Year of Release: 1981
Also Known As: Rosso sangue, Horrible, Anthropophagus 2, The Grim Reaper 2, Monster Hunter
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 94 minutes (1:34)
Director: Joe D'Amato
George Eastman ... Mikos Stenopolis
Annie Belle ... Emily
Charles Borromel ... Sgt. Ben Engleman
Katya Berger ... Katia Bennett
Kasimir Berger ... Willy Bennett
Hanja Kochansky ... Mrs. Bennett
Ian Danby ... Mr. Bennett
Cindy Leadbetter ... Peggy (uncredited)
Ted Rusoff ... Dr. Kramer
Edmund Purdom ... Father
A man is running, followed by a priest. He comes across a house but the tall gates are locked so he begins to climb them, however he slips at the top and impales himself on the spikes. Injured to death he's taken to a hospital. Once there, the doctors discover that this man has an amazing regenerative power and his blood coagulates very quickly, making him almost indestructible. Sergeant Ben Engleman is put on the case, and he finds out that the priest has the answers; this man, Mikos Stenopolis, is the result of a nuclear scientific experiment gone wrong. He's now completely insane and will kill everybody who crosses his path, showing no mercy.
Absurd, remindin' us that a biologically engineered killin' machine on the loose is no reason to call in backup units if it means interruptin' the police department's annual Super Bowl party. That seems fair don't it? I mean, can't *anybody* take the law into their own hands anymore? At least when the cops' hands happen to be fulla Rainier beer an Domino's delivery for cripes sake. They're out there protectin' an servin' the heck out of us all year round an we can't even blow the head offa one single solitary Italian cyborg mutant tryin' to kick the door down an eat our eyeballs? That's gratitude for ya. An speakin' of takin' matters into your own hands, the whole town's in an uproar right now after a coupla clandestine PETA operatives weaseled their way into town an kidnapped Murray, the town's beloved groundhog an most trusted source for local weather in the greater Chickawalka County region. Everybody's pretty upset about Murray goin' missin' cause Murray ain't just one of them sellout groundhogs who's in it solely for the glamor an only works one day a year, no sir. Murray was a consummate pro when it came to all things weather. Not only has he successfully predicted the winter/spring transition correctly for the last nine years straight, but you can stop by his pen anytime day or night an get a reliable report on the outdoor conditions. If Murray's white, it's snowin'. If his cheeks're flappin' like a skydivin' basset hound, it's windy. An if he's sleepin' upside down in his water dish, you're prolly goin' home with a sunburn. So as you can imagine, the farmers're pretty P.O.'d, cause he went missin' the night before Groundhog Day an now they dunno what the heck to do about their fields. Everybody else is P.O.'d cause he also functions as the town's unofficial babysitter anytime some frustrated mother needs a few minutes to pound a coupla whiskey sours at the bar before they snap an suffocate their entire family with vacuum cleaner attachments. Maybe "babysitter" is goin' a little too far, but he keeps the kids occupied by chasin' 'em all over his pen tryin' to get at whatever disgustin' snack the little boogers happen to have stashed in the pockets of their overalls.
I guess that's prolly what started this whole mess, cause the enviros're claimin' that just cause Murray's LDL cholesterol level is approachin' Stephen Hawking's IQ, that means he's bein' mistreated. Alright, fine, so maybe he goes on a Cheeto binge every now an then, big deal. You can't just come in here like Michelle Obama an regulate the guy's Big Gulp an Little Debbie intake without a warrant. We've got my personal attorney, Cletus Rubenstein, an the local game warden, Amos Anderson, tryin' to negotiate with these chunkheads, but nobody really knows exactly where they are cause they've holed up in an abandoned mine shaft like Osama bin Laden an there must be a hunnerd of those in the county. I think all the pot-laced granola bars've they've been snackin' on've finally gone to their heads, cause they're demandin' we release Murray into the wild (which's about like settin' your pet goldfish free in a mud puddle with hawks soarin' overhead), halve the number of deer tags given out for the county, an erect a bronze statue in the likeness of Sarah McLachlan in the park. I'd call these people terrorists but that ain't really fair, cause after all, you can NEGOTIATE with a terrorist. Our one an only lead at this time involves a series of reports comin' in from the Tankersleys, where a coupla Silas' kids've apparently spotted carrier pigeons luggin' packages of Ramen noodles out towards Bearcrack Mountain, but for the moment, nothin' definitive has been uncovered. So if you could all say a little prayer for Murray an his safe return, we'd really appreciate it. I'm sure everything'll work out fine, it just really gets your blood boilin' knowin' that poor Murray's prolly out there somewhere havin' to eat the same crap as his hippie captors. Maybe we'll get lucky an they'll realize too late that they're sharin' their hidey hole with a mean ole hibernatin' black bear, cause once free, Murray can find his way home by followin' the scent of the dumpster behind Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks.
