Friday, December 22, 2017

#2,482. The Burning Moon (1992)

Directed By: Olaf Ittenbach

Starring: Beate Neumeyer, Bernd Muggenthaler, Ellen Fischer

Tag line: "Uncut. Uncensored. Unconscionable"

Trivia: Olaf Ittenbach did all the stunts in this film because he didn't have enough money in the low budget to pay a professional stuntman

According to several sources, the gore scenes in the 1992 German-produced horror anthology The Burning Moon are so intense that the movie’s uncut version is still banned in its native country. Naturally, this tidbit of information piqued my interest, and while I will agree that the film’s director, Olaf Ittenbach (who also handled the effects), does manage to conjure up some impressive carnage, the movie itself was a slog to get through. 

While babysitting his younger sister, drug addict and all-around asshole Peter decides it would be a good idea to tell the poor girl a couple of horror-laced bedtime stories. 

The first, titled “Julia’s Love”, is the tale of a teenager (Beate Neumeyer) who unwittingly goes on a date with a psychopathic killer (Bernd Muggenthaler). Needless to say, the evening doesn’t end well. 

The second story, “The Purity”, is set in the past and follows the exploits of Father Raff (Rudolf Höß), a Catholic priest who, when he’s not busy saying mass or hearing confession, is raping and killing his female parishioners. Unfortunately, Justuz (Andre Stryl), the village outcast, is blamed for these horrific acts, and is tormented on a daily basis by angry fathers and boyfriends. Father Raff does what he can to protect Justuz from the mob, but with each new killing the villagers grow more restless. Their frustration eventually boils over, resulting in a turn of events that no one could have predicted. 

A low budget horror film shot on video, The Burning Moon did manage to make me squirm a few times with its gore effects; Julia’s Love has severed limbs as well as an extended murder scene (set in a bathroom) that is tough to sit through. It’s in The Purity, however, that The Burning Moon truly distinguishes itself, thanks to some very grisly killings and a finale that features a trip into hell, where all sorts of terrible goings-on occur (teeth drilled; heads lopped off; and, most effective of all, one of the damned is torn up the middle when his legs are pulled apart). From a gore standpoint, the hell sequence is awesome, and those who love their horror bloody will have a blast watching it. 

The problem is the film's pacing; The Burning Moon contains far too many unnecessary scenes, thrown in to pad its running time. The opening, for example, has more than its share of pointless moments; we tag along with Peter to a job interview (which he intentionally messes up) and later on there’s a nighttime fracas during which he and his pals face off against a rival gang. So when it’s eventually revealed that Peter is nothing more than the storyteller, guiding us from one tale to the next, we can’t help but wonder what the point was of these early scenes (we knew the second we met him that Peter was a jerk. Why beat us over the head with it?). 

Even the two main segments have their downtimes, not to mention cutaways that are so random they’re almost laughable (a dog running through a field, a cross hanging on a wall, etc). Because it slows down so often, The Burning Moon can’t maintain the tension that its more violent moments generate. There were even times when I was a little bored by it all. 

With so few movies left in this challenge of mine, I actually considered switching The Burning Moon off at the halfway point and selecting another title to watch. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because the finale in hell was pretty darn creative, and almost made up for some of the film’s weaknesses. 

So my advice to you is this: fast-forward to the hell sequence and skip the rest of The Burning Moon. Trust me, you won’t be missing much.

1 comment:

brad allen said...

18 more? Only 18 more? I hope not. I've seen a lot of great movies because of this blog.