Absurd is a 1981 Italian horror 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 (House on the Edge of the Park), Charles Borromel, Katja Berger and Edmund Purdom (Don’t Open Till Christmas; Pieces; Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks).
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. With his intestines spilling out it seems he may be dead.
However, Stenopolis later revives 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, 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 ‘boogeyman’ 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. It was originally released in both a cut and an uncut version with identical sleeve designs by Medusa Home Video in 1981.
“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.” 10k Bullets
“Your enjoyment of this film will be colored by how much you like gore, how much you understand that Italian movies are often very hard to understand and how much you’re willing to forgive a film. Personally, I loved it. The oven kill scene is really uncomfortable to watch and the gore is incredibly effective.” B & S About Movies
“The film is slow in spots and borrows a ton of ideas from other, more popular slashers (like the aforementioned Halloween), but is a surprisingly entertaining exploitation-horror film nonetheless and delivers what fans of these types of films want to see (aside from the curious absence of nudity). Eastman (sans make-up this time) has more screen time than he did in the original and gives an effective, creepy performance.” The Bloody Pit of Horror
“There’s nothing remotely scary or creepy here, but D’Amato does manage to eke out some suspense as Mikos stalks his victims. Of course, being a D’Amato movie, there’s some violence against women here. The gore isn’t necessarily unsettling, but the treatment of women is.” DVD Sleuth
“The problem with the second half is that I don’t think it really manages to ratchet up the suspense as well as it could, as the contrivances become rather blatant as the movie progresses, and the denouement is rather unbelievable. However, gorehounds will probably be quite satisfied, as the movie is very bloody. To me, this was a mixed bag.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“Lest I dwell on needlessly comparing it to Anthropophagus, I will say that Rosso Sangue is decent on its own as a standard slasher film. Plus, the score is decent enough and there are some good, interesting shots to bring a modicum of atmosphere and suspense to the proceedings. It’s by no means a Eurotrash classic, but even its predecessor can’t boast that.” Oh, the Horror!
” …there’s precious little character development on exhibit here and D’Amato dearth of know-how with regards to staging set-pieces effectively also but, shortcomings aside, Absurd is a movie which is hard not to love just a little. Cordio’s frenetic composition is suitably pulsating and Eastman, for his lack of range, is like a one-man wrecking ball with a beard once he comes to from that anaesthetic.” Rivers of Grue
“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.” Rock! Shock! Pop!
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“Yes, the story is lame and inconsequential. Yes, the cast is uniformly nondescript (even Michel Soavi, who turns up in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo as an ill-fated biker). Yes, you’ll be scratching your head by the end wondering what the point of it all was and whether maybe the sole source of inspiration for this film was the finale’s riff on Halloween. Who cares? The editing is brisk, the direction is assured, the studio lighting is stylish and colourful in a cut-rate Argento style and the body count builds formidable.” Sex Gore Mutants
” …Absurd is full of gratuitous violence all the same: the first two kills are the most splatterific, and things DO get tense towards the end as Katya – as we suspected – finds that inner strength to hobble around and takes on the maniac with a compass of all things and a game of hide and seek ensues.” Vegan Voorhees
“Monster Hunter is a solid slasher movie. The main deterrents are some lapses in pacing and an extremely annoying kid. Other than that, I liked it just fine. In fact, I think I dug this flick more than The Grim Reaper.” The Video Vacuum
“If you like your murder blunt and meaningless, then you’ll probably get a kick out of D’Amato’s nihilistic slasher. If, however, you like your horror tense or ironic with relatable characters and genuine scares, you may want to look elsewhere. In 1981, morbid curiosity would have made Absurd a must-see. Almost forty years later, it has proven anything but.” VHS Revival
Doctor Kramer: “It’s absurd! Completely absurd. Recuperative powers like that simply don’t exist.”
Father: “There is nothing human left of him…he is a creature of evil. The spark of God was smothered the moment the devil took possession of him.”
On September 25, 2018, Severin Films released Absurd on Blu-ray in the USA. Order via Amazon.com
Rosso Sangue: Alternate Italian cut (with optional English subtitles)
The Return of the Grim Reaper – Interview With Actor / Writer / Co-Producer Luigi Montefiori
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
Cast and characters:
George Eastman … Mikos Stenopolis
Annie Belle … Emily
Charles Borromel … Sergeant Ben Engleman
Katya Berger … Katia Bennett
Kasimir Berger … Willy Bennett
Hanja Kochansky … Mrs Bennett
Ian Danby … Mr Bennett
Ted Rusoff … Doctor Kramer
Edmund Purdom … Father
Cindy Leadbetter … Peggy (uncredited)
Lucia Ramirez … Woman on TV (archive footage) (uncredited)
James Sampson … Cop at the station (uncredited)
Mark Shannon … Man on TV (archive footage) (uncredited)
Michele Soavi … Biker (uncredited)
Martin Sorrentino … Deputy (uncredited)
Goffredo Unger … Machine Shop Worker (uncredited)
Original Italian title:
Rosso Sangue [“Red Blood”].
Also released as:
The Grim Reaper 2