“Horrible” Joe D’Amato – Reviewed by Edgar J. Savage (not his real name) – Spoiler Alert

Joe D’Amato AKA – Donna Aubert, Steven Benson, John Bird, Enrico Biribicchi, Zak Roberts, Joan Russell, Fredrick Solinisco, Frederico Solinsko Jr – etc etc. Was born Aristide Massaccesi on the 15th December 1936 in Rome and passed away on 23rd January 1999. Despite his many pseudonyms the nick name “The Evil Ed Wood” is probably the enduring name by which he will be most remembered.
Evil Ed (see it’s happening already) according to most sources had his name attached to about 200 films. If I am to be honest the vast majority of these appear to be flesh flics of one type or another and have such exotic titles as: “Forbidden Dairy of two Princesses”, “Aphrodite Goddess of Love”, “Goya and the naked Maja” and of course the classily titled “120 Days of Anal” (I know which one I would pick). But that is not why I am putting quill to parchment. It is to review one of his horror films for the web site DPPlist72.co.uk which is run by my Buddy Paul.
For your information, like the Director this film comes under a few titles, originally called  “Anthropophagus 2” we also see it called “Rosso Sangue” and “Absurd” which was the original title of its release in 1983. At this time it had 2 minutes and 32 seconds left on the editor’s floor. However, on this full unedited DVD disk it bears the title “Horrible”. The first two cool things of note about this DVD release are:
One, A message from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reminding little old me not to make any illegal copies of said film. How exciting. I love it when the FBI tell me stuff because; a) I am not American, b) I don’t live in America and c) have no OIL so what are they going to do about it. Please note two finger’s stuck up at monitor.
Two, A message from the distributor’s letting me know that this disk has been put together from two different sources of originating material. One is obviously the original prints. The other, approximately 2 minutes and 32 seconds worth of material, is from an old VHS tape that had previously been recorded on several hundred times prior to recording this film. This recording clearly took place from a pirate TV station in Grenada during a thunder storm.  So take the Pepsi challenge and see if you can spot when it happens.
Enough already!!! A quick summary of the plot!!!
Like all great (perhaps not great) Horror films you need several individual stories to collide. First up, demented mad man (who by the way is of the self-healing variety) is being chased by some religious dude. During the chase the demented mad man impales himself on the gates of a big house (did I mention he is self-healing).
Within the big house we have a nice family (ish, they have a few issues) who comprise of “Ritz” the Dog (he’s my favourite), “Katia” who is in laid up in bed in traction due to a deviation in the spinal colom. A younger brother who is so annoying I refuse to even name him. “Peggy” who is the fit girl that looks after the children. Mum who is obviously addicted to valium and an, at this time absent father called “Ian”. (This annoys me by the way. Ian’s so rarely get a mention and the few times they do they are either a Cat in the book “The Raw Shark Texts” or are Dicks. Sort it out you Arty Bastards. Humm am I giving away clues about my real name?)
Any way. The self-healing demented mad man somehow gives the religious dude the slip and makes his way in to the house owned by “Ritz” the Dog. He collapses in front of the annoying kid before being carted off to Hospital. I know that this makes it appear that the self-healing demented mad man is kind of rubbish at self-healing. But bear with it, he gets much better at the whole self-healing shit.
At the hospital the fastidious Doctors and Nurses fight to keep the self-healing demented mad man (from here on he is known as SHDMM) alive. With hindsight, I suspect they wouldn’t do this again. SHDMM being the quick healer that he is wakes from the operation and kills “Thelma” with a drill. It has to be said from the first second you meet “Thelma” you think “Ah she’s so homely, ethical, single, available and desperate. She’s going to get killed in the tits.” So it comes as quite a surprise when she is merely drilled to death through the head.
Guess what happens after this. Religious Dude just happens to be at the hospital and due to some incompetent shenanigans SHDMM manages to make good his escape.  The good news is. Religious dude is now best buddies with the cops and they are after a little horse play going to work together to take down SHDMM. Now I know what you’re thinking. How do you take down a self-healing demented mad man. The clue is in the script. Religious Dude is talking to the boss cop (you know he is the boss cop because he is the white one. Remember we are still in the 1980’s.) and he say’s something about “Cerebral Mass” which roughly translated means you have to cut his head off. NICE!
Take’s a deep Breath!!!
OK so here is the boring middle third quick smart. Biker gang being twats equals one dead biker twat. “Ian” the absent father runs down SHDMM and doesn’t stop (what a Dick) and “Emily” from the hospital (another wholesome girl – killed in the tits – you just wait and see) makes her way over to “Ritz” the dogs house to baby sit annoying kid and traction girl whilst “Peggy” has the night off and mum and dad go to their friends house to watch the big game. Ram’s V Stealer’s.
A couple of things I found fun. One, when the cops find dead biker guy they radio through “He’s torn to shreds, your right Padre, he’s no man, he’s a monster” the camera pans around on dead biker guy who actually just looks like a messy eater with a ketchup problem.
