Blu-ray Review: Anthropophagous (1980)/Absurd (1981)

September 30, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

After wandering through a small village in Greece (accompanied by one hell of a raunchy score), two German tourists arrive on a beach and get them selves all murdered up by something that comes out of the ocean. Speaking of tourists, five pals and their new acquaintance Julie (Tisa Farrow) plan on touring the islands. They hop on a boat, drink some Cokes, play some guitar, and ignore ominous Tarot card warnings…as one does. Soon most of the gang (minus the outrageously pregnant Maggie…seriously, she may be in the 5th trimester) go exploring the town…a town which is nearly deserted save for a strange woman in black and a cannibalized corpse here and there. Things aren’t going to well back at the boat either as Maggie is abducted, and the boat is set adrift stranding the group on the island where they shelter in a seemingly empty house. Soon they learn that a foul smelling, diseased, beast of a man (George Eastman) prowls the island on a mad bender of cannibalism and murder…and no one may escape this vacation turned nightmare alive!
Anthropophagous is a fantastic blend of slow burn horror and in your face gore. The whole affair has an “off” quality to it…maybe it’s the Grecian setting, maybe it’s the music (okay, no maybe there…this is some weird ass audio, and when that isn’t playing it’s all howling winds and banging shutters), maybe it’s the old dark house tropes (thunder and lightning, rooms in heavy shadow, contrasted against the berserk Anthropophagous and his shocking violence mixed with elements of Gothic thrillers…I don’t know, but what I do know is that it works! Speaking of that “shocking violence”, this flick was brought to you by one of my all time freaky favs of the Italian horror biz; Joe D’Amato (Beyond the Darkness)…a man that always brought his “A” game when it came to stomach churning gore, and Anthropophagous is no exception as we get plenty of ghoulish grue…including that image on the cover…yup; for once the poster art is an accurate reflection of what you can expect to see on the sinister screen!
As for extras on this Blu-ray release, ol’ Severin has us covered! Featured are interviews with Actor/Co-Writer George Eastman, Actor, Saverio Vallone, FX Artist Pietro Tenoglio, Editor Bruno Micheli, and Actress Zora Kerova. Taken all together they do a pretty solid job of detailing the film’s production in lieu of any commentary tracks or documentary material. Also included are three trailers for the film.
Surreal, off-kilter, and gory as balls; Anthropophagous comes highly recommended for any fans of Italian gut-munchers and splatter sin-ema!

Moving on we have a separate Blu-ray release from Severin featuring the spiritual successor to Anthropophagous; Absurd!
Absurd…or perhaps you prefer one of it’s other titles such as The Grim Reaper 2, Anthropophagous 2, Rosso Sangue, Horrible, Zombi 6: Monster Hunter, (just plain) Monster Hunter, and Sophie Chooses Again…concerns Mikos Stenopolis (George Eastman); a man that has become a bit like Wolverine thanks to an experiment performed on him by the church (the fuck now??)…he’s damn near invulnerable, has a healing factor, and is violent as unholy balls…and to make matters worse, he escapes from a small town hospital and begins a murderous rampage. In hot pursuit of Mikos is a Vatican priest (Edmund Purdom) who helped create him…and knows that the only way to put the beast down is by destroying the “cerebral mass”. Will the priest, and the local authorities be enough to put Monsterman Mikos down? That damn town better fuckin’ hope so!
Once again boasting an imposing performance from top-shelf movie maniac Eastman (who also penned this flick as he did with Anthropophagous) and over-the-top gore; Absurd is one hell of a fright flick. This is basically returning director Joe D’Amato’s take on the whole Halloween bag (with elements of Halloween II as well), and it’s gloriously…well, absurd! You have your silent, near indestructible killer, a sleepy small town full of victims, an older man chasing down the psycho, a hospital murder set-piece, babysitter murder, Mikos being referred to as “the Boogeyman”…but unlike Carpenter’s classics, this film features more bloodshed and gut-spillin’ action than any American movie could have gotten away with at the time. Finally, this film features a tyke with a voice that would make fans of Bob blush…and if you don’t understand that, you are readin’ the wrong creepy column boils n’ ghouls!
As for extras, Severin came through again! First up we get a shorter Italian cut of the film (with English subtitles) to accompany the un-cut version. Also included are interviews with Actor/Writer/Co-Producer Eastman, D’Amato (courtesy of archival footage), and Extra (and now a Director in his own right) Michele Soavi (The Church)…which as on the Anthropophagous release detail the film’s production in lieu of commentary or docs. Bringing up the rear is the film’s theatrical trailer. Also included is the film’s synth drenched soundtrack on a separate CD!
As with Anthropophagous before it, Absurd is one hell of a gore drenched thrill ride! It wears it’s inspiration on it’s sleeve for sure; but what it brings to the table in terms of complete lunacy makes it a must own for horror hounds!


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