necronos: Tower Of Doom arrives on DVD from Troma in 1.78.1 non-anamorphic widescreen. The letterboxed transfer looks about as good as the shot on digital video source material will likely allow for. The colors are pretty decent, the reds in particular, but there are some minor compression artifacts in a few of the darker scenes that are hard to ignore. Detail is again limited by the source but it's not bad given the obviously low budget nature of the movie.
The German language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track comes complete with optional English subtitles. There are no alternate language options provided. Clarity isn't bad here and while there isn't a ton of channel separation at least the levels are properly balanced and the sound effects are appropriately squishy. The score also sounds about as good as it probably can.
Extras are slim on this disc but we do get a trailer for the feature, a brief interview with James Gunn about his time at Troma, a still gallery, trailers for a few other Troma releases, menus and chapter selection. Additionally, the cover art for this release is reversible and features a more explicit version on the inside.
Necronos: Tower Of Doom is not for the faint of heart or those of a sensitive disposition. It's a mean, nasty bitch of a film and its running time of over two hours can make this one a bit of an endurance test to say the least. However, if you're a gore hound and want to check out one of the most insane movies to come out of the admittedly insane German underground horror scene, this one will cure what ails you and then some. It's not a movie for everyone, of course, but in its own crazy way it's definitely an accomplishment. Troma's disc is light on extras and non-anamorphic but it's the only English language game in town. Recommended for fans, with some obvious caveats.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.