This is a really really bad Italian B-movie which will prove itself to be a treat for bad movie lovers. It's definitely one of the worst Italian movies I've seen, but also one of the most unintentionally funny. Credibility goes out of the window right from the start, when we are introduced to a wooden cast of actors playing teenagers and 20-somethings who couldn't act their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended on it. The usual bunch of B-movie types are present and correct, from the dashing journalist hero, to his love interest, to his kooky friend, and the local gang of rapist thugs. Bet you can't guess who'll survive to the end credits, can you?
Lurking around in his cheap lab (a room made up) is creepy scientist Bo Svenson, who must have been REALLY down on his luck when this was made. Svenson - who sports a really, really bad short ponytail - has been conducting experiments on a monkey (created by Carlo Rombaldi and, briefly, the only real "special" effect in the film) which inevitably escapes to go on a rampage. No matter that the "killer monkey" films had already run their course by this time (after both Romero's MONKEY SHINES and LINK), as the monkey is immediately splattered against a passing car. However, it has bitten one of the journalist's friends, thus begins the real plot of the film.
The bite turns the victim into a subhuman animal unable to suppress his/her primal instincts (as the title might suggest). What this means is that a bad actor/actress goes around with some very cheap but nonetheless gruesome "vein" make up plastered all over their faces. If they last for more than a couple of hours, they also go through the old "oatmeal face" routine. Of course, this wouldn't be a horror film without pulsating wounds either, so we have those in abundance (and slime - it really does go without saying).
The basic course of the film has the bitten victim committing a string of gore murders while the journalist and his girlfriend investigate and try to stop him. Four more people get bitten, and the disease is transferred to them for maximum carnage. It's all very predictable - and moderately entertaining - until the over-the-top finale, set at a Halloween party, where a number of unsuspecting dancers find themselves on the receiving end of some brute force and evil urges. That the good guys win out in the end (accompanied by some cheesy pop music playing in the background) is a foregone conclusion.
Another of the Rombaldi family, Vittorio, directs in a very uninspiring manner, showing little talent for getting the best out of his performers or creating excitement or suspense. Alex Rombaldi also provided the no-budget make ups, so it really was a family get-together for the Rombaldis with this one! The script is very unoriginal and treads through the same old clichés; it's no surprise that Umberto Lenzi decided to use a pseudonym for this particular piece of work.
The murders are done pretty sloppily, and usually cut away from the gore and violence. People are strangled bloodlessly and one guy has the skin ripped off his hand (a trick done simply by pulling a pink glove off a skeleton hand). Lots of death occurs at the finale, when the three infected gang members go on a rampage dressed as the Grim Reaper, complete with flashing red eyes; ironically the Halloween costumes that they wear are the scariest things in the whole movie! There's lots of fun to be had here, as they attack and kill one would-be Dracula, and are in turn spiked, crushed and axed to death. The best death occurs when one character is crushed to death in a scene which resembles the ending of THE TERMINATOR, which conveys maximum pain and brutality without having to resort to any special effects whatsoever (all we see is his mask being crushed)!
Of course, there's also a cheesy twist ending in which infected scientist Svenson comes back for one last attack - and is thrown off a balcony. A dummy is used just as badly as the one in ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST, although sadly the arm doesn't come off this one for entertainment value; however, the hilarious effect has much the same impact. PRIMAL RAGE is without a doubt a really shoddily-made film, but offers hours of endless amusement for easily-pleased bad movie lovers who will have a riot with the poor effects, wooden acting and cheesiness of the film.
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