Violent Shit: The Movie~ 2015, Luigi Pastore, Italy


Sigh<… You’d think by now that I’d have learned a thing or two about not getting my hopes up, but when I read the announcement for this project, it got my attention. It’s such a bizarre turn of events;Violent Shit, the quintessential no-budget German splatter film, was being remade- and by the Italians no less! The new film would have a higher budget (not saying a lot), better production value (saying even less), and would sport an original soundtrack by legendary composer Claudio Simonetti! And if that doesn’t float your boat, it would even feature Euro-horror icon Giovanni Lombardo Radice (AKA John Morghen) in a central role! Holy damn, how could I not want to see this movie?

I’m not crazy about the Violent Shit films (I kinda hate them), but this is tantamount to humanity entering some totally bizarre cinematic echo chamber. Violent Shit was clearly influenced heavily by the Video Nasties that came before it, and now we have this imitation video nasty being made in Violent Shit’s image more than twenty five years later, as if the original movie was just a fan film based on something that didn’t exist yet. At the very least, it looked like this could lend some legitimacy to the franchise, and it would very clearly be worth checking out. So, suffice to say, I preordered the Blu Ray. Will I ever learn?

No, no I won’t. it should go without saying that for all the excitement this strange stage in the evolution of the Violent Shit series may have generated, you can save yourself the trouble; Violent Shit: The Movie is easily the worst film in the entire franchise. It’s kind of amazing that that’s even possible, but here we are. Amazing things happen everyday.

THE PLOT~ When a series of bizarre and brutal murders begin to occur throughout Rome, German authorities send a detective from Hamburg to cooperate with Italian police in investigating what they fear may be the return of legendary German super murderer Karl The Butcher. Naturally, our two detectives waste no time in their investigation to uncover the mysterious truth behind Karl’s return, and to stop the killer before he strikes again. That’s only the first half of the movie, however, after that, the film changes its mind and decides that it wants to be about Giovanni Lombardo Radice’s Satanic coke party, and all of the work the film did in it’s first half establishing characters and plot is tossed in the toilet and discarded forever. We see some sleazy Italians have sex, Karl makes a few brief appearances, and is then casually decapitated in someone’s backyard like it ain’t no thing, and then the fucking movie is over and Luigi Pastore laughs maniacally inside his ornate, cavernous mansion, because he knows you just watched his shitty movie and he has your money, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Holy smokes. This franchise deserved better. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it really did. It’s probably as good at time as any to remind you what the original Violent Shit looked like:

Yeah, it looked like garbage, complete and utter garbage, because that’s what it was. It was the product of a handful of German kids dicking around with a VHS camcorder on the weekends, and somehow, the world decided that this was a movie, and now people own copies of it on friggin’ DVD. Even this, meager as it was, was a better experience than what Pastore has done with the Violent Shit franchise.

In fact, why is this even a Violent Shit movie? It’s not even that violent! It’s a complete waste of the license. Karl The Butcher is basically delegated to the role of a party favor, in simple point of fact, this is a complete under-utilization of the Violent Shit brand. This movie is really just about Giovanni and his weird antique collecting/Devil worshiping shit that he’s into, which would be okay, since I do like seeing Radice back again, but damn it, you guys. You probably should have made SOME KIND of effort to make your Violent Shit movie a VIOLENT SHIT movie. Seems like that would obviously be important. I really can’t tell you how profoundly short this movie comes insofar as delivering what is expected of it. The only other franchise reboot I can think of that shit the bed to this dramatic of a degree is actually Leprechaun Origins, which is a Leprechaun movie that somehow forgot to put the Leprechaun in it. Yeah, that was actually worse… But still.

Violent Shit the Movie isn’t just bad, it’s puzzlingly bad. It’s frustrating, pointless, and every mistake it makes is so painfully obvious that it actually makes the experience of watching it irritating in ways which surpass the natural unpleasantness one would experience when sitting through a crappy movie. Violent Shit The Movie is the sort of bad that demands retaliation, like after having seen it, you feel like you’ve been wronged on a personal level. Truly, hell holds a special place for Luigi Pastore.

Oddly enough, Andreas Schnaas’ Anthropophagus 2000, his semi-illegal remake of Joe D’Amato’s 1980 video nasty, is, while still shitty, a much better experience, overall. Apparently, converting Italian to German works a lot better than the other way around.