In any event, Absurd is the 8th in a series of 10 titles I'm reviewin' to remind pantywaists everywhere what happens when you put together a list of anything an try keepin' it away from the public. It's also, without a doubt, the finest Italian Halloween clone ever made to feature a buncha European actors gathered around their TV sets pretendin' to be excited by American football. They just don't write scenes like those anymore, an interestingly enough, the screenplay on this flick was written by George "Mutton Chomps" Eastman himself. George's pretty much made an entire career outta fondlin' his own exposed guts an terrorizin' local actors pretendin' to be Americans, but he's also written a heckuva lotta screenplays for some pretty entertainin' Italian B movies. So to thank George (who's real name is Luigi Montefiori) for stickin' with us gorehounds until he got too old to tear people's faces off for a living, I'd like to present a few of the philosophical ponderins one might expect to experience durin' a viewing of Absurd. First, just cause some people refer to football as "American football," eat spaghetti durin' their Super Bowl Party, refer to the local priest as "padre," an never seem to be able to sync up their dialog an mouth movements, that's no reason to question their legal status as American citizens. Second, the Vatican's had a group of biochemists on staff since the late '70s, presumably tryin' to discover a way of keepin' bodily fluids from showin' up in rape kits. An third, always check the interior temperature of anything prepared in the oven, cause sometimes it'll get back up an stab you in the neck if it ain't done all the way through.
An I'll tell you somethin' else that George's screenplay convinced me of while watchin' this thing; surprise health inspections for food processin' facilities are an absolute must. For example, let's say you've got a butcher shop, an durin' the night some psycho with Wolverine facial hair breaks in an processes the janitor into salami slices. You got any idea what happens if there ain't somebody there to spot that big chunka scalp that made its way into the pastrami? Cause you know damn well that when the shift starts at 6am the hungover butcher's so out of it that he wouldn't even notice a cowbell gettin' packaged with the ribeyes, let alone somethin' small like the electric carvin' knife havin' a little residual brain-goo stuck to it. Best case scenario, you've got Hannibal Lecter showin' up everyday winkin' like a used car salesman anytime he orders cold cuts. Worst case, somebody chokes to death on a chunka cerebral cortex an you've got a class action lawsuit on your hands, with infomercials runnin' durin' every single break of Divorce Court tryin' to encourage anyone who's bought meat from you in the last six years to sue. Now I spoze there're some of you out there thinkin' that the government needs to just mind their own business (an trust me, I'm with you on this, cause I'm prolly on more watch lists than the season premier of The Walking Dead), but I really don't wanna wake up in the middle of the night hackin' like a stray cat cause I've got some balding accountant's hair plug lodged in my throat. Sides, there'd be no reason for inspections if this kinda thing didn't happen all the time, so I say everybody's meat needs to be inspected carefully for any signs of transmittable disease.
The movie begins with George Eastman bein' chased all over the Italian countryside by this vigilante priest who musta seen 'im swipin' Levis from the church donation bin, til the priest catches up to 'im while he's hoppin' this pointy fence like the one in front of the white house an George ends up gettin' spiked like the punch bowl at an office Christmas party. There's a little known clause in the bible that states it's okay to impale guys on fences if they grope the Virgin Mary statue before Sunday mass an drop anything less than a ten spot in the collection plate, so let's not go demonizin' the padre just yet. Meanwhile, inside the iron gates, we got this nice Italian family (Mom, Dad, Willy, Katia, an Peggy) who import English language Corn Flakes boxes an watch soap operas all day in preparation for their American citizenship test, only their mornin' routine gets all fouled up when George stumbles into the house with his guts in his hands an deja vu on his mind. Now George hasta go to the hospital to get his tummy tucked back in, but it's a pretty complicated procedure on account of George havin' a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast where his internal organs aughta be, an so the doctor ain't sure if he's gonna make it. Fortunately, George has +7 health regeneration on his birthday suit of armor, an even though the doc's damn confused, he'll take the victory since it might mean gettin' a better premium on his malpractice insurance. Elsewhere, officer Bill Maher (Ben) is out drivin' around tryin' to bust up the counterfeit fettuccine ring plaguin' Milan, when he runs into the padre an demands to see his ID cause apparently it's a crime to travel by anything but gondola unless you've got a badge. Then Bill an the padre go to the hospital, an when George sees the padre peekin' through a window at 'im, he starts goin' apeshit tryin' to get at 'im an makin' noises like his right testicle popped while he was deadliftin' a Maserati. Bill wants to know why George Gorewell wants a piece of the padre so bad, but he can't get anything out of 'im before George figures his bill of health is about as clean as it's gonna get an decides to drill the nurse through 'er temple before checkin' out.
