Directed by: Joe D’Amato
First released: 1982
Current Status: Still banned in the UK, available uncut in the US.
So, the first film on the Video Nasties list is this, a film called Absurd which is actually a sort of sequel to the next film on the list, The Anthropopagous Beast. Made in 1981, Absurd was released uncut on VHS in 1982 by Medusa, however, later it was released for a cinema release with over 2 minutes of cuts. The uncut version was withdrawn by Medusa on VHS and the cut cinema version was later released instead. At the height of the Video Nasty hysteria, Absurd was added to the list and banned. It did eventually receive a US release uncut; however it is still unavailable in the UK, so I presume it is still banned. Do I believe this movie should still be banned, well, read on and we shall find out!
The film opens with a scene that is neither explained nor justified until later on in the movie, we just have to presume one of the guys is good, and the other is bad. A Priest is chasing a man through the woods and it would seem the Priest is the good guy (of course he is). The man he is chasing is huge, with a big black beard and they casually jog after each other occasionally speeding up. Eventually the big guy climbs a massive gate and the Priest catches him, holding his leg and pulling him down. This rips open the poor guys stomach, he still runs off and knocks on the door of a house in the woods. Living inside this house is a girl who is bed-ridden in a full on neck brace, her irritating little brother, I presume his babysitter and the parents also make an entrance. The irritating, curly haired boy answers the door and lets out a scream that could only have come from the 80’s as this huge man stands there and quite literally empties his guts! The man is taken to hospital and Doctors rush to save him, and while operating on him, the man keeps opening his eyes! It could be spasms, says the Doctor. We find out the giant man is called Mikos Stenopolis, played with intense nastiness by George Eastman. We find out why the film is called “Absurd” as the Doctor keeps on repeating the word while describing a slight problem with his patient. It appears he can fix himself, and red blood cells keep rejuvenating and healing him at an accelerated rate.
The film is actually incredibly interesting with this plot twist and highly engaging. About twenty minutes is spent in the hospital discussing the man, whilst the local police go in search of who caused the carnage. The Priest is found, the story continues to get more and more interesting as the Priest eventually spills the beans, and our giant man escapes in a blaze of glory, or should that be “drill” of glory! The first real scene of violence appears about half an hour in as Mikos attacks a nurse with a drill, and in true latex fashion, we get a close up of the nurse’s head as the drill goes in one end and comes out the other. The film now becomes a bog standard slasher as Mikos goes on the rampage killing everyone who crosses him. All of a sudden the police disappear from the film, and we now focus on that first house where Mikos first arrived and how he terrorises the inhabitants. The parents are still out as everyone in town seems to be watching the big game of football on a very fake looking and incredibly huge tv. The parents are with friends, leaving the annoying little brother, the presumed babysitter, the bed-ridden older sister, and yet another sister who is a nurse arrives home. It almost turns into a bit like Halloween, only there is no reason for Mikos’ attack on this house, only that he happens to stumble across it. The man never speaks a word throughout the entire film, but he does grunt his way through, and when things do go wrong, he tends to scream and bellow a lot!
The films pace slows to crawl during the middle-ish section, and you find yourself waiting for the next gruesome death. The film is also known as “Horrible” and I suppose, for its time it more than lives up to that name. Some of the deaths are truly inspiring, like an extended burning scene as he shoves some poor woman’s head in the oven and turns on the heat. The gratuitous scene goes on for about five minutes as her latex face starts to bubble and peel. We see death by an axe to the head as well which is incredibly well shot. The quality of the film is not great, using simple locations, nonexistent actors and quick moments of camera trickery to hide the otherwise crap effects, but Absurd is smothered in that 80’s charm. It is littered with those electronic 80’ssynthasisers to give the same soundtrack that was used in what seems to be all the horrors from this decade, but it is used to great effect. The film itself is ok, it’s no classic but it has plenty of violence and horror moments to keep the keen enthusiast happy. The final showdown boasts some great violence, even if it is a little dragged out in places, and it also produces a miracle, as the bed-ridden girl in a neck brace is suddenly fully fighting fit! The film ends abruptly but satisfyingly. The fact the film was banned did nothing to harm director Joe D’Amato’s career, as we went on to direct and produce quite literally hundreds of horrors, violent films and porn movies under many different names. The guys list of credited and uncredited films is massive. He also produced Michelle Soavi’s quite brilliant Stage Fright.
So, does this movie deserve to still be banned? No, not by today’s standards.
Did it deserve to be added to the Video Nasties list all those years ago? Oh yes, most certainly, there is no reason or explanation for the killings, no back story, no nothing, simply killing for killings sake. Nice!