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.