By this point Bill's pretty P.O.'d about Furious George runnin' roughshod over the hospital staff, so the padre figures it's about time to tell Bill about his biochemistry career at the Vatican where he's spent the last several years workin' on the top secret self-regenerative Body of Christ Communion Wafer project. Apparently they experimented on George an tinkered with his genes til he could regenerate body cells faster'n George "the Animal" Steele regenerates back hair, but they were never able to get his brain cells to regenerate. So basically, if they're gonna kill 'im, standard zombie rules apply. Meanwhile, George's wandered over to a butcher shop to pick up some ground chuck, only the janitor don't like 'im tryin' to self serve an ends up fillin' 'im with more lead than a Flint, Michigan water line. George is P.O.'d, so he shakes it off, slams the guy onto the butcher's block, an runs 'im through the roast beef slicer til the guy's skull gets split into a set of matchin' soup bowls. Then he heads down the road apiece til a gang of dirt bikers pass by an sling gravel into his grille, but just as he's about to grab the sickly gazelle at the end of the convoy an crack his block, Henry Kissinger comes flyin' by in his Volkswagen Golf an turns George into road pizza. Turns out the Henry Kissinger look-alike owns the house where George spilled his guts earlier that mornin', an he can't be bothered to stop cause he's gotta pickup his wife an get over to the neighbors' place for their Super Bowl party. The good news is that Italy don't get to show the Super Bowl until almost two years after it happens, so instead of watchin' the Philadelphia Eagles' defense get picked apart like a fresh corpse at a black market organ bank, they get to enjoy Terry Bradshaw's second half heroics as the Pittsburgh Steelers come from behind to trounce the upstart L.A. Rams. The bad news is that by the time the babysitter (Emily, or Emi-Lee Curtis, if you'd like) finally shows up at Henry's place, George's spotted the VW Golf that 9-ironed his face parked in the driveway.
Even worse, after the day he's been havin' he's startin' to smell like somethin' a dog would enjoy rollin' in, so when the family pet smells 'im outside the front door an goes apeshit, the eldest daughter (Peggy) opens the door an George proceeds to pick 'er brain with a miner's tool. While that's goin' on, Emily's inside gettin' a call from the hospital (she's a nurse) lettin' 'er know that 'er bestie just got 'er head drilled by some overzealous earring salesman, an that the borderline indestructible man-monster who did it is roamin' the countryside not too far from where she's presently wettin' 'erself. Then George tries to run the TV, dishwasher, microwave, an central air unit at the same time an ends up trippin' the breaker so that when Emily flips the switch back on she'll find Peggy with somethin' between 'er ears for the first time in recorded history. Suffice to say, Emily could use some fresh delicates, so she sends Willy (the 6 year old boy) down to the Mackenzie's... err... Forresters' house to get help, only once she locks 'erself up with Katia (the middle child who's presently in a neck brace an about half paralyzed), the insubordinate Willy sneaks back in, an George tries turnin' Willy into veal chops. Now Emily's got no choice but to grab a set of scissors an go on the offensive before George guts Willy an causes 'er babysittin' business to suffer the loss of a full star on Yelp, only George grabs ahold of 'er when she runs into the kitchen an stuffs 'er face into the oven an pretty quick things start lookin' really Grimm. When she stops resistin', George drops 'er like an honorable male character from a Lifetime movie script an goes after Willy. But despite havin' 'er Mia Farrow 'do scorched into a Bernie Sanders, Emily's still a little pink in the center, an she manages to rise from the oven to stab George like the last drumstick at Thanksgivin' dinner, before ultimately gettin' scissored worse than a Cannibal Ferox screenin' on the Disney channel. Willy's finally learned his lesson an taken off for the neighbor's house, so this just leaves our neglected heroine, Katia, who's been strapped to 'er bed like Linda Blair in The Exorcist since the beginnin' of the flick, an is now the only thing standin' between George an a clean sweep of the female cast. Gonna cut this one off now, cause here in a minute somethin' else's gonna get cut off an I don't wanna spoil it for everybody.
