Ogroff AKA The Mad Mutilator ~ 1983, Norbert Georges Mount


Ogroff is a low budget, nonsensical French gore film about a masked Frenchman who lives in a shack in the woods and massacres anyone who blunders into his little world, which actually seems pretty easy to do. People wander all over his woods like it’s no big deal all the time! Ogroff always finds them, too, one lady doesn’t even leave the highway, she just pulls over and walks to the rear of her vehicle and somehow Ogroff is already in her trunk, just chompin’ at the bit to do some mutilating. The movie does nothing to smooth over how hard that makes no sense at all. It’s sort of like a French version of Violent Shit, but although the craftsmanship is arguably slightly better than it’s German cousin, from a narrative, or even artistic perspective, Ogroff lags miles behind, and that’s a terrifying statement. Simply put, the film is real, real horrible, like so horrible it makes Andy Milligan or J. Piquer Simon look like Orson Wells by comparison. Apparently, director Norbert Georges Mount was a video store clerk by day and a filmmaker on the side when he shot Ogroff. Most people are aware that Quentin Tarantino was at one time himself a video store clerk, but not everyone who works at Home Depot is qualified to build your house for you. We should remember that.

THE PLOT~ Ogroff lives in his flimsy shack in the woods, where his right to mutilate is utterly unchallenged by any form of resistance, and where people constantly intrude with no apparent knowledge of danger, only to be mutilated, by Ogroff. He loves it!


He’s a pretty happy guy, all things considered!

Most of the people in this film are such horrible actors that they stare Ogroff, actively in the process of killing them, dead in the face with no expression whatsoever, as though partial facial paralysis was a mandatory requirement to audition for a role in the movie. They wander about, completely unresponsive to their surroundings or the situation. It’s like a nearby android manufacturing plant suffered storm damage and now all the droids have escaped and are wandering about the countryside without their brains plugged in. Basically, Ogroff is all about gore laden games of cat and mouse, but with the element of suspense completely absent from the equation entirely.

Until it changes it’s mind about what it wants to be. For a while, Ogroff is effectively, a slasher. HOWEVER… at some point in the film (Maybe around the nine hour mark? Ogroff drags on for days) Ogroff chooses to spare one of his victims, so that he might enjoy her companionship. She actually doesn’t seem too put off by this, and sort of jumps into the backwoods murderer lifestyle relatively easily, until, that is, curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to investigate what Ogroff has in his cellar.

Apparently, and for reasons that are never explained in any way, Casa De Ogroff is like, crammed to the gills with zombies. Ogroff apparently collects them. Many are kept in the cellar, under a flimsy, unsecured hatch, which apparently did the job in keeping them all rounded up just fine until whatshername peeks down there, and then all hell breaks loose. Not only does her intrusion rile up the Undead Basement Bunch, it seemingly activates all zombies, worldwide, because from this point forward this is no longer a slasher, but instead a zombie film, and Ogroff’s Creep Pad is swarming with ghouls in seconds. They literally come out of the walls, but it’s not just Ogroff’s place, the forest surrounding the shack is completely infested as well, and now we mostly leave Ogroff and instead follow our nameless female as she tries to escape from her startlingly more supernatural nightmare, which includes zombies, a Motorcycle riding Ogroff (awesome,) spooky ghost eyes, a vampire priest, and some sort of strange sewer ghoul. Ogroff’s role becomes greatly minimized, and in the last thirty minutes the movie changes it’s mind about what it wants to be wildly, like a child losing interest. The result is both confusing and somewhat delightful, and it sort of puts Ogroff over the top and into psychotronic legend. It is by going that extra mile to suck even harder that this movie reaches it’s brass ring.

I do not believe that Ogroff ever had a script, but if it did, and that script was taken to a scriptwriting workshop for peer review, there would be absolutely no aspect of the work that was salvageable. It’s not about what Ogroff does wrong- you see, nothing works. There is no single idea or concept in this work that is worth saving, from an academic perspective, the only way to have improved this while it was still in the script phase would have been to simply destroy it completely and start fresh.

