74 Days of Video Nasties: Day 13
Review by Lindsey Darvell 02/13/2016
Synopsis: Watch out suburbia, there’s a crazy guy on the loose. A Greek citizen named Mikos ends up in the United States (actually filmed in Italy) after being subjected to an experiment carried out by the Church, which gave him the ability to heal extremely quickly. A priest nearly kills him, but he recovers in the hospital and subsequently goes on a killing spree…
Absurd is a 1981 Italian horror film directed by Joe D’Amato and co-written by D’Amato and George Eastman. The film is a follow up to Anthropophagus. It was also released under the following alternate titles: Rosso Sangue (Italian), Anthropophagous 2, Monster Hunter, Horrible, and The Grim Reaper 2.
Killer Line: That’s absurd, really absurd!
This is considered a sequel to Anthropophagus, although there isn’t a lot that links the two films apart from them both revolving around a crazed man on a killing spree and the fact both killers are Greek and are played by the same actor (co-writer George Eastman). Then there’s the killer’s name…Niko in Anthopophagus & Mikos in Absurd. Great imagination there. The interesting thing with the two films is that the villain in each of them is a man who starts off normal, but is turned insane. He’s just your average guy who turns into a bit of an ogre. Shocking thing is that George Eastman is actually a bit of a dish in reality.
Most of the action takes place at the Bennetts’ home, and I never quite understand why this is (other than being a convenient setting for the story to take place in). The home is owned by Mr. Bennett, the hit-and-run driver that strikes Mikos as he is escaping from the hospital. Mr. Bennett and his wife are visiting a friend and have left their two children home with a babysitter, Emily. Although Mikos could go anywhere he wants in this small town, he returns to the home to slaughter everyone there.
The gore in Absurd is really top notch. It’s gruesome, and the murder scenes don’t leave anything to the imagination. The director really works them to full effect and has no qualms about leaving the camera lingering on them for a good amount of time. An example of this would be when Emily, the babysitter, has her head shoved in an oven. We get to watch until she finally passes out, and her hair has melted off. The film definitely gives the audience what they want. We’ve also got a drill that is rammed through a nurse’s temple and a bandsaw that cuts right into some guys head, amongst others. As far as violence goes in this film, there’s more than enough, and it’s done to great effect.
There are a few character links in Absurd that never really pay off. There’s a drunk old man that appears twice and interacts with the main characters. The only connection that seems to be there for a reason is when Emily is told by the doctor that her close friend has had a drill to the brain, and so Emily is forewarned of Mikos.
The film loses momentum in a few places, such as when the priest and the detective (what a duo) are looking for Mikos. When the only thing you can see is a car driving through the streets, it becomes a yawn-fest, and I got a little bored waiting for it to pick back up again. The girl that features in the film, Katia (the Bennetts’ daughter), is bed bound due to a spine problem. Thus, she is strapped down in bed and effectively disabled due to muscle wastage. There is a scene when she realizes she has to get out of the bed if she wants to live, and the following minutes are enough to drive you crazy as you watch her fumble at the straps, take off her neck piece and unscrew this and that. The music builds and builds to a relentless, repetitive pace, which doesn’t help matters. To top it off, her annoying kid brother Willy is shouting in the background. Willy was in this film far too much, and I did want him to be caught by Mikos. However, obviously director Joe D’Amato thought this would be a step too far for the film, and he does have a purpose at the end of the film.
After watching the two films, Absurd is clearly the better of them. I genuinely enjoyed watching it, and the gore and Mikos’ performance make up for the weak story and slow paced moments. In these video nasties, I’ve listened for great soundtracks. Unfortunately, Absurd doesn’t provide anything as good as Tenebrae or Cannibal Holocaust, but it’ll do. Absurd is quite hard to find, so just make sure that you search for it under its alternative names if you intend to buy it. Otherwise, you can find it on YouTube.