Alrighty, well, does it sound a little like Halloween? Maybe just a little bit. But let's be realistic here, what's surprising in all this isn't that the Italians made a Halloween clone, but rather, that they didn't go completely overboard and make a couple dozen of them the way they did with the Mad Max imitations. Not that I got anything against Halloween (or Mad Max) imitations, I just thought I'd mention it for posterity. What's really interesting about that Halloween connection is that a few things that happen near the end also mirror the climax of Halloween II, but both Halloween II and Absurd were originally released in October of 1981, so while you can claim that it borrows heavily from the original Halloween, the similarities to Halloween II are entirely coincidental. Without giving away too much, you've got the heroine who's been pretty well crippled for the entire movie, finally rising from her bed and slowly making her escape (in a night gown) while leaning against the wall for support, just before the villain is blinded and dealt with. The level of coincidence is pretty bizarre, but that's all it is. I will say that this flick has one of the most appropriate titles in the history of cinema, because even though it wasn't unusual for Italian directors to try to make the film seem as though it was actually an American production, this one has some of the funniest attempts at conveying that deception that I've ever witnessed. Undoubtedly, the most obvious example of this is the Super Bowl fever plaguing just about everyone in the cast, but there're other little touches that creep into the movie to add further validity to the notion, including the English cereal box on the table, the spaghetti at the Super Bowl party, and the fact that the detective who looks like Bill Maher goes out of his way to specify "American football" to another character. That last one isn't quite as egregious as it sounds, because the character in the movie is actually Greek, but you know full well that the clarification was made for the European audience who would expect "football" to mean soccer. I never have understood why they do that, I mean, I understand *why* they do it, but did it ever actually work? Did anybody who went to the drive-in in 1984 (it took three years for the movie to be released in the U.S.) during the two weeks this flick was on the big screen actually watch this and think the cast were American? I kinda doubt it. And besides, who gives a rip if the movie's American as long as it's deliverin' the goods? What I really wanna know in all this is how D'Amato got away with showin' actual video from Super Bowl XIV without gettin' sued into the ground by the NFL. I can't fathom that they'd sign off on letting footage from the most important game of the year (even if it was from the year before) into some schlock movie about a guy who butchers people for fun. I'm not sure if the audio is actually from the game or not, but the dialog is definitely describing the events being played out on the screen, so it's a pretty unusual situation.
Okay then, let's pop this sucker in the oven and see if it rises or falls. The plot is pretty ridiculous, to be perfectly honest. Apparently D'Amato wasn't content to just run with the time tested "serial killer escapes the asylum" theme, and decided to make our resident lunatic the result of a science experiment performed by the Catholic church. Ya know... I get that the Vatican does have a real interest in science, and that they do indeed employ scientists in certain fields, but this? You want us to believe that they've got biochemists doing experiments on people? Come on now, Joe, even I wouldn't make jokes about them being THAT evil. This plot would've been fine for a Nazisploitation movie, but in this context it doesn't make a lick of sense. It's also got a few pieces of subplot that just seem to get dropped entirely, like what happens to the dog after Peggy lets it outside, and why does the Henry Kissinger looking parental figure need to run George over when the character's so psycho that he would've attacked the first house he came to whether the car that struck him was parked there or not, and what's the deal with the bum who shows up in two different scenes when nothing he does has any bearing on the movie? The world may never know. The acting is decent, with George Eastman performing his usual function as the big scary guy admirably. It might seem strange to mention him first, but it seemed to me like he got the most screen time, so I don't think it's unreasonable; even though he's the antagonist, he's also the main character. If we're being completely honest here, nobody in the cast really gives a standout performance, but I kinda liked Charles Borromel as the somewhat bumbling detective who's more afraid of disturbing the police chief during the big game, than what the killer might do to the general populace. Annie Belle is also pretty fair in the Jamie Lee Curtis role, and to the writer's credit, killing her character off does deviate a bit from Halloween and makes it seem as though anybody can die at any moment. Which is, as many of you know, the ultimate test of any slasher flick.
