Sardu, master of the Theatre of the Macabre, and his assistant Ralphus run a show in which, under the guise of 'magic', they torture and murder people in front of their audience. But what the punters see as a trick is actually real.
An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill.
Grief-struck after the death of his wife, a young man attempts to keep her with him forever - by gutting her, stuffing her and replacing her eyes with glass eyes, turning her into a doll. But his bouts of insanity are just beginning.
In 1700s Austria, a witch-hunter's apprentice has doubts about the righteousness of witch-hunting when he witnesses the brutality, the injustice, the falsehood, the torture and the arbitrary killing that go with the job.
After serving 1 year in jail a guy decides to repay the society by making some snuff-films. Four people are captured, tied up and held as material for his project. One by one they are killed in scenes for the camera. A woman has her limbs sawn of while he keep her concious. Another victim is killed by a power drill. Written by
The film was made in 1972 and was initially unreleased until 1977 because one of its actresses sued over the use of hardcore loops Watkins shot of her. Watkins did not even know the film ever made its way to the big screen until late 1979, when someone on the street recognized him as "the guy from that movie that was throwing animal guts around". See more »
At 4.15, the cameraman's shadow is clearly visible on the dead girl's body. See more »
It is doubtful that any movie could live up to the hype surrounding this movie, but in spite of the reputation that precedes it, it still manages to jar the viewer with it's no-holds-barred approach and the atmosphere of vindictiveness that pervades it.
Director Roger Watkins, a film student at the time, set out to make this movie as "Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell" in 1972, after which the film was all but lost until it was edited and released under it's present title in 1977. Apparently Watkins' original cut of the film was around three hours long, so thank your lucky stars it's this version that is available to viewers today. Even at 77 minutes, it's a little long as the story is undeniably thin and the acting amateurish, although Watkins own portrayal of Terry Hawkins is suitably unhinged.
This film has become legendary due to it's uncertain history and allegations that it was a genuine 'snuff' movie. All of the credits used on this film were pseudonyms; most of the technical duties on this film were handled by Watkins under a variety of different names. It was only in 2001 that Watkins came forward and admitted to making the movie. As for the 'snuff' claims, clearly they were made by people who were unfamiliar with the actual content of the film, as no snuff film in history would come with a background story about a guy getting out of prison, rounding up a cast and crew and finding financial backers to pay for the production of his movie. None of that would be necessary for a snuff film. The conceit of the movie - that the easiest way to make the footage look genuine is to kill people for real - plays like an extremely sick joke.
This has the look of an arty student film, and although the film stock used was fairly poor and some scenes are badly lit, this only enhances the menacing atmosphere of this insidious movie. With a limited budget, Watkins saves the gore for the second half of the film, but when it comes it doesn't disappoint, and a few of these scenes have become legendary. Ultimately though, it's the mean-spirited vibe that stays with you.
So strap yourself in and prepare for one mean mother of a movie that nearly lives up to the hype, and while you're there, try to imagine how someone in his right mind could pad this out to three hours! Any way you look at it, if you are at all interested in gore films, this one is a must-see.
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