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Krampus~ 2015, Michael Dougherty, USA



Oh boy. Everybody is just SO excited for Krampus. Krampus this, Krampus that, for years, this has been going on. I had my reservations with this one, but  Krampus actually starts off on the right track, and that temporarily eased my concerns, and had me thinking, “hey, maybe this is going to be a good movie after all.” What I found, however, was that while all of my initial gripes with the film quietly began to fade into the background, a new list of unexpected, yet equally fatal flaws began to form, and these left Krampus dead on arrival anyway. I swear I have never seen a movie that so expertly lined up the nail, raised the hammer, took aim, and then just all-out refused to drive it home in all my days. Krampus has absolutely no guts, it’s all set up and no execution. This movie is a spineless insult to its Alpine Bogeyman source material, and to movie-goers alike.


Krampus is the newest Holiday themed horror jam from director Michael Dougherty, the same dude who brought us Trick R Treat back in 2007. This time around Doughtery, goes after Christmas, and gives us a film based on America’s new-found love affair with a Centuries old folk custom from Bavaria and Austria, which the Internet culture of 2015 has mangled and debased, so that it could better fit the role that America requires of it, not unlike an impatient child, forcing a puzzle piece into a spot where it doesn’t belong. It completely sucks as hard as anything possibly could, which is neither here for there. At this point, Krampus isn’t even the first of these movies to have been made,  and it won’t be the last. This trend will continue for years. This is my private Hell.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 22.58.31This kid knows what I’m talkin’ about.

THE PLOT~ As said above, Krampus starts strong, real strong. The first act of the film is centered around exploring just what a despicable, irredeemable race of shit heads human beings really are. Doughtery wisely makes use of the now all too infamous annual Black Friday shopping Massacres, which showcases many of humanity’s worst qualities, and which, ironically, also heralds the start of a Holiday season which is meant to stand forever as a testament to the inherent goodness inside all of us. Let’s give Dougherty credit; this is a fantastic place to open on for a film about a an ancient, Yuletide Demon who punishes the wicked for their crimes. He’s made his point loud and clear, we all deserve a Krampus. So far so good.

From there, though, we lose quite a bit of traction, and the film quickly devolves into a more cookie cutter horror scenario. We’ve got a family full of selfish, hideous troglodytes, who find themselves barricaded inside their home, fighting to survive as a fierce and unexpected blizzard turns their once peaceful neighborhood into an innavigable hell-scape of darkness and frost. Of course, we all know that this blizzard is actually Krampus’ doing, he’s here with his army of Christmas helpers (the hell?) to slowly murder each member of this family, one by one, just like the real Krampus does (no he doesn’t.). From there, it’s all formula. They get picked off one by one, all the while learning to appreciate one another more, which is a major theme of the film: when time gets tough, you understand how important family really is. Which is fine.

The acting is actually really great across the board, and the movie is well made, the practical effects especially. This isn’t a movie that didn’t do anything right, and that’s actually what’s so frustrating about the whole ordeal, It was well within Krampus’ power to be really, really good. There are a lot of Christmas themed horror movies out there, but not all of them are all that great. Krampus could have done it, this could have been one of the best of the batch, even taking into account how foolishly mishandled the source material was, but they just won’t cross the threshold. Krampus makes it all the way to the finish line, stops dead in its tracks, and just stares blankly into space. “This is as far as I go, audience,” the movie says. And it’s not far enough!

MV5BOTY1OTE5NTAxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjY3Njc3NjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_See how cool that looks? How did this manage to suck!?

The biggest drawback, as I mentioned above, is just how spineless this movie really is. There are moments throughout the picture when Krampus is briefly very awesome, the introduction of The Krampster himself, for instance, stands out as being pretty excellent, but these moments come and go, and they’re never as potent as they ought to be. Krampus displays an offputtingly blatant hesitancy to go “full-horror,” and there are added measures taken throughout to soften the blow each and every time the film get’s a little bit too scary. A great example of that would be the introduction of the Jack In The Box monster, which is actually terrifying as all fuck, except that when they hit us with the big reveal; the movie plays it for laughs, which totally ruins the moment. That’s one example, but the entire movie works that way, each and every time things get awesome, Krampus defeats itself with a flimsy joke, and that might have been just fine, except that this movie isn’t at all funny. So, what we have is a film that is neither fish nor fowl, Krampus is forever caught between two polar opposites and unable to satisfy the requirements of either. It totally sucks!

Here’s maybe the best way to say it: In this movie, Krampus has been made more similar to Santa Claus than he actually is in Germanic lore, and this is because these added similarities draw attention to the startling ways in which these two characters differ, and it’s that off-kilter familiarity which makes him scary. This is a fitting metaphor for the film as a whole. Krampus stings extra hard, because as much as it sucks, it frequently reminds us of the awesome film it could and should be, but isn’t.