Two, “Ian” the hit and run absent father and his wife are at their friends watching the Ram’s V Stealer’s. Their friends, like them have a really big house. They are well off folk. So what do they eat? Well let me tell you, they eat plain fucking pasta. I am not joking about this, this is almost as bad as Michael Douglas’s V neck grey jumper that he wears to go clubbing in “Basic Instinct”. Plain Pasta, No sauce, just plain fucking pasta. Not only that it looked really over cooked too. You know, how old people cook it. DISGUSTING!
Oh yeah. SHDMM puts some random guy head first in to an electric saw.
Back to the action!!!
SHDMM is clearly pissed at “Ian” the hit and run absent father with questionable pasta eating habits and somehow makes his way to the family home owned by “Ritz” (I told you he was my favourite). Strangely, this home has somehow lost the gates that SHDMM earlier impaled himself on. Maybe a health and safety conscious “Ritz” had them removed, I don’t know, all I know is they were there earlier and now they have vanished.
“Emily” the slow coach still has not arrived leaving poor “Peggy” (the fit one) alone with the kids. SHDMM arrives and basically runs amuck. Firstly “Peggy” gets an axe in the head. “Ritz” goes missing in action. By the time “Emily” arrives to an open house the annoying kid and “Katia” are shit scared trying to “Hide under the covers so the boggy man won’t get you” It doesn’t take long before “Emily” works out that there is a self-healing demented mad man in the house who earlier that same day killed her best buddy “Thelma”.
Which leads me to the question; would you really go babysitting the same day your best buddy gets killed at the hands of a demented mad man, self-healing or otherwise? I think you probably wouldn’t. So let this be a warning to any other heartless bastards out there, if your best buddy gets murdered don’t go babysitting the same day or you will wind up dead. First you will get killed in the oven. Then in true horror style once you have recovered from that you will get a pair of scissors and………
Meanwhile poor “Katia” is removing all the traction paraphernalia and is getting ready to do battle with the SHDMM. Annoying kid has legged it to save his parents from Pasta hell. Well this just goes on and on and on. “Katia” is limping around like a child once looked after by Michael Jackson as a now thanks to a very dead “Emily” a blind SHDMM tries to fumble around the house looking for his prey.
The Cops have finally figured out that the SHDMM is in the “northern sector” (Wow. That’s what I call script writing) and are on route with the religious dude. At this time a really annoying child is picked up by his (very bad) parents just outside a house that just earlier had a gate that is kind of pivotal to the film but has somehow gone missing.
To cut a long story short miracle child “Katia” who only minutes before had a “Deviation in the spinal collum” has chopped of SHDMM’s head and is proudly sporting it as a fashion accessory when everyone finally shows up.
Plot summary over!!! What do I think?
All the way through watching this film I kept willing it to get going. The script has its moment of weakness and the story line is at best flimsy. But that aside there are times of real direction. Horrible, does not live up to its name in terms of technical ability. They clearly didn’t have a massive budget and I am sure that an awful lot of the film was begged, borrowed and stolen. But show me a low budget film where that doesn’t happen. (Trust me I make some of my living doing exactly that)
I don’t want to pick apart the acting as at times the job was done fairly well and limited if anything by the pace of the script. There are some atrocious times when for whatever reasons the film descends in to a farce but I guess that is the nature of the beast and in many ways part of the charm of Low budget horror films.
I guess the feelings I am left with are. First how did this make it on to the DPPList72. I have honestly seen more blood on an episode of “Grange Hill”. I am sure that Buddy Paul will talk more and more about the Social experiments of censorship as his web site develops. But I just don’t get it. I was in my teenage years when this film arrived. I made it to the cinema to see the first Freddy Krueger film at about this time. The twisted mind of Wes Craven and the brilliant creation of Robert England surely had me more petrified then this ever could. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” although now often seen as a comedy was the film that defined my generations teenage years. I guess like “Paranormal Activity” is doing today for another generation. If the DPPList72 was designed to protect us, they put the wrong movies on it.
Had this list never arrived. Would “Horrible” by the “Evil Ed Wood” (see it really has stuck) even be available now? Let alone have a legacy such as this! I think not. In many ways that would be a shame, but to Quote Orwell “The old dead have to make way for the new dead.”
With that said. I am glad to have seen this film and I am looking forward to whatever comes next (this is my first review for Buddy Paul) this is after all the beginning of a long project in finding and seeing everything on List72. I will without a doubt be hunting down “Evil Ed” and look out for some of his flesh flics. There is something about that period of sexploitation which in some ways reminds me of my old chum Lindsay Shonteff.
But that’s for a different trip down Nostalgia Lane.
But the final thing that niggles away at the back of my mind, the one thing the film never resolves and will keep me awake at night much longer than any of the gore itself could. Who Won, The Stealer’s or the Rams.

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  1. The Hopeless Wanker says:

    Whilst I have not watched the film, I found this review funny. Tge one thing I will do is try and check out some of the films mentioned 😉

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