Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Das Komabrutale Duell

Stabbings! Socket wrench limb transplants! Blood geysers! Beheadings! Face ripping! There, have I got your attention? Good. I figured that would do the trick. International horror is an area where I’m kinda hit and miss. Italian horror I’m well versed in. Japanese horror I’m well versed in. Current French horror I know. Filipino horror and Ozploitation, I have a passable knowledge of. Korean horror I know fairly well. One area that I have only really discovered in the past few of years and I’m doing my best to delve further into is German splatter flicks. I mean, of course I’ve seen and adore all of Jorg Buttgereit’s films like any other self respecting horror freak. I’ve seen Andreas Schnass’s Violent Shit series, and I’ve seen a couple of Olaf Ittenback movies, though strangely I have yet to see his best known film The Burning Moon. I need to go deeper though, and catch up with the likes Marc Rohnstock, Timo Rose, and Andreas Bethmann. While reading up on German underground splatter, I had heard of a German flick called Das Kommabrutale Duell from 1999, even hearing some call it the goriest flick they’d ever seen. So when Stephen Biro at Unearthed Films gave me the opportunity to review Das Kommabrutale Duell, which I will abbreviate as DKD from here on, I was all over it. Let me tell you guys, this flick is a hell of a lot of fun. Oh, one last German horror note. I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to track down Marian Dora's movie Cannibal. It’s out of print and it’s going for a damn fortune on ebay, so if any of you happen to have a copy and wanna hook your old buddy SOC up, I’d be eternally grateful. Yeah, I just put a personal wish list request in a movie review. It’s my blog, and I can do that kinda stuff. Get over it.

Bludgeonings! Shootings! Power drill torture! Fight Scenes! DKD tells the story of a brutal feud between the Eightlets Mafia and the Bandera family. Stephen, a member of the Banderas, has recently gotten out of the hospital after spending years in a coma after an Eightlats attack. Back on the streets he finds that the war is still raging, and that his rivals have murdered his pregnant girlfriend. The Bandera family has an advantage, however. They’re immortal. No matter what you do to them, they just keep on coming. That’s about it. The story is paper thin, but that’s not the point here. That pesky story business is just there to give director/writer/producer Heiko Fipper an excuse to give us 85 minutes of pure nonstop violence. As Joe Bob would say, there’s no plot getting in the way of the story. With this flick, that’s a good thing.

Electrocution! Bondage! Dismemberment! A severed head in a toilet! The acting is fine in this flick. In a serious drama, it probably wouldn’t fly, but it’s more than good enough for this. I especially liked the manic performance Mike Hoffman as Mike Eisentemplar. The scene where he growls the immortal line “Stop babbling like an idiot and tear my fucking head off!” was actually the turning point where I went from “this is pretty cool” to “I love this flick.” There are some other choice lines in this like “Your ribcage is hanging open. I’ll staple it shut in the basement” and “You’ve gotta staple my junk!” Yeah, if this film is to be believed, that stapler can fix damn near anything! The direction is interesting. Sometimes it’s shaky, but that seems more like a side effect of the handheld camera than an intentional gimmick. The frequent freeze frames and slow motion kinda left me puzzled. The editing employs old school iris shot transitions and Warriors style wipe cuts, which I love. There are also some really cool camera angles employed throughout. The fight scenes could have been shot better, in that they could have hidden the AWFUL punches that missed by a mile a little better, but other than that, Fipper proves himself competent and exhibits some dramatic and impressive visual flares.

Swordplay! Table saw skull splitting! Hot glue gun brain surgery! Eye gouging! Everything I’ve talked about so far, the plot, the acting, the directing, the dialog…you know, the things you usually read about in a movie review? Well, they might as well not have been mentioned at all, because they’re all there just as a means to deliver what this flick is really about; the carnage. This one goes way above and beyond in that department. I don’t know if you could tell by the review so far, but DKD is pretty much wall-to-wall gore. I would estimate that there are 3-4 minutes in the entire film where some sort of violence isn’t taking place. Most of the gore looks decent, some of it looks great, and the blood looks awful. Well, not all of the blood, but most of the time what’s spurting out of those Hong Kong-esque arterial sprays looks more like an unholy dollar store tomato soup/coffee/diarrhea concoction than blood. You can’t help but laugh at it, but that’s the point here. This isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. It’s just wholesale slaughter just for the sake of the bloodshed. It’s a celebration of annihilation. I believe that they may have actually used more “blood” than Dead Alive. It’s brutal at times, and it gets pretty slapstick during other scenes. Joe and I nicknamed the fight scenes “Three Stooges Deathmatch.” That’s not to say that this is a horror comedy per se. It’s played straight, and the laughs come from the sheer over-the-topness factor of the splatter. Gorehounds, this one will most definitely be up your alley as much as it was up mine. If the thought of someone getting their brains blown out, their friend tearing off another friend’s head, splitting his brain in two, hot gluing half into each of their heads, and then they both get up and keep going makes you crack up, then this is the flick for you. If not, well, I’m not sure we can be friends any more.

Crotch stapling! Chainsaws! Zombies! Crucifixion! Das Komabrutale Duell is advertised as a “party splatter movie,” and I think that’s a perfect description. This is the kind of flick that is designed for you and your buddies to sit around with your mind-altering substance of choice and alternate between laughing hysterically and saying “Holy shit, did you see that?” It’s banned in Germany. I don’t know about you, but when a film gets banned, I know it’s something I wanna see. I believe Unearthed Films’s release is the only region 1 DVD release ever, so head to their site HERE and get yourself a copy. They don’t come any crazier, they don’t come any bloodier, and they don’t come any more fun. Two severed thumbs up. Nathan says check it out.


Gore Syrup said...

Sounds like fun, I gotta check this one out!

Maynard Morrissey said...

Saw this one a long time ago but I remember that I couldn't decide if I should like or hate it. Yes, there's lots of absolutel wonderful gore, but sadly the effects all look way too amateurish and the whole movie is just horribly boring.

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