Bear-1That thing looks like it was purchased at a damn Hot Topic… And by now, it probably can be.

And the ending is easily the most maddening part. As strong as the first act is, things fall apart super fast as we reach act three, and Doughtery concludes the film by Freddy Krugering us as hard as we’ve ever been Freddy Krugered before. It’s a cop-out, plain and simple, and it’s profoundly, appallingly lame. Really and truly, you guys, this is the weakest shit I’ve seen in a VERY long time. I walked out of Krampus bitter and dissatisfied… Although, to be fair, that’s also how I walked in.

All things considered, the real tragedy of Krampus is that this film absolutely reeks of “cash grab.” I know we all want to have fun, but let’s face the facts, this movie is a clear and transparent attempt by a director who saw an opportunity to advance his career, and took it. By any and all logic, this should have been a wildly different product; but instead of the horror movie we wanted, what we got a studio friendly attempt at crafting a commercial product, which would capitalize on America’s love affair with Big Papa Kramp, and elevate Dougherty’s career out off the slums he’s been stuck in ever since Superman Returns valiantly shit the bed. And it worked, lo and behold, as I did my rounds on the internet this morning, I see that Krampus is, in fact, the number one movie in America as of today. Certainly, the reptilian brain of the Producers to whom Dougherty is indebted must be pleased; and now he won’t have nearly such hard a time financing Trick R Treat 2. Can we blame him? Hell no, but we also don’t have to like the neutered, humiliated mess of a movie he crammed down our throats.

As it stands, I’d recommend that you avoid this one, for it is ever so ho-hum. Instead, check out Rare Exports; a movie which is thematically similar enough, but which is also indescribably superior to this mess in every conceivable way.



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Rampage ~ 2009, Uwe Boll, USA/Germany

Rampage-2009Before we even get into the movie, let’s talk about this poster really fast. Firstly, I have no idea who that female character is, and I just watched this flick. It kinda looks like Elvira, without her makeup… Yeah, Elvira’s not in this movie. Secondly, I love the glowing praise from “Cool Awesome Movies,” who gives this film a whopping 8 stars!!! Apparently, four stars just wasn’t enough, they really liked Rampage. Who am I to argue?

I’m Chris Ochs, that’s who. Review time.

The single best thing that German director Uwe Boll ever did for his public image was to slowly disappear completely. Let’s talk about that.

In the earlier half of the last decade, openly hating on Uwe Boll was very fashionable, especially in film-centric social circles. By any and all reckoning, here was a man who rightfully deserved to wear the title of “Single worst film maker of all time,” and who was also a belligerent, incompentent dick head, whom nobody could tolerate even on the most basic, human level. According to popular belief, Boll had managed to exploit an obscure German tax loop hole, which allowed him to secure generous financing for a string of woefully ill-advised video game-to film-adaptations, each with relatively high budgets, and occasionally, recognizable actors. They were all unwatchably terrible, and earned consistently poor reviews, which Boll often felt a need to rebut. Inarticulate retaliatory statements from Uwe began to feel pretty commonplace, and the situation slowly began to snowball more and more, until Mr. Boll finally became universally seen as the most despised social pariah of the entire psychotronic film community.


Which is weird, because he’s so charming.

But this was more or less temporary, simply because everyone kinda forgot about him. Once the video game thing had ran its course, Boll’s output became more obscure, and he lost even the faintest chance of ever again knowing the joy that is an American mainstream theatrical release. With his movies no longer rubbed mercilessly in our faces, the world soon found itself with better things to do, and even Boll’s widley accepted status as Humanity’s shittiest director came into question when Tommy Wisseau and James Nguyen hit the scene, jeopardizing Boll’s only accolade ever! Finally, at long last, Uwe Boll, Germany’s greatest living shame, became little more than a horrible, horrible memory for us all.

But he didn’t go away completely. Uwe Boll had just become easier to ignore. It seems that, unbeknownst to many, Boll’s directorial output didn’t actually slow down all that much, if at all. Year after year he somehow continued to churn out terrible movies, and in fact, he remains quite prolific, even to this day. Which is disappointing and terrifying.

In 2009, Uwe Boll directed Rampage, an exercise in shock value violence that has somehow proven to be one of his best received directorial efforts ever. The general consensus across the web is that this film isn’t horrid, putrid dog shit, and that’s a lofty goal which earlier Boll films, like Bloodrayne or Alone In The Dark, would never dare aspire to. Unfortunately, humans are often wrong, and this is one of those times. Rampage is horrible.

