Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Cast: Olaf Ittenbach, Andrea Arbter, Ronald Fuhrmann
Disk Extras: Making of featurette / Theatrical trailer
German writer/director Olaf Ittenbach has a nasty reputation built on two of the goriest low-budget movies ever made; Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead and the one that started it all, The Burning Moon. This shot-on-video gore-fest was released in the U.S. on VHS by Dead Alive Productions, the company who brought us such horrific delights as Violent Shit, Traces of Death and Men Behind the Sun. That gives you some idea what kind of movie The Burning Moon is. It’s the kind of movie that gets a reputation by actually delivering on the goods and being pretty hard to find legitimately, especially uncut. Now we no longer have that problem because SOV/VHS resurrectors Intervision Picture Corp. has dug, cleaned ,and packed it up for mass consumption.
The story is secondary, uh hell, everything is secondary to the madness and splatter on display here. Be that as it may, the plot follows a drug addicted, scumbag teen who tells his kid sister a couple of really fucking twisted bedtime stories. The first story is about a patient who escapes from the insane asylum and the first thing he does (well, after killing a few people) is go out on a date with a hottie. She hears a news report about the dude on the car radio while on their date and takes off, leaving him to hunt her down. Well, he does and while making his way to her, he slaughters her family. But that’s not the really fucked up story, that is reserved for the next one where a priest rapes and murders townsfolk but another dude becomes the scapegoat. That leads him straight to Hell, where there is lots of gnashing of teeth, cannibalism, torture and lots of other fun stuff.
As a whole, The Burning Moon is not a very good movie in the classic sense. The direction is poor, the acting is horrible, the plot is nearly non-existent and the pacing sometimes drags, but that doesn’t mean this movie doesn’t fucking kick much ass. The make-up special effects are brutally realistic and inventive and done by Olaf himself. He also plays the degenerate teen who is telling the stories. The icing on the mostly so-so cake, the thing that makes everything worth it, the coup de grace of the full 98 minute runtime is the last 10-15 minutes. That is the length of time given to Olaf’s demented portrayal of Hell that reminded me a lot of Clive Barker’s vision regarding the Cenobites universe. It is sickening, malodorous, angry, gory and best of all, fucking awesome. That scene could be a nihilistic short film just by itself. It makes me a little nauseous just thinking about it.
Intervision’s DVD is on par with their other releases, which means it’s not going to win any A/V awards anytime soon. I happen to own the Dead Alive Productions VHS and I was curious how close the picture qualities were so I popped it in after watching the DVD. The DVD is barely a cunt hair better than the tape. It is a little clearer and the colors seemed slightly more vibrant but that’s about it. The great thing about this release is just that fact that it’s now readily available (or it will be March 13) and if you are a real German horror nerd, there is a 45 minute “making of” special feature that shows a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. I applaud Intervision for giving movies like this and Sledgehammer the wide home video releases they deserve. These kind of movies kick the shit out of the majority of stuff coming out today. This movie is hardcore and not for the PG-13 horror pussies.