JOE D’AMATO WEEK: Absurd (1981)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Man, I love this movie. We wrote about it all the way back around October 30, 2018 and I still watch it at least once a year. Stay tuned — there’s even a drink that goes with this movie.

Originally called Rosso Sangue (Red Blood), this movie is also known as Zombie 6: Monster Hunter, Horrible, The Grim Reaper 2 and Anthropophagus 2. This really has nothing to do with Anthropophagus (well, D’Amoto and Eastman were involved there, too and that movie ends with Eastman’s guts all over the place and this one starts that way), as it’s more of a Halloween ripoff. And I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s actually my third favorite of the sequels.

Mikos Stenopolis (Eastman) starts off being chased by the Vatican priest (Edmund Purdom, of all people) who created him. So let’s get this crazy set-up out of the way: a Greek monster who can’t be killed because his blood coagulates very quickly was created by the Roman Catholic church somewhere and when that maniac escaped, he ended up in some small American town that only cares about the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams, so I’m just going to assume that they’re in New Castle or Zelienople.

The chase leads to a fence where Mikos is impaled. He makes his way to the front door of the Bennett house, holding his bloody guts as he passes out. He’s revived in a local hospital — shades of Haddonfield Memorial — and escapes after murdering a nurse with a drill. This being an Italian film, that entire murder appears in great detail.

The priest — let’s call him Father Loomis, cousin of the other Father Loomis in Prince of Darkness — informs the authorities that there’s only one way to kill Mikos: destroy his cerebral mass.

Synchronicity rears its head when Mr. Bennett, in a hurry to get home and watch Terry Bradshaw thread the needle to Lynn Swann, hits Mikos with his car. He just keeps going. When he gets home, he’s brusque with his wife and kids. Seems that his daughter, Katia, has a spinal condition and must stay in traction. All she wants to do is use a compass to continually draw the same drawing over and over again, while her brother Willy is obsessed that the Boogeyman is coming to kill him. Guess what, Willy? You’re right.

Mikos spends the rest of the movie randomly killing anyone who gets in his way, like a young Michele Soavi playing a biker and a butcher who gets the top of his head sawed off. He finally makes his way to the house. Peggy is on her way to watch the kids when she gets a pickaxe to the head. And the other woman who was watching them? Well, she gets her head forced into a lit oven that bakes the flesh off of her face in an extended sequence before being stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors.

Willy goes all Tommy Doyle and runs to get help while Katia finally frees herself from her bed. She stabs him in the eyes with her compass and leads the killer on a chase throughout the house, using loud music to distract him. The priest arrives and struggles with Mikos, just in time for Katia to chop off the killer’s head with a ceremonial axe.

The police arrive late, but Katia assures her little brother that everything will be fine as the camera reveals that she is holding Mikos’ bloody head.

Absurd inspired the German black metal band who took their name, who eventually went from watching gore films to killing people for real as their music went further and further into far right extremism.

Your enjoyment of this film will be colored by how much you like gore, how much you understand that Italian movies are often very hard to understand and how much you’re willing to forgive a film. Personally, I loved it. The oven kill scene is really uncomfortable to watch and the gore is incredibly effective.

Severin Films re-released this film with all of their trademark quality and insanity. It’s the first uncut release of the film in the U.S. and features an interview with Eastman and Soavi, as well as a bonus soundtrack CD. They’ve also rereleased Anthropophagus. I love that Severin gives films as disreputable as these all the care and concern that Criterion would to a movie from a director much more esteemed and talented (but so much more boring).

BONUS! Here’s a recipe to drink while you watch this movie on Tubi.

Mikos the Axe Murderer (based on this recipe)

  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. white rum
  • 1 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1 oz. tequila (I use Espolon)
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • A splash of 7-Up or Sprite or the generic brand of your fancy
  • 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • As much pineapple juice as you want
  1. Throw it in a glass with lots of ice. Get a straw and chop your head off.

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