Here's who matters and why: George Eastman (Metamorphosis 1990, Delirium, The Barbarians, Endgame: Bronx lotta finale, 2019: After the Fall of New York, Warriors of the Wasteland, Ironmaster, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Baba Yaga, Porno Holocaust, Sexy Nights of the Living Dead, Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper), Annie Belle (Luna di sangue, House on the Edge of the park, Lips of Blood), Charles Borromel (The Blade Master, House of Lost Souls, War of the Planets, The Beast in Heat, Don't Torture a Duckling, Messolina vs. the Son of Hercules), Ian Danby (Baba Yaga), Ted Rusoff (Acting: Lost Souls, Riddler's Moon, The Eighteenth Angel. Dubbing: Eternal 2004, In the Land of the Cannibals, Mondo Cannibal, Fatal Frames - Fotogrammi mortali, Cy Warrior, Sinbad of the Seven Seas, Zombi 3, Catacombs, Hands of Steel, Cut and Run, Rats: Night of Terror, The Final Executioner, Escape from the Bronx, Piranha II, The House by the Cemetery, Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City, Cannibal Apocalypse, Beyond the Darkness, Suspiria, Voyage Into Space, Destroy All Monsters, Yongary Monster from the Deep), Edmund Purdom (Don't Open Till Christmas, Pieces, The Rift, 2019: After the Fall of New York, Ator the Fighting Eagle, Nightmare City, The Night Child, Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff, The Devil's Lover), Cindy Leadbetter (The Adventures of Hercules II, Rats: Night of Terror, Starcrash), Lucia Ramirez (Porno Holocaust, Sexy Nights of the Living Dead), James Sampson (StageFright: Aquarius, Robot Jox, Shocking Dark, Escape from the Bronx, 2019: After the Fall of New York, City of the Living Dead, Zombi 2), Mark Shannon (Porno Holocaust, Sexy Nights of the Living Dead), Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man, The Church, Demons, Demons 5 & 6, Opera, StageFright: Aquarius, Phenomena, The Raiders of Atlantis, Endgame - Bronx lotta finale, A Blade in the Dark, Tenebre, The New York Ripper, City of the Living Dead, Alien 2: On Earth), Martin Sorrentino (The New York Ripper, Escape from the Bronx, Manhattan Baby, City of the Living Dead, Contamination, War of the Planets), Goffredo Unger (Hercules Against the Moon Men, War Between the Planets, The Wax Mask, Demons, Devil Fish, Exterminators of the Year 3000, Panic 1982, Cannibal Apocalypse, The French Sex Murders, Snow Devils, The War of the Planets).
The special effects, while not terrible, you'd probably have to call below average. The coloration of the blood goes a little too far beyond red to the point of being almost brown, and the consistency is a bit on the runny side. That said, the use of it is pretty liberal, so it's got that going for it. As far as individual effects go, you've got the handful of guts for George Eastman as he pays homage to Anthropophagus (too small to be real, but they look okay), the medical instrument driven through the nurse's temple (the penetration is shown, but the skin texture is unnatural), the table sawing of the butcher shop janitor (this one's particularly bad, as the head is constructed of a very soft material that resembles a basketball that's gone about half flat), a pickaxe to the head (not bad, one of the better effects), and the partially roasted head of Annie Belle (I liked this one, thought they did a good job with it). So a little lacking in general, but it does have its bright spots. The shooting locations, while sometimes enjoyable, bring another obvious discrepancy into view with regard to the movie being shot in the U.S., because the interiors of the house (while interesting and likable) are clearly European. It might not be as big a deal as it is were the house not the scene of the finale that runs for the last 20+ minutes of the film, but as it is, this poses a problem. And again, it wouldn't be a problem if they'd just set the movie in Italy, but it's a little late for complaints now. My favorite scenes are the outdoor shots that take place at night, and I especially liked the fact that just about every outdoor scene in the movie takes place on or near a dirt road, as this makes it clear we're in a rural place, where help is unlikely to arrive. The soundtrack is loud, in your face, and relentless in its overuse. This is another aspect of the movie that I really don't understand, because given the way it's modeled after Halloween, you'd expect the soundtrack to be tense and suspenseful. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I feel like it's a serious detriment. It might not've been as bad if they'd at least backed off the throttle near the end of the movie and allowed the events on the screen take center stage (because the climax is pretty decent), but I suppose Joe D'Amato isn't known for his subtlety. Overall, Absurd gets a pass not because it's especially masterful on a technical level, but rather, because I enjoyed it in spite of its problems. Despite being generally inferior to Anthropophagus, if nothing else, it's definitely paced a hell of a lot better. So if you're a fan of D'Amato and/or Italian horror, you'll probably find a few things to like about it.