That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy Ogroff– on the contrary, I had a pretty good time. It’s just that you really, really have to accept that the film completely fails to adhere to any form of logic at all. I don’t feel the “mad genius” vibe on here that you might see from Lynch or Jodorowsky, this just feels shabby and poorly executed. When wading through the muck of the psychotronic film genre, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between what is stupid, and what is insane. I am not sure where Ogroff lands on that plane… That’s for God to decide.

One particularly unforgivable sequence takes place with some French youths who have set up a chess game out in the middle of nowhere. They sit, essentially motionless, for two hundred years, in silence. The scene drags on like I can’t express, it is incredible. I should also mention that there is almost no dialogue in the entire movie. How did Mount think this was okay? The film’s long list of problems would have been a lot easier to overlook had we not also been torpedoed with this excruciating sequence of inaction. Seriously, there’s a girl hanging out with them who moves around a little, but other than that, nothing happens, they just sit and listen to awful synth music on their radio and wait to die. And if that’s what it’s like to be young in France, I would welcome the coming mutilation. Ogroff would be like an angel of mercy if he were taking me out of that horrid purgatory. The scene really is the worst thing the film does, and it’s pretty hard to pardon it.

But Ogroff is still pretty fun… There’s just something about it. Ogroff, the character, is actually pretty likable, he’s just a man doing what he really loves, and that’s always nice to see. Actually, in a very direct way, Ogroff is the main character in this movie; since none of his victims are around long enough, or have anywhere near enough characterization to steal the show away from him, and because all of his mutilatees are already so lifeless and empty to start with, his reign of axe swinging terror doesn’t even feel like a bad thing. The only emotion we ever see in this film is sheer glee, and it comes from Ogroff himself, while he chops madly at strangers. I wish my job made me that happy.

It’s probably worth addressing Ogroff’s reputation for ultra violence; I think it’s undeserved. While it’s absolutely decently gory, especially for a French film, it isn’t going to blow your mind, and if you’ve seen Violent Shit or have spent any time with Italian splatter films or video nasties, you’ve already seen worse. I think maybe it feels more graphic than it is, in part, because it’s so low budget, but also because the violence is done in such a labored, ritualistic fashion, and because the gore effects are actually decent when compared to how piss poor the rest of the production is. Ogroff almost feels like the home movie of a murderous French hillbilly sometimes, so the blood has more weight to it than in films that are clearly more anchored in fantasy. I only bring it up to clarify that if you get your hands on a copy thinking you and your friends are about to take it to the next level, you might be let down.

So, Ogroff is an oddity. Equally terrible and wacky but a lot of fun for people who are accustomed to this kind of movie experience. I recommend it.



The Devil’s Rain ~ 1975, Robert Fuest


What would it be like if Ernest Borgnine worshiped Satan and a bunch of people melted? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another, and now, we have an answer; It would be awesome, and it would be just like this movie; The Devil’s Rain, starring, of course, Ernest Borgnine as well as William Shatner, and Tom Skerritt.

John Travolta is in it too… But you should probably watch it anyway.

The Devil's Rain Poster

THE PLOT- Mark Preston (Willy “Beam Me Up” Shatner) and his family have been tormented by cult leader and Satanic O.G. Jonathan Corbis (Ernie “Eyebrows” Borgnine) for generations. Apparently, one of the Preston’s ancestors betrayed Corbis and stole some super important Satan book from him, and Corbis is being a real dick about getting it back. Mark charges off to confront Corbis, only to learn he’s bitten off more Satanism than he can chew, so the job falls to Mark’s brother Tom (played by Tom “Can’t my character’s name just be Tom?” Skerritt) to go set things straight with the man downstairs. Along the way we have thrills, chills, awesome monster makeup, and a ton of people who melt, eyeballs first. It’s awesome.

devilsrainThis freaking movie is rated PG! I couldn’t believe that after I had seen it. True, it does predate the introduction of the PG-13 rating but almost a full decade, but the real point I’m trying to make is that The Devil’s Rain really doesn’t feel like it’s holding back. It’s perfectly effective even without subject matter that would have earned it an R rating. Really, it’s a pretty quality Satanic Cult movie, and it feels like having people melt is an awesome gore loophole, since apparently that doesn’t count as actual blood and guts, but it does manage to satisfy the same gruesome fascination. We’re on to something here!

