The Burning Moon

I was first exposed to German gore god Olaf Ittenbach ten years ago. Jeez, has it been that long already? Time needs to slow the fuck down. Anyway, my first Olaf opus was 1997's Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead. I dug the forcible, bilious violence, but I couldn't wrap my teenaged mind around what I was seeing. I lacked the capacity to truly enjoy no-budget exploitation. Pardon my journalistic staccato (I think I mentioned this in an earlier review), but I disdained SOV entertainment as a wee goon. If it wasn't shot on 35mm, you couldn't have paid me to give it a second look. Thankfully, tastebuds evolve, which brings me to the splatter jubilee in question - 1992's The Burning Moon.

This was only Ittenbach's second spell behind the camera, and technically, it was his first feature-length film. For a bloodhound cutting his teeth, he frames his shots with panache and a perspicacious eye for visuals. Collectively, he sticks to point-and-shoot tenets. That may sound like a negative thing, but it's not. I promise! It just makes it all the more jarring when he does experiment with filters, slow-motion, unconventional angles and other simple, yet effective tricks. The script is divided into two segments. It's basically an anthology. That shouldn't surprise you, unless you're new here. The wrap-around plot involves a drug-addled gang member who returns home from a jocund evening of knife fights to tell bedtime stories to his kid sister.

Obviously, he doesn't reach for Corduroy or The Berenstain Bears. No, he spins a yarn entitled "Julia's Love." A psychopath breaks out of a mental asylum and...kills people. Man, the "story" is so thin, I imagine that it sheepishly excuses itself after a meal and heads for a public restroom clutching a toothbrush for dear life. For what it's worth, this, um, cautionary tale (?) serves as a presentable slasher. We get sufficient bloodshed. Let's face it; a sky-scraping percentage of genre fans will seek out The Burning Moon for its gore effects, and thus far, Ittenbach has not disappointed. But if "Julia's Love" is the tip of the iceberg, wait until you smack into the trunk of this glacial mass Titanic-style.

"The Purity" delivers the goods in spades. We follow a priest as he rapes and murders a few of his congregants. The last ten minutes...goddamn. Even if you aren't particularly engrossed in the first 70 minutes (give or take), the ending will stroke your shaft and wipe the sour cream off of your balls. Too descriptive? I don't care. It's nice to find a horror film that knows how to go out with a bang. In a wise move, Ittenbach saves his most convincing gag for the climax. Fitting, no? Why isn't this approach to pacing commonplace? Would Hellraiser be as memorable if the opening scene was as graphic as Frank's epic death? It's doubtful.

Admittedly, my rating is slightly generous. The Burning Moon could be designated as amateurish trash, and to some extent, it is amateurish trash. You know what? I like amateurish trash. You have to be into SOV madness to gauge the appeal of this alienating sub-subgenre. It has heart, which is more than I can say for whatever remake is currently in pre-production.

No comments:

Post a Comment