directed by: "Peter Newton"(aka Joe D'Amato aka Aristide Massaccesi)
starring: "George Eastman"(aka Luigi Montefiori), Annie Bell, Charles Borronel, Ian Danby
(back of video blurb):
"BRUTAL! ...SHOCKING! ...VIOLENT! ...SAVAGE!
ABSURD ...NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!"
The film that kicks off, alphabetically that is, the infamous 'video nasties' list is one gory mother. A violence soaked bloodbath which, paradoxically, is often a chore to sit through. Not because of the gleeful viscera on display but because of Joe D'Amato's characteristic lack of style and any sense of what creates genuine suspense.
ABSURD is the follow-up to ANTHROPOPHAGOUS (1980), Joe D'Amato's Gut-muncher (literally!), which starred Tisa Farrow (sister of Mia). It is not a direct sequel as such, more of remake, come cash in- in the wake of that film's, unexpected, success. George Eastman (Luigi Montefiore) plays a psychotic, in both films, with an unquenchable bloodlust, who takes great delight in acts of hyper-violence. ANTHROPHAGOUS includes the infamous foetus quaffing scene- hence it's speedy addition to that list of the forbidden, right next to it's sequel!
ABSURD opens with Eastman being chased through the woods by a Greek priest in a, what must be said, very leisurely pursuit. Eastman, in an attempt to escape the lackadaisical clergyman, climbs over a fence but is pulled down onto the iron spikes and is rapidly disembowelled. Clutching his guts, Eastman staggers into the kitchen of a nearby family and collapses in a bloody heap on the floor. Taken to hospital, the doctors attempt to stuff his entrails back into their rightful place- filmed in loving close up. As he lies there on the operating table all the staff are of one opinion- he's a "goner". But against all the odds ,and to everyone's surprise, he "absurdly" begins to recover. Meanwhile the vicar is questioned by the police. It turns out he favours the scientific wing of the priesthood, "I serve God with bio-chemistry, more than with rites and ceremonies" he intones sagely. But, what the Vatican would make of him creating an immortal monster, as Eastman now is, and worse, letting him escape from the holy lab, one can only wonder. And indeed, Eastman takes this as a cue to rise from his hospital bed to start his reign of gory mayhem- kicking off with the surgical drill through the head routine on an unobservant nurse- again filmed in unflinching detail. In what can only be described as 'jog 'n' slash' he eventfully, makes his way back to the house with the iron railings- which now contains; two baby-sitters, an obnoxious brat called 'willie', his paraplegic sister and their faithful hound.
It is probably a safe bet that D'Amato sat through a double bill of HALLOWEEN 1 & 2 before coming up with the 'idea' for this Italian horror quickie. It certainly displays little of the style evident in Mario Bava and Dario Argento's gialli, but owes as much to the cinema of viscera, a la ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (1979), as it does, in the most perfunctory of ways, to Carpenter's seminal slasher. D'Amato 'borrows' such plot devices from HALLOWEEN as; the baby-sitter looking after young kids, the child who sees the 'boogeyman' but no one believes him and the Dr. Loomis character (the Greek priest). From it's sequel we have; the killer stalking the hospital and later in the film, blinded by the final girl, subsequently playing cat and mouse by sound only. Where ABSURD comes into its own is the graphic gore. Where Carpenter's film was an exercise in restraint, D'Amato's gives 'gratuitous' a whole new meaning. There are a few attempts at suspense, and by all accounts this is one of D'Amato's better paced films, but nothing challenges the on screen nastiness for the viewers attention
Like many Italian genre films from this period,(and what a fruitful period it was!) ABSURD is supposed to be set in America- a conceit which doesn't hold up to close scrutiny! And, as a final 'homage' to Carpenter's, very American, film, D'Amato cheekily takes the beginning of that movie and puts it through the blender to, thematically at least, provide the climax to his.
BODYCOUNT 7 female:3 / male:4
1) (female) nurse has head drilled through, temple to temple, with surgical device
2) Middle aged male has forehead bissected with bandsaw
3) Male teen strangled to death (Michele Soavi no less!)
4) Female teen gets pick-axe through head
5) Woman has face burnt off in oven and then throat cut with scissors
6) Middle aged male strangled
7) Man decapitated with axe