It’s also shot really well, and the acting is great. Skerritt, Shatner and especially Borgnine really bring their A-game, and the story is fun.

Highly recommended, and superior to a lot of it’s Satanic Cult film classmates. Now, if you want to see more people melt go track down Street Trash and The Incredible Melting Man.



Pulgasari~ 1985, Chong Gon Jo and Sang-Ok Shin


In the case of Pulgasari, nothing that happens on film is as important as what happened behind the camera. For reals, you guys.

Pulgasari is a product of North Korea, produced by, and made under the watchful, giant glasses of Kim Jong-Il, then son of fascist dictator Kim-Il Sung. The film’s director, Sang-Ok Shin was a South Korean director who Kim Jong-Il deliberately arranged to be kidnapped and brought back to North Korea with the express purpose of forcing him to craft propaganda films. It’s a set up more than worthy of a film itself, and it really happened.

One of the films brought about through this insane, childish union of sheltered, detestable puppet master and horribly victimized kidnapee is Pulgasari; a confused bit of communist propaganda packaged as a quasi-Godzilla imitation.

As much as the desire to hate this movie because of it’s connection to Kim Jong-Il might motivate critical bias, the truth is that Shin’s directorial talent shines and the film is actually pretty good, and certainly fascinating due to it’s history. It’s rare that a blatant violation of human rights results in a corny monster movie, but this time we got lucky.

THE PLOT- Korea- Villagers toil in fruitless labor, slowly starving to death as their leach like government sucks them dry of resources without the faintest regard for their quality of life. (It’s difficult for me to place what era Pulgasari takes place in. They have no electricity, no medicine, no science and no technology to speak of, and it’s North Korea… So… 1998? I imagine that, throughout Pulgasari, there are people on the other side of the North/South border checking their E-mail.) As the people are slowly beaten down by their corrupt monarchy, a dying, imprisoned blacksmith fashions a tiny golem like figure of a monster out of mud and rice. With his dying breath, he prays to the gods to bring life to his creation, and then they totally do. As rebellion amongst the peasants leads to all out revolution, this small monster begins to devour metal, especially iron, growing exponentially in size and power as he does so. Soon, the all-but invincible beast is discovered and named Pulgasari, and the villagers use his might against their oppressors, eventually leading them to victory.

And for seven or eight minutes, everything is awesome, until the peasants realize that they were only able to achieve this feat due to their use of Pulgasari, whose voracious hunger for precious resources is ultimately unsustainable. Knowing that they lack the ability to satisfy his enormous hunger, the people conclude that ultimately, this responsibility would force them to invade foreign nations, and eventually this would lead to the fall of mankind altogether. Through tragic sacrifice, the Pulgasari is destroyed.

SO, WHAT’S GOING ON HERE- It’s a funny thing, Pulgasari is blatant communist propaganda, with Pulgasari himself serving as a stand in for Capitalism. The message is clear- Capitalism is a destructive force that will motivate societies to war and battle over resources and only by throwing off the shackles of this burden can we hope to achieve global unity and peace… But that message only really comes into focus at the very end of the picture. For the lion’s share of Pulgasari‘s run time, the movie really looks like a strong piece of anti-fascist sentiment, incredibly strange, given the overtly fascist nature of the powers responsible for creating Pulgasari. It really does take a government as obtuse as North Korea’s to use their fascist powers to create anti-fascist propaganda and have no idea why that’s ridiculous. Must be nice, simply ordering a multi-generation execution of anyone who points out the obvious.

So, as a piece of propaganda, the film is successful, but not exactly in the way Kim Jong-Il probably wanted… Or at least, maybe not in the way he would have wanted if the intellectual mechanism needed for him to second guess even his most basic of thoughts hadn’t withered and disappeared from his brain after a lifetime of being surrounded by terrified Yes-Men. I have no doubt this his biding was done to the letter, I just think that he could have realized that the implication against his own regime was clear if he could have thought about it a little more critically. I guess maybe someone could have helped to point that out during the writing process if execution wasn’t a 100% certainty attached to literally any form of criticism whatsoever.

