ReGOREgitated Sacrifice (2008) Dir. Lucifer Valentine, Canada, 65 minutes
It's very rare that there's a movie that I truly put off watching. Those of you who have followed Film Gutter since 2015 will probably sense I'm fairly hard to shock and where it comes to extreme gore and violence, I think I'm made of fairly stern stuff. But having virtually back-to-backed two installments of Lucifer Valentine's luridly titled Vomit Gore Trilogy, I was anything but keen to complete that repellent triptych. Still, I think I would be doing myself, the director and all my fellow gutter dwellers a disservice to ignore it. Welcome back to the disturbed mind of Lucifer Valentine for ReGOREgitated Sacrifice.
First off, the eagle-eyed among you will notice this is the second movie of the trilogy and that I have somewhat made a mess of the order. So here there's no Hope Likens, with the focus (to some extent) on Ameara Lavey and even more so on The Soska Sisters. Yes, those Soska Sisters – Dead Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary etc. That's not to suggest that any of the content here is softened at all – what we have is actually even more sexualised than either of the other installments, and the vomit comes thick and fast yet again. If you seriously can't stand to hear people retching and gagging, do yourself a favour and duck these movies.
If anything, this movie is probably the hardest of the three to make sense of – no mean feat in and of itself. We see the feature character of the series, Angela Aberdeen, very little as we focus on 'The Black Angels of Hell' (depicted by the Soskas) as they go on a grotesque rampage of murder, physical abuse and sexual depravity. Even more this one begged the question of 'how did you get people to agree to that?' because this one has a larger cast, with a wide range of victims seen and debased in all sorts of ways. There's golden showers, people puking on each other, lashings of blood and gore and – most strangely – a man vomiting into a hollowed-out head whilst wearing an octopus on his own head. Feel free to take a moment to take that in. That, of course, is the repulsive Hank Skinny – somebody who strikes a little note of fear into me every time he appears on the screen. In fact, I struggle to think of anyone I less want to see on a screen that him, because it's a cue that what follows is going to be truly horrible.
The plot is practically non-existent, eschewing anything traditional in favour of the kind of montage that you might get to enjoy if you end up actually going to hell. The sound effects are crunching and unpleasant, the visuals are unremittingly extreme and upsetting and basically the whole thing is just there to make you feel bad as a viewer. It's one of those movies which it's kind of hard to go back to real life after. Even at an hour and five minutes it feels too long, because a part of you just wants it to be over. The whole trilogy is a unique endurance test that makes no concession to watchability, to decency, to traditional filmmaking or indeed to traditional morality. I dread to think what it would be like to watch the whole set back to back – you might never get over it...
For all that, and as I said of the previous, there is something compelling and fascinating here. Part of you wonders what's next, what can be next, what boundary will be crossed in the next few minutes. And part of the fascination is trying to find the meaning beneath the madness – something I'm not sure I was really able to do this time, despite my best efforts. That doesn't mean it's not there, but I'm not quite sure I can come back any time soon to delve deeper.
Still, that's the full Vomit Gore Trilogy watched and survived! Achievement Unlocked!
Wait, what? There's a fourth movie...?
RATING: 7/10. It's likely these movies will always hold a place in extreme horror folklore, and are probably the bellweather against which so many other disturbing movies are judged against. 'You thought that was disturbing? Well, you should check these out...' Literally nothing here is made easy to watch, either visually or aurally, and brief moments of candid talks from characters feel like glimpses of precious respite in the maelstrom of abuse, murder, violence and bodily fluid. Nobody has ever dared go here since, which is possibly some sort of indication of the dent these movies have made in the horror consciousness. It was still hard to turn away from, despite it all, and all three are grimly fascinating in a way I still can't quite pin down. This one felt more disjointed, and lacked some of the rawer emotional punch of the other two, so it falls a bit short of its bookends with 7/10.
And yes, I will come to Black Mass of the Nazi Sex Wizard at some point...
German Angst (2015)
Dir. Jorg Buttgereit/Michal Kosakowski/Andreas Marschall, Germany, 112 mins
Any of our regular readers will know just how much German cinema we've enjoyed in these pages, and how many very good extreme horror movies the nation has produced. So as soon as I heard about this one I was really excited to catch it – the return of Jorg Buttgereit to directing was obviously a key hook for me personally, as having emerged as a leading light in the field in the 80s 90s there's been very little forthcoming since. And although it's taken a while to get round to this film, it was well and truly worth waiting for.
