Verotika (2019)

Let me set the stage.

Sixteen-year-old Sam could not be a bigger fan of Glenn Danzig. I combed my hair in a devilock, despite it being nearly a decade since The Misfits broke up in 1983. I devoured everything Plan 9 released, still love Samhain to this day and listened to the self-titled Danzig album so many times that there was no printed copy on either side of the cassette.

Right around Danzig 4, though, I kind of stopped enjoying his output. By Danzig 5 – blackacidevil — and its flirtations with industrial, the departure of the band’s classic line-up and leaving Rick Rubin’s American Records, I was pretty much done with Glenn’s musical output. Sure, I’d check out his comics and listen to every new release, but there wasn’t much for me to enjoy any longer.

No harm. No foul. People grow up, bands change. But man — I still go back to everything before 1996 and cut Glenn Allen Anzalone a wide berth, even when he defends Trump’s policies or people send around memes of him. Because I remember when I was a kid — like Ragman in Trick or Treat — and Glenn and horror movies provided me with an escape from my small-minded hometown.

That said, after hearing about this movie, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. As you may know, I do so adore auteur projects, movies with rock stars and when things go off the rails. This film promised — and delivered — on all three.

At Chicago’s Cinepocalypse last year, Danzig claimed that he was inspired by Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and that the movie was his vision alone. No Hollywood suits had gotten in the way of pure, high octane Danzig here.

The funny thing is, on his way to making a Bava film, Glenn ended up making a late period straight to video Jess Franco movie instead.

I leave it up to you and your sense of taste as to whether or not that’s a good or bad thing.

In the first story, The Albino Spider of Dajette, an albino man spider — he got that way when a hooker with eyeballs for nipples named Dajette cried on him — talks dirty to several more prostitutes and then he snaps their necks. That’s it, that’s the tweet as they say. Dajette is played by Ashley Wisdom, who may be better known as adult film star Rachele Richey, who has worked with Rocco Siffredi, speaking of people I have idolized since my teen years.

Scotch Hopkins, who plays the spider-man named, well, The Albino Spider, spent eight hours a day getting into this makeup. Also: everyone in this scene seems to have a French accent.

Yes, for those of you wondering even more, is that Veronica Ricci from Bright Business Girls Learn Hard Bondage Lessons? Yes. It is.

The second story is called Change of Face and it’s all about a mysterious woman who strips several times and then cuts off women’s faces and sticks them to the wall. Does she want your skull? Does she need your skull? Who can say.

Beyond the starring Rachel Alig, this segment features a cameo by pro wrestler Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, along with London May (drummer and bassist from Samhain), adult stars Bobbi Dylan, Felicity Feline, Aaliyah Hadid and Katrina Jade, as well as reality star Courtney Stodden.

I don’t tell you that there are adult film stars in this to shame them or you for enjoying this. No, I’m telling you so that you understand Danzig’s id and the fact that there are three strip club scenes just within this one segment.

Finally, Drukija Contessa of Blood has Alice Haig as, you guessed it, Drukija, who is a contessa who finds young virgins, feeds them to her wolves and eats the rest when she isn’t covering herself in their blood and spending time staring at herself in the mirror.

Amongst the virgins are — yes, adult star — Emma Hix and Caroline Williams — Stretch! — plays a peasant woman.

Doesn’t this sound like Elizabeth Bathory? Yes. Of course it does. It’s as if the box art from a Redemption film was the actual movie. Which is, I guess, exactly what it is.

If you read these accountings and say, well, surely some moments of surprise or pathos happened, no. They don’t. Much like, well, gonzo pornography, each scene exists to give you what you want: blood, beasts and babes. Is it any accident that Kayden Kross is hosting the whole film as Morella, a woman who starts the movie by stabbing out a naked woman’s eyes?

The thing is, there’s promise. Danzig obviously knows who Fulci and Bava are, can recognize a great camera angle and gives horror viewers pretty much what they want, without any of the art or good taste or cutting away from scenes when they end like a normal director would.

Was I entertained? Holy shitballs, yes I was entertained. It was like a Tim Vigil comic come to life and I felt just as weird when he asked me at a convention if I was too big of a pussy to hang a Faust spread of a deadly orgy on my teenage bedroom walls.

Obviously, Glenn doesn’t care what you or I think about this movie. Which is really how it should be. It’s better than the majority of direct to streaming stuff you’ll watch, it’s definitely a singular vision and well, it made me forget the troubles of the world. Isn’t that what movies should do?

You can order this movie directly from the Bandcamp page or get it from MVD. It’s also available on demand from most streaming services.

Thanks to MVD for sending us this movie. Obviously, their generosity had nothing to do with this review.

UPDATE: This is now available on Shudder and you should 100% watch it.

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