But as a movie, it’s enjoyable, and fairly solid. The rear projection effects look like garbage, but the monster suit is more than passable, and Kim Jong-Il’s absolute control over his subjects and complete disregard for their safety helped net him some pretty impressive sweeping battlefield shots. One criticism, however- I was shocked to learn this movie was shot in the mid-eighties. It looks on par with Toho productions of the early sixties. I would have expected more cutting edge work from a hostage with a gun to his head.

Pulgasari is, strangely, an enjoyable experience, and the propaganda is blatant enough so as to fail at being effectively subversive. I’d say the circumstances around it make it pretty relevant, and it’s not even terrible. I recommend it to kaiju fans, and would say that it’s required viewing for fans of Mondo Macabro style bizarre world cinema.



Castle Freak~ 1995, Stuart Gordon

castle freak vhs ad

Who among us has moved into a new place and NOT dreaded the day they might discover that there was, in fact, a castle freak hiding in the shadows, which the apartment management had failed to mention? Discovering that your new home also houses a dangerous, horribly disfigured psychopath who knows the ins and outs of your sweet two bedroom, one bath, party bungalow better than you ever could is a clear, constant danger to us all, and no one movie explores that very real fear better than Stuart Gordon’s super awesome Castle Freak, starring Jeffery Combs and Barbara Crampton.

In Castle Freak, Jeffrey Combs discovers that, well, what do you know; I’m totally royalty, and I just inherited a sweet castle in Italy! Never once expecting a fucking Castle Freak, Combs and his family travel to Europe to explore his newly discovered ancestral home, totally unaware of the damn Castle Freak, who is just waiting to screw up their day and/or straight up kill them. Talk about a case of the Mondays.

The Castle Freak does turn up, of course, and once he does he’s nothing but trouble. Aside from terrorizing Jeffrey Combs and his family, he also does all sorts of bad stuff around town that Combs ends up taking the blame for, and throughout most of the film he manages to do this while flying under the radar, because there is nothing stealthier than a wailing maniac who has lived his entire life confined to a dungeon knowing only brutality and violence.

All told, this is a redemption story. Combs’ character has, in the past, messed up real hard, so hard it makes Jack Torrence look like father of the year, and his family is just barely holding it together at the start of the picture. It’s a testament to the human will that he manages to use this murderous Castle Freak situation as an opportunity to turn it all around, to go that extra mile and win back his family’s trust, to say, “Yeah, I was drunk at the time, and yeah, the car accident killed our son and left our daughter blind- but hey, I got rid of that fucking Castle Freak, didn’t I?!” Way to be, Jeff. Next time you’re having hard time finding your silver lining, think back on Jeffrey Combs’ Castle Freak scenario and remember, if HE could do it, well then, darn it, you can too!

Loosely based (SUPER loosely) on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider, Castle Freak is probably the lesser of Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptations, but it’s still really great. It’s a very simplistic, straight forward, low budget horror movie, and it’s lots of fun. I have a lot of affection for the film, even if it can’t hold a candle to Re-Animator, From Beyond, or Dagon, and Castle Freak remains a film I enjoy and would happily recommend.


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Ghost Adventures ~ 2004, Zak Bagans, Nik Groff


Most people have probably seen The Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures. Right now there are countless documentary style ghost hunting shows smeared crudely across cable television time-slots, and Ghost Adventures is identical to them all, save for one crucial factor that sets it apart; it’s host; Zak Bagans, the single biggest dumb-ass in the entire world.

D BagansBehold.

Zak Bagans is a big, strong man, he’s not afraid of any ghosts. Don’t believe me?! Well, then, how come he has that ugly, dumb ass T-shirt he bought for 80 dollars? If he’s not a strong, big man then how come his hair is so spikey?!


“What douche bags?!??!”

Yeah, that’s right, Zak Bagans isn’t about to let any ghosts insult his masculinity, and if he perceives one to be doing so, he will overcompensate, hard and fast, and confront that ghost (or big empty room) in the most childish way possible, and then you’ll see. Then everyone will see. “Do you even lift, bro?” He’ll cry out, before retreating into his tanning bed. (Actually, Bagans quotes aren’t normally worded that well.)

But I digress… Let’s get back to point; Perhaps you are aware of the show, but I’d wager that less of you are aware that before Ghost Adventures entered production as a regular TV series, there was a full length Ghost Adventures movie. Ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your asses.

