Absurd – original title: Rosso Sangue [“Red Blood”] – is a 1981 Italian horror feature film directed by Aristide Massaccesi [as Joe D’Amato] and written by Luigi Montefiori [as George Eastman]. The movie also stars Eastman, alongside Annie Belle and Edmund Purdom.
On its release some critics accused the film of being nothing more than an Italian version of Halloween. There are some similarities between the two films – references to a ‘Bogeyman’ and a babysitter and her changes in peril from a silent and seemingly indestructible killer. Director D’Amato also attempted to make the film more attractive to the American market by setting it in the States, even though it was clearly shot in Italy.
Mikos Stenopolis (George Eastman) is a man who was experimented on in a church-sanctioned scientific experiment that gave him a healing factor, but inadvertently drove him insane. The Vatican priest (Edmund Purdom) who helped create him pursues the homicidal Mikos to a small American town, attempting to kill him by impaling him on a set of railings which disembowel him, but he is revived later in a local hospital. The madman escapes after brutally murdering a nurse, and goes on a killing spree. The priest informs the hospital and authorities that the only way to kill Mikos is to ‘destroy the cerebral mass’.
While attacking a motorcyclist after escaping from the hospital, Mikos is struck by a hit-and-run driver. The driver of the car, Mr. Bennett, and his wife are going to a friend’s house to watch a football game, leaving their two children at home with a babysitter. Their daughter Katia is confined to her bed because of a problem with her spine, while her younger brother believes that the ‘Bogeyman’ is coming to get him…
Absurd was one of the infamous British so-called ‘video nasties‘ and became one of 39 titles to be successfully prosecuted in 1984 under the Obscene Publications Act. It was originally released in both a cut and uncut version with identical sleeve designs by Medusa Home Video in 1981.
To add to its questionable fame, the film inspired the name for German black metal act Absurd, whose members later switched their interest from gore films to right wing politics and committed murder in 1993.
Absurd is in many ways a ‘non-sequel’ to Anthropophagus the Beast, as the only real connections between the two films – besides director Joe D’Amato – is the presence of a homicidal man (played by George Eastman in effectively the same role as the one he played in the first film) who is disembowelled in both films, and who comes from a Greek island.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“This one won’t win over the D’Amato doubtful but the converts who already appreciate the languid pacing, thick atmosphere and irreverent gore of his earlier Antropophagus will definitely appreciate this follow up film, firmly rooted in similar territory even if it isn’t a direct sequel per se.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk
“The best part of this film is watching George Eastman go bonkers. All of the kill scenes are entertaining and on par with other kill scenes from similar Italian horror films from this era. Some of the deaths include a drill bit through the temple, a meat cutting saw to the head and a woman being forced into a blazing hot oven…” Michael Den Boer, 10k Bullets
Cast and characters:
- George Eastman … Mikos Stenopolis
- Annie Belle … Emily – The House on the Edge of the Park
- Charles Borromel … Sergeant Ben Engleman
- Katya Berger … Katia Bennett
- Kasimir Berger … Willy Bennett
- Hanja Kochansky … Carol Bennett
- Ian Danby … Ian Bennett
- Ted Rusoff … Doctor Kramer
- Edmund Purdom … Father
- Cindy Leadbetter … Peggy
- Lucia Ramirez … Angela
- Mark Shannon … Man on TV
- Michele Soavi … Biker [uncredited] – Demons; future director of Dellamore Dellamorte; The Sect; The Church; StageFright
- Martin Sorrentino … Deputy
- Goffredo Unger … Machine Shop Owner
- James Sampson … Black cop [uncredited]
Also released as:
- Anthropophagus 2
- The Grim Reaper 2
- Monster Hunter
On September 25, 2018, Severin Films released Absurd on Blu-ray in the USA. Extras include:
- Rosso Sangue: Alternate Italian cut (with optional English subtitles)
- The Return of the Grim Reaper – Interview With Actor / Writer / Co-Producer Luigi Montefiore
- D’Amato on Video: Archive Interview With Director Aristide Massaccesi
- A Biker (Uncredited): Interview With Filmmaker/extra Michele Soavi
- First 2,500 copies: Bonus CD Soundtrack
- Reversible Wrap
An uncut DVD version of the film was released under the French title, Horrible, by Mya Communication on July 28, 2009. Also, an uncut DVD version including a long version of the film was released under the German title, Absurd, via XT-Video on December 15, 2010 but with no English language options.
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