Earlier this year as part of our ‘The Nasties’ series, we checked out Joe D’Amato 1980’s low-grade, Italian horror movie Antropophagus. It delivered a solid cast, decently paced story, and classy finale. Resulting in easily one of the video nasty highlights.
Why mention Antropophagus? Well, D’Amato and star of it, George Eastman, would reunite for the 1981 horror movie Absurd. Also known as Anthropophagus 2, Zombie 6: Monster Hunter, Horrible and The Grim Reaper 2.
According to Eastman, D’Amato wanted Absurd to be an actual sequel to Antropophagus but he was opposed. They agreed for Eastman to just act in the movie but after he read the script and found it to be terrible, Eastman decided to write it himself. Taking his cues from American horror slashers, in particular Halloween. Something that becomes more and more obvious as it goes on.
Eastman stars as Mikos Tanoupoulos and we’re introduced to him running from an older man. There’s no explanation at this stage but the chase ends with Mikos being impaled on the spikes of a fence. He staggers into a nearby house with his guts in his hands where the Bennett family live.
The family is made up of Carol Bennett (Hanja Kochansky), Ian Bennett (Ian Danby and their two children, Willy (Kasimir Berger) and Katya (Katya Berger). The latter is bedridden while a deviation in her spine is corrected.
So Mikos staggers in during a family breakfast, collapses and is taken to hospital where doctors attempt to save his life. Meanwhile, Sergeant Ben Engleman (Charles Borromel) attempts to find out just what happened and ends up meeting the man who was chasing Mikos at the start.
Engleman discovers that both had only entered the country recently from a Greek Island so pulls in mysterious man. It’s here that he reveals he is a priest (Edmund Purdom) and he is trying to stop Mikos.
It turns out that Mikos is part of a church-sanctioned scientific experiment which gave him incredible healing powers. The downside? It drove him insane and he will kill anyone that he comes across now. In the hospital, Mikos makes a miraculous recovery and slaughters his way out.
The killer is on the loose, so Engleman and the priest team up to try and stop him. Unfortunately for the Bennett family, it’s their home that lies in the path of Mikos. Will the babysitter Emily (Annie Belle) be able to save the children from the Boogeyman?
The video nasty tag isn’t as deserved for this spiritual successor as it was with Antropophagus. There’s nothing truly shocking here and it’s amazing that elements like drills entering bodies would offend so much in the 80s when later, in the mid-2000s, it would be par for the course with the likes of Hostel. The times sure have changed, and time has made Absurd far tamer then you might expect.
That being said, it is a solid horror flick that perhaps borrows too much from Halloween to be taken seriously. From the moment Mikos breaks out of the hospital to the end, it all starts to feel familiar albeit with far less tension. Instead, Absurd just gets slow and dragged out. Here is a film that needed 15 minutes or so shaved off it to keep things snappy.
Where it does excel, is with its character-based stuff. The likes of Katya, bed-ridden and forced to fight back against a seemingly indestructible killer. The angle of Ian Bennett unable to quite process a hit & run he was involved in, coincidentally it was Mikos he hit. The team of Engleman and the priest searching for the hulking beast, played well by Eastman. It’s all very watchable stuff.
The Final Score - 6.5/10