THE PLOT- Ghost Adventures follows intrepid douche bag Zak Bagans and two other humans who can somehow tolerate him on a ghost hunting road trip for the ages; armed with cameras and a staggeringly low combined IQ, these big, brave men will stake out various locales thought to harbor lost souls and fearlessly document their attempts to prove that they aren’t afraid of things, and are totally cool and bad ass.

Here’s the truth; I believe in Ghosts, and I love shit like this, but when these assholes do it, it’s just humiliating. Literally, this is a man who tries to prove himself by physically confronting ghosts… First of all, there are almost definitely no ghosts wherever Zak Bagans is, meaning he is trying to physically challenge a damn hallway. It’s so, so extreme how much of an idiot this guy is. Secondly, if ghosts ARE real, and he DOES find one…. I mean, you guys, it’s okay to run from a confrontation with a ghost. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, Zak, you’re not impressing anyone. It’s a damn ghost. You can’t punch it, and if you did, what in the hell do you expect is going to happen next? No one in the world has ever made such a fool of themselves. What are you going to do the day a snarling phantom from hell lurches out of a corridor and tears your damn throat out? Please, God, PLEASE let that happen to Zak Bagans. PLEASE, let the first, undeniable piece of video evidence be a damn ghoul eviscerating the shit out of Zak Bagans on his own f’ing show. I’ll never ask for anything ever again.

 0Seriously, I would never ask for anything ever again. Give me this one thing… Kill Zak Bagans….

Of course, Douche Bagans aside, the biggest issue with shows like this is that the hosts always present their findings as being invaluable, cut and dry proof of the paranormal, when for all we know, this shit is fake, top to bottom. It just can’t be treated as scientific evidence. It’s too easy to hoax this sort of thing, and Bagans has a clear motive to do so, after all, those spray tans and Crest Whitening Strips aren’t gonna pay for themselves.

So, assuming it’s not faked, what of the findings? Well, they’re fine. Nothing that’s going to change anyone’s mind, and nothing definitive. In the hands of another “team,” this might have even been kind of neat, just a fun little ghost hunting doc. However, no shadowy form at the end of a hallway can pull the focus away from the real star of this show; the dim witted blundering of aforementioned metrosexual simpleton Zak Bagans. The man is just a fucking fool. His narration made me laugh out loud more than once. For me, Ghost Adventures isn’t about ghost hunting, it’s about the clownsmanship of this truly remarkable individual, the Superman of idiots; Zak Bagans. He is legend.

Actually, the film being made early in his ghost hunting career, the Zak Bagans of the Ghost Adventures movie is sort of like Zak Bagans Light. Yeah, he’s the least well spoken person to ever narrate anything, and yes, you can tell by looking at him that he’s just not very smart- but as the years go by his buffoonary becomes much more pronounced and extreme. Regardless, if you’re going into this movie hoping to see a moron on full blast, you won’t be disappointed.

The movie’s problems aren’t limited to Bagans, surprisingly. The craftsmanship is truly bottom of the barrel, with the editing being particularly horrid, but all aspects technical are feeble and sometimes cringe-worthy. It’s also supposed to be a documentary designed to prove the existence of the paranormal, but the movie has no integrity whatsoever. The crew frequently refers to “how they feel” as evidence for paranormal phenomena, and the interviews are a complete disaster. Bagans blatantly baits or leads most of the interviewees into saying what he needs them to say, and most of them seem crazy to begin with.

So, how do we judge this? As a movie? Totaly blows. As an achievement? Totally blows (Though they got a show out of it, so that’s SOMETHING.). As a documentary? Totally blows. As evidence? Laughably inadmissible. F, F, F, F, fails all around. Now; as a hilarious record of the half cocked, cave-man browed, chest poundings of an over-eager dumb ass with a need to prove to himself that he isn’t a whimpering little bitch? Well, on that front, Ghost Adventures is a real slam dunk. I like it, actually- I mean, it sucks ass, but it’s pretty funny. However, it’s not supposed to be funny at all, and if Zak Bagans ever “read” this, he’d probably just skip to the end, so let’s give his movie the grade it deserves, otherwise he’ll get confused and become confrontational.