Absurd (1981)

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After the release of Anthropophagous in 1980, Joe D’Amato and George Eastman collaborated once again a year later to create Absurd (AKA Horrible) (AKA Rosso Sangue (Red Blood)). Absurd is the spiritual sequel to Anthropophagous and both films share many similarities: the films have similar premise of a Greek homicidal killer who goes on a killing rampage, the fact that both feature George Eastman in the role of the homicidal maniac, and the fact that both films were banned under the 1984 Video Recordings Act. However, Absurd is very different to Anthropophagous in a number of ways. In Absurd, George Eastman plays the role of Mikos Stenopolis: a deranged killer who is immune to physical harm, and can only be killed by a blow to the head, as he stalks a small town killing everyone he comes into contact with from a slaughterhouse janitor, to a young man on a broken-down bike. However, what is extremely bizarre about Absurd, is the fact that the story-line of Mikos’ violent rampage is interwoven with the story of a young girl with a deformed spine who lies at home drawing circles. Only in the end do both individual stories collide together, but even then, the stories share no significant connection.

Absurd, in many ways, is a lot more absurd than Anthropophagous. The story makes very little to no sense, and it feels like another excuse for George Eastman to show off his performing talent as a homicidal madman. In Absurd, George Eastman’s Mikos Stenopolis character is more mobile than his previous killer: Klaus Wortmann in Anthropophagous. George Eastman utilizes movement in his performance, as well as exploiting his own physical strength, to create a a very intimidating villain in Mikos Stenopolis that feels completely different to his characterization of Klaus Wortmann. What makes Absurd exciting, is that whenever Mikos Stenopolis appears onscreen, a creative scene of pure brutality shortly follows, a routine that repeats during the entirety of the film and doesn’t outstay its welcome.

The talent of special effects designer Giuseppi Ferranti – who also did the special effects for Anthropophagous – have definitely improved in the year long gap between Anthropophagous and Absurd. The effects of blood and gore used in Absurd don’t look as cheap and nasty as they did in Anthropophagous; Absurd‘s death scenes look more realistic due to the detailed models created by Giuseppi Ferranti. However, the special effects still suffer from a lot of problems. If you look closely, especially on a remastered version of Absurd, there are telling mistakes in almost every scene of close up brutality that distracts from the intended cinematic illusion.

Absurd also suffers from bad acting from nearly every actor involved. Edmund Purdom gives a decent role as the priest attempting to kill Mikos Stenopolis, but the whole film suffers because of the basic performances given by nearly every other actor involved. However, the most egregious performance comes from a forgotten child actor called Kasimir Berger. Kasimir cannot act convincingly, and he is very annoying whenever he’s onscreen. Unfortunately, the child character is a big part of the film, but every scene Kasimir performs in is hard to get through because of how horrific this annoying child is to watch. In all honesty, because of how shallow the story is, Kasimir’s character could have been cut out of the story altogether and nothing would be lost. Instead, Kasimir’s character of Willy Bennett is the greatest the film has.

That being said, the film isn’t all bad. Although it has many flaws, Absurd is reasonably entertaining to watch, perhaps more entertaining than Anthropophagous, but Absurd isn’t a good movie either. Like Anthropophagous, Absurd stands out on it’s own as neither good, bad, nor middle-of-the-road. There’s something that kept my attention all the way through the film, but like Anthropophagous, it’s difficult to explain exactly kept my eyes hