Absurd (AKA: Horrible / Anthropophagus 2 / Rosso Sangue (original title) – Joe D’Amato 1981)
The savage character of Nikos Karamanlis first ‘graced’ our screens in Joe D’Amato’s ‘Antropophagus: The Beast’ in 1980. Never one to pass up the opportunity of making a quick dollar or two (like any sensible person), he set to work almost immediately on the sequel which would become most commonly known as ‘Absurd’. It is not essential to have seen the original ‘Antropophagus’ to dive straight into ‘Absurd’, but it may help to make the film slightly more understandable.
Nikos is a superhuman character who is practically impossible to injure, maim or kill. In the opening scene we see him fleeing from an unknown pursuer. As he scales the fence of of a property belonging to a well to do family, he is brutally disembowelled and rushed to hospital where he is presumed dead. His subsequent, almost inexplicable recovery confounds all present and he is placed under close supervision.
The police interview the family and reassure them that all will be well. Seeming reasonably satisfied, they return to their home, and resume caring for their injured daughter, who is currently bedridden and immobilized.
The presence of a mysterious European stranger arouses the suspicion of the authorities and his appearance at the hospital greatly upsets Nikos, who reacts by breaking a lot of things and ramming a drill through the temple of a nurse.
All of the aforementioned actions are accompanied by the most delightful array of spiralling synth based compositions which serve to solidify the fact that we have ventured into Italian horror territory. The music in this case was created by Carlo Maria Cordio, yet is reminiscent of Fabio Frizzi or Claudio Simonetti at their finest, and it certainly serves as one of the movie’s strongest points.
The stranger reveals a deadly secret and elaborates on the imperative nature of Nikos’ capture and destruction. The parents from the house where Nikos was eviscerated have left their children at home with the most ridiculously dubbed (with an atrocious Irish accent) babysitter ever committed to celluloid.
George Eastman (Nikos) is also known for his appearances in ‘Bronx Warriors’ (1982) (in which he co-starred with the ever loveable Fred Williamson) and later Giallo offering, ‘Stage Fright’ (1987). He is a domineering, lumbering presence, and therefore perfect for this role as a maniacally deranged killer. There is an inexplicable nature to it all which is confounding and enjoyable in equal measure. Many questions are raised without being answered, which can be infuriating in some features, but with many horror, and particularly that of the late ’70s and early ’80s, it becomes par for the course.
The movie also stars Annie Belle from ‘House on the Edge of the Park’ (Ruggero Deodato) who delivers a very strong female performance, proving that not all women in horror movies have been ready to scream, curl up and accept their fates.
‘Absurd’ possesses a range of incredibly alluring qualities and serves as a fantastic entry point to the varied and colourful filmography of D’Amato (one which includes titles such as Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980), Papaya, Love Goddess of the Cannibals (1978) and Porno Holocaust (1981)). Its inclusion on the DPP list clearly stems from the graphic, visceral scenes of gore, and the fact that children were put in (simulated) perilous situations. It has a fantastic soundtrack and a few brilliant scenes of violence which could stand up against the Lucio Fulci classics of the era. A flawed, yet far from dreadful experience.
NB: Absurd was released with a complete running time of 1:33:56: Original title: Rosso Sangue; AKA Horrible; The Monster Hunter; Anthropophagus 2 — released with 2m 32s cut in 1983, but was withdrawn post VRA, and has never been re-submitted for classification. Has a release in the United States uncut under the title ‘Horrible’.
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