The film is best described as being kinda like Joel Shumacher’s Falling Down, as interpreted by some mentally ill teenage boy who needs to be sent to counseling immediately. I absolutely mean it, this movie is fucked up, and without reason, or purpose. It’s not even entertaining, and there’s no merit whatsoever to justify the considerable lapse in human decency required to watch or otherwise engage Rampage. This is not a joke, I mean it, If you find a copy of this movie in the possession of an adolescent, it’s right off to counseling with that one. That is a plain-as-day red flag.

THE PLOT~ Some sheltered, over privileged Millennial who has never known hardship decides that the world is over populated, and that he has the authority to make any sort of decision regarding the future of the human race, even though he’s just some shit head who isn’t qualified to do anything. This fucking tool, who knows absolutely nothing except for what he read on Facebook this morning, then concludes that it is his right to walk around town indiscriminately murdering dozens upon dozens of people, while wearing a bullet proof costume that he bought on the internet, even though the amount of humans who would need to die in order for literally any sort of impact on the Earth to be felt would be in the billions, meaning that he achieves absolutely nothing. So, this kid dresses up in his stupid little suit, marches out, and murders a whole bunch of people, which is really, really easy for him to do. Then, he frames the whole thing on his best friend, and retires home to the comfort of his parents house, where he can continue to not pay rent or get a job, i.e., exist as a non-contributing drain on resources, what a hypocrite.

And that’s the movie.


“It’s my masterpiece!”

The violence in this movie is basically inexcusable, but heed my words, fellow movie nerds; do not take my scathing criticism for Rampage’s violent content as some sort of backhanded endorsement, I beg of you. this is not some psychotronic milestone that you need to check off your bucket list by any means, in fact, if you even have a psychotronic bucket list, then you’ve already spent a lot of time on films that are much, much more extreme than Rampage, and most likely every single one was a much better movie anyway. For instance, I’ve seen, AND loved many, many films which were much more violent, graphic, obscene, depraved- you name it. Films with similar themes, like Falling Down, Death Wish, Taxi Driver, Ms. 45, Dead Man’s Shoes, The Devil’s Rejects, I Spit On Your Grave, and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, all of these are films which I have seen, and appreciate. Why, then, are those movies a-okay, while Rampage is not? Really, there are two reasons.

1. Rampage isn’t good enough: Simple as that. You can be offensive, or you can suck ass, but if you do both, people are a lot less likely to tolerate your bullshit. A genius has some clout to work with, and can buy their way out of controversies. If you’re a doofus, you better pray that your movie at least brings in enough money to cover your ass, because if it doesn’t, then we’ll just run you out of town.

2. The director is an idiot: This does matter. It’s the difference between seeing violent content in a painting done by Leonardo Da Vinci, or seeing violent crayon scribblings perpetrated by some creeper with a learning disability. Boll has no thesis, his film has no subtext, it’s nothing more of what it appears to be at its most superficial layer, because that superficial layer is in fact Rampage’s ONLY layer. This film is so shallow that it’s emotionally alienating, and comes across as a joyless, empty exercise in bottom-of-the-barrel shock value for shock value’s sake- and that’s Boll at his worst. (See: Postal.) Rampage is, in essence, inexcusable, and socially irresponsible.

That being said, as far as I know, this is his best movie. I want to clarify that there are plenty of Uwe Boll films which I have never seen (thank freaking goodness,) but Rampage certainly beats all of his video game films by miles. It’s almost a real movie! The dialogue, and the acting especially is suspiciously decent and naturalistic. Kinda makes a guy wonder… Boll supposedly wrote this one, but I stand here before you and call bullshit on that, at least so far as the dialogue is concerned; Boll’s English isn’t good enough, literally any footage of him actually speaking is adequate proof of this. What had to have happened is that either Boll brought in a native English speaker to fine tune each and every line, or the actors themselves were given full license to re-work and/or improvise their dialogue as needed. The suggestion that these lines are word for word Boll cannot be entertained, it’s simply not true.

But that short list of positive things I can muster up on Rampage’s behalf has now exhausted me, and we’re back to facing the harsh, uncompromising truths associated with Uwe’s cinematic output. Rampage blows. It’s not smart enough to be as offensive as it is, and the end result feels uncomfortably empty, stupid, and lame. Really, the only thing we, as humans, can do is to band together and hope that if life exists elsewhere in the universe, that we can keep Uwe Boll’s body of work hidden from them forever, because we’re probably on thin ice as it is, and that’s just the thing to crack it.


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