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.
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 one too many encounters with The Spiders (a rival gang), The Ravens' leader's girlfriend tells him to quit the gang or it's Splitsville. He does so, but the leader of The Spiders is ... See full summary »
Years after being traumatized by witnessing the drowning deaths of her beloved father and stepmother as a child, a wealthy young woman is released from a sanitarium and returns to the ... See full synopsis »
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
Due to the use of pseudonyms by everyone involved and the low quality of cameras and film stock, rumors spread in New York's 42nd Street Grindhouse subculture that the film either actually depicted real murders, or that the film was the product of the Mexican mafia (owing to Roger Watkins pseudonym, "Janos", a municipality in the Mexican state of Chihuahua). The film's distributor encouraged the rumors, which resulted in the film's gaining notoriety via word of mouth. See more »
At 4.15, the cameraman's shadow is clearly visible on the dead girl's body. See more »
Why this movie is scarier than anything you've ever seen before...
You'll read plenty about the background of this movie, how it was nearly lost, miraculously saved and lovingly restored. You'll read about the trials and travails of Roger Watkins in the making of this film (much of it revealed by the excellent deluxe edition DVD release; nice work, Barrel Films). But what you might not read about is exactly why this film works as well as it does.
The thing is, it really shouldn't work at all. The viewer should be scoffing and snorting from scene one at the appalling acting, the flimsy plot (especially in the first half of the film, where the plot has to hold us), the muddy sound, poor lighting, and so on. This film should be dismissed out of hand and roundly ignored.
Just try it.
If you allow yourself to be carried off into this film, however, you'll find something so utterly engrossing, so roundly terrifying, that you may very well have to tell yourself, "It's only a movie...it's only a movie." In its weird, hell-bent way, the film's inadequacies trap the viewer in the madness on the screen. Unlike a normal slasher film, the viewer doesn't get a chance to step out of the horror to rate the special effects, or even to laugh at the badness of the thing. This movie grips you by the throat and doesn't let go.
I've read comments about this film saying that the first half of this film is the worst horror film you'll ever see and that the second half is the best horror film you'll ever see. That's a very accurate assessment, and it's this aspect of the film which adds to its impact. By the time the real horror starts, the viewer is unprepared for its intensity.
Watch this film in a dark room, all alone. Let this film pour over you and drown you in its madness, and it'll scare the hell out of you more effectively than anything else you've ever seen. This movie is unique. There's nothing else like it, nor will there ever be.
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