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We'll get the easy one out of the way right off the bat, as this movie, an unofficial sequel (of sorts) to Anthropophagous, is indeed quite absurd. Starring Luigi 'Gigi' Montefiori (AKA George Eastman) as the title character, director Joe D'Amato's heretofore hard to find (or at least appreciate) gore festival takes the generic stalk-and-slash template to new-ish lows, with some truly cringe-inducing violence mixed in with oodles of crud that keeps the less laudable cringes coming.
It's kind of a comfort, since I was unaccustomed to my feelings of warmth and praise for Anthropophagous, to find D'Amato up to his old incoherent tricks. After a musically promising start, as weird tones accompany a paralyzed woman's Spirograph-style scribbling, things dive into the gutter. A weird Little Orphan Annie-looking kid bitches and moans, as Eastman staggers into a family's kitchen holding his own guts. Gone is Eastman's fright-wig makeup from Anthropophagous, but there's George anyway, holding his guts, liberated after a chase with the police. Some helpful doctors stitch him up right quick, so he can escape and go on killing.
Good fortune smiles, however, as Chief Engleman (Charles Borromel) is on the case, harassing drunks, (while appearing to be 3 sheets to the wind himself) patronizing people, and attempting to track down the killer. Meantime an intrepid priest also chases Eastman, and an 'ominous hobo' staggers around, laughing hysterically while returning lost items to other characters. Of course the real star of the show is the Rams versus Steelers football game, which is so important to the movie it gets more screen time than any killing going on. We get actual televised footage from the game (did anyone get permission from the NFL?) as a group of dopes sit around scarfing up spaghetti while enjoying the game. Seriously, when was the last time you went to a football party where plates of spaghetti was the main treat? I can only assume D'Amato was poking fun at the idea of 'spaghetti splatter' movies, what with all the shots of dudes slurping up noodles while Terry Bradshaw is shown onscreen throwing touchdown passes.
I do miss the days when a catch in the NFL was actually a catch, and safety concerns hadn't turned games into 4 hour penalty parades. And man, was that Steel Curtain a great defensive line, or what? But yeah, this is a horror movie, and though it's rendered virtually incomprehensible by football, it does manage to deliver a few solid tackles among the duds. (Check that death-by-oven scene that seems to take 10 minutes in order for the SPFX artists to paint the victim's head silver.) But! There's good stuff like a band-saw to the dome, and a medical drill through the skull to rival Lucio Fulci's efforts in the field, not to mention other standard blood slurping bits. Extreme closeups of shaved pigskin (there's the football connection!) substitute quite nicely for human bodies, helping Absurd's atrocities earn it a place on the once-vaunted Video Nasties list.
If you, the viewer, manage to remain conscious throughout the bulk of tedious, rank reels D'Amato rolls out, you'll be treated to a climactic chase scene that's the very definition of embarrassing.
Absurd certainly lives up to its name, with roundly poor performances (Borromel takes the wretched rum cake) and plenty of blame to go around. It's also weirdly entertaining and fun for the masochistic. You've read this far, so you understand that while Absurd stinks on multiple levels, it's still Recommended.
Severin graces us with this treasure in 1080p from a 2k scan of the original negative, so on that count, Absurd scores a touchdown! OK, maybe just a safety, but still, the scrappy movie looks OK, with details that are nice and sharp in close-up, and a vibrant color palette. Film grain is present and looks fairly natural, and black levels are deep while holding onto detail levels at an acceptable level. Bits and pieces of film damage crop up occasionally, but don't detract from the overall viewing experience.
English LPCM 2.0 Audio accompanies the 94 minute, uncut version, plus Italian LPCM 2.0 for the shorter Italian version. Both sound good. Dubbing will always put things at a slight remove, but dialog is nonetheless clean and clear. The dynamic range tends toward the mid and high side, which doesn't help the shrill, repetitive score one bit.
A nice Mini Poster of the cover art accompanies the disc, which also gives you the previously mentioned Italian Cut of the movie. The Trailer shares space with three fairly lengthy Interviews including 30 minutes with Luigi Montefiori, an archival 20 minutes of what looks like spy-cam footage with director Aristide Massaccesi, and 17 minutes with uncredited actor Michele Soavi. Lastly, a Bonus CD contains the film's not-so-great score.
Absurd is exactly what you think it is. A nominal sequel to Anthropophagous, the movie follows the exploits of an immortal killer terrorizing a family. Interminable scenes of people scrabbling about are punctuated by gory deaths, or, more frequently, shots of NFL football on the TV. This is a movie only a Euro-trash fanatic could love. That person will find it Recommended.
- Kurt Dahlke