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Old 09-11-2012, 06:21 PM
That `80's Guy Who Misses Video Stores


Movie #6: Absurd (1981)

A killer escapes from an asylum. Check. On his trail is a figure determined to stop him. Check. While in pursuit, the killer rips his stomach open when he climbs over a fence. A fatal injury to slow him down. That's new. Or maybe not. He is taken to the hospital and receives a treatment for his injury. What isn't clear is if he received a new drug to regenerate his condition. The DVD box says so, but this is a less than perfect transfer onto DVD. The audio is quite garbled. More on that later. What is clear is that the killer was already capable of regenerating on his own. Or something. That is according to this film's version of Dr. Loomis - a priest who reminded me of Dracula! - who claims that the killer cannot be killed. Or can, but when shot in the head. Inevitably, the killer recovers and is rejuvenated to continue his rampage. Whew!

At the center of this madness is a family. The only novelty to be found is a young, disabled daughter with a broken neck and spine. There is always a nurse on hand, essentially acting as a babysitter. She is there, so that the young, snotty son can ask her if there is a Boogeyman (after a brief encounter with the wounded killer, who passes out in their house earlier). That's right. The film dares to go down that path, too. Check.

My goodness, where do I begin with this? For starters, this is the yang to some of the previously covered yings. "Torso" looked like it meant business, but turned out to be less of a gorefest. This film is such a gorefest and doesn't hold back. In turn, it lacks the pretty production of "Torso." However, it has a half-decent production both "Mr. Hush" and "Blood Cult" fatally lacked. It falls into the middle of both comparisons. It is watchable but rough around the edges. It doesn't go down smoothly. What doesn't help is the poor transfer onto DVD. The audio is seriously off and makes some of the dialogue exchanges not very clear. It is clear enough to get the gist of the movie, but this is a price to pay for a hard-to-find import from Italy. With or without the poor transfer, it would still be rough around the edges. In the end, one cannot complain, because this movie is not even listed in movie review books in the United States. It is that unknown.

What first makes up for the rough quality are the death scenes. They are bloody and inventive. The bodycount is low, but four death scenes in particular speak for themselves. Would the death scenes save the movie from an average rating? No. I have seen plenty of these movies before. The one extra card up its sleeve is the unexpectedly effective finale. The movie is not particularly suspenseful or scary, but things pick up in the last half hour.

The comparisons cannot be disputed. An escaped killer on the loose. Check. A figure on the killer's trail who knows that he's a monster. Check. A snotty boy asking the nurse/babysitter about the Boogeyman. Check. Check, check and check. This has "Halloween" written all over it. The killer, played by a giant named George Eastman, may appear to be an ordinary man, but this is Italy's answer to "Halloween." Not that there's anything wrong with that. There are thirty to forty "Halloween/Friday The 13th" rip-offs, and most of them deliver and earn their worth. This one does, too. But barely. The plot is stale and you wait a while for the next big kill. It is the finale that ultimately redeems it.

As Italy's answer to "Halloween," this movie gets away with the kind of violence that would have been heavily censored in the United States. Only so many of the "Halloween/Friday The 13th" rip-offs get away with the visceral impact this movie has. That says something. If you have your own growing collection of slasher films and/or "Halloween/Friday The 13th" rip-offs, you might want to get your hands on this. But if not, there are better and far more novel slasher films to look out for.

**1/2 out of 4

Recommended as a rental or purchase.

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 09-15-2012 at 05:42 PM..
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