German Angst is a three-part movie, with a section delivered by each of the directors involved which are basically unrelated apart from the fact that they seek to explore something uniquely German. We begin with Buttgereit's entry, Final Girl, which is a grisly tale of revenge taken out by a young girl. I could have told you this was Buttgereit's work without even being told – the visual panache is still there, and it's certainly a grim tale which is weirdly – but effectively – peppered with information about guinea pigs. It all ties together beautifully and the gore – whilst not ducking the issue entirely – isn't as gratuitous as might be expected.
The second of the trilogy comes from Michal Kosakowski, a relatively new name on the cinema scene, and his Make a Wish plays with the concept of Nazism and wider German racism. The story begins with a deaf couple in love, exploring an empty house in the middle of nowhere, when they are interrupted by a group of thugs – three men and one woman. Obviously communication in the first instance is difficult, but the intention of the group to hurt the interlopers is delivered in a pretty universal language. Make a Wish as a title refers to a strange amulet that the deaf man gives to his partner, which can enable people to switch bodies – something that proves a critical weapon in their dangerous situation. This one is very tense and uncomfortable to watch, and while some of the acting is a bit over the top overall it's a likeable entry into the movie.
The third piece of this triptych was the one that really worked best for me, director Andreas Marschall's Alraune. In fact I'd have loved to see this as a feature film in its own right, I enjoyed it so much. We follow a charismatic male lead in the shape of Eden, who meets a young girl after a falling out with his wife and is immediately and almost uncontrollably drawn to her. What follows from there is part nightmare, part erotica and part fairy tale and Eden is drawn deep into a secret society he simply has no understanding of and that will impact his life in ways that he cannot imagine. The confessional tone works well throughout, and the acting is very good all around in this piece. A little dig around and you can find this one is based on an old German myth (and subsequently a 1911 German novel) and it has that feel to it, with a more extreme edge, which is fairly little seen.
RATING: 9.5/10. To be honest, if you don't like these sort of montage or portmanteau type pieces, then German Angst is probably not going to be for you. For me, as someone who rather enjoys a short film, this one was something of a treat. Each is different in its own way, and as per the advertising does have its own uniquely German feel or connection. The veteran Jorg Buttgeriet kicks things off in solid fashion, but Andreas Marschall is the star of the show in closing the movie – I feel like Alraune will stay with me for a long time. I'd happily welcome a sequel, or even a TV series (Netflix, could you get on that for me? Thanks!) to see more of this sort of thing – there are still plenty of hugely talented directors in Germany to consider getting involved. Overall, this one is very nicely produced and offers plenty of variety throughout for a very strong 9.5/10.
EAT THE SCHOOLGIRL: OSAKA TELEPHONE CLUB (1997) Dir. Naoyuki Tomomatsu, Japan, 60 mins
Welcome back to Film Gutter, and today's movie came with the sort of bonkers title that I simply couldn't resist checking out. Japanese cinema can have a propensity for being fairly on the nose with the names of its films, but the significance of this one is simply lost on me. There was some phone sex, which I suppose explains the latter part of the moniker, and maybe one of the girls featured was a schoolgirl, although if that was the case it certainly passed me by. But if the sole function of a title is to grab a viewer, then I suppose it was job done...
RAMPAGE: PRESIDENT DOWN (2016) Dir. Uwe Boll,Canada, 99 mins
Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Uwe Boll, shortly after the release of Anger of the Dead, and one of the things that I was very keen to talk about were the two Rampage movies to date. Both were pretty good, in my opinion – I felt that both had a certain charged political power and energy that came through in the lead character, Bill Williamson, ably played by Brendan Fletcher. In fact having by choice dodged Boll's video game adaptations (as I would anybody's video game adaptations – the medium does not have a good record) I have a pretty decent impression of his work as a director. Given all of the above, it was hard not to already be fascinated with a third part to a trilogy about a man trying to bring down the established world order by any means necessary. But the plot thickened in this one for two reasons – first up, Boll announced this would be his final film as a director, in part fuelled by an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign and of course that video... you know, the one in which he told Hollywood and film viewers to basically go f*** themselves?