Julia, a teacher in a school for the deaf, has a hideosly disformed and deranged twin sister that resides in the local looney bin. She escapes to gate-crash a surprise birthday party for ... See full summary »
Ovidio G. Assonitis
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A young man, Marco, working as a butcher, accidentally kills a taxi driver. His girlfriend Paula wants to go to the police so he has to kill her too. He then has to kill his brother, his ... See full summary »
A group of three criminals on the run from the law, go about terrorizing the local townsfolk of a small community, before descending on an isolated farm which is home to a young girl named Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather. After being sexually assaulted by two of the gangsters, she retaliates using an axe and a razor blade. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
It's quite often difficult to ascertain the reasons that many of the films on the video nasties list are there. We all just assume that they are there due to graphic violence, and explicit gore. We also largely assume that they are mostly, intrinsically rubbish. Whilst I have not seen all of the films on the list, the handful that I have, are varying in quality. It's always a surprise when the film is interesting, or has some kind of purpose, or layering of meaning. Axe, or the more ethereal original title, Lisa, Lisa, is one of the ones that at once, looks cheaply made (some sequences had the strange mise-en-scene of a H G Lewis movie), but also has an idea - simplistic but well thought-out - that gives the film a subtle gravitas.
The first part of the film follows three criminals, Steele (Jack Canon), Lomax (Ray Green), and the moral voice to the violence, Billy (played by the writer/director Frederick R. Friedel). On the journey with these characters, we are introduced to their brand of criminal activity. In a convenience store, Steele and Lomax mock and taunt the female clerk, throwing fruit at her, then forcing her to take off her blouse, humiliating her before going further. This shows overtly the misogynistic attitude of the main two. Billy, as throughout the film, is the person against the murdering, and acts as the moral arbiter to the horrific acts.
After this the trio drive up to a large house that is occupied by Lisa (Leslie Lee), who looks after her completely paralysed grandfather. Lisa is a strange, seemingly internal character, who is forced to take the criminals in for the night, and feed them etc. After one Lomax attempts to rape her, she takes it upon herself to kill him, then proceeds to act this out to the rest of the criminals.
There are some very effective scenes, and some that are genuinely disturbing. The first killing of Lomax, Lisa takes a razor blade to the back of his neck. After he has clearly lost consciousness, she continues to saw at the neck. It's making me wince writing about it. So there are some very effective kills, and this is partly where I see the reason for it's contentiousness for the DPP. But I think fundamentally the reasons for the banning was more to do with the contempt for women. This is something that even the BBFC has many issues with.
In conclusion, the film is disturbing at times, and it's moral fibre a little on the side of misogyny. However, the film is quite interesting, and certainly has more going for it in narrative terms than much of the video nasties on offer.
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