Nikos: The Impaler

To the untrained eye, low-budget splatter flicks cater to a scanty, linear audience with abject standards.  I know people who assume that hardcore horror fans will lap up anything with immoderate gore, especially if the film in question was shot under destitute circumstances.  And that's true to a certain degree.  We appreciate do-it-yourself productions because in most cases, there is palpable heart behind the camera.  However, you don't get a free pass on the strength of intentions alone.  Speaking for myself, I still need to be entertained by your sanguinary shocker, and I can only hand out so many plaudits for the attention to detail shown during a scene where a disrobed sultana's bare breasts are forcibly removed.

By the way, I heard that The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure was being advertised as The Tit Ripper in Serbia.  I cannot vouch for the veracity of that claim.  Anywho, 2003's Nikos: The Impaler was directed by German gore kingfish Andreas Schnaas.  Of course, Schnaas is best known as the purveyor of the Violent Shit trilogy.  He will never be accused of misleading prospective viewers.  I've only seen the original, but that was back in my "anti-SOV" days.  I have since developed a taste for handheld horror movies, and I should probably revisit said cult classic.  Nikos was alternately titled Violent Shit 4 in a few countries.  Make no mistake; this execrable tableau has nothing to do with Karl the Butcher (the real VS4 was turned loose in 2010).

The plot is painfully simple.  A rancorous barbarian is killed in the Whateverteenth century.  He vows to rise from the dead, and sure enough, Nikos (that's his name, see) is resurrected in an art gallery.  In present day New York.  You know what that means, don't you?  Schnaas interjects plenty of reaction shots on assiduous city streets, which reminded me of Jason Takes Manhattan.  Yes, that's a good thing.  On the business end of this spiny cutlass, I would rather sit through the eighth installment of the Friday the 13th franchise than relive the finite marvels of Nikos.  There is some fun to be had.  The pace is alert, the blood is bloody and certain moments are too campy to cast aside (dig the shower scene).  But...yeah, I was somewhat let down.

Is it just me or are the special effects subpar?  The carnage looked like crud, even for a Schnaas vehicle.  Hell, Violent Shit boasted more realistic violence, and that's fucking saying something.  Furthermore, all of the characters are bitingly exasperating.  I wanted to disembowel Felissa Rose, and don't get me started on the bootless cameos.  If it weren't for the gore, Nikos: The Impaler wouldn't have much to fall back on.  I don't want to come across as a parochial fussbudget.  Splatter is alright, in my book.  It's better as a side dish.  Here, Schnaas wants it to be the main course, but he lacks the talent to pull it off without a hitch.  Robert Z'Dar says, "My jaw is always mistaken for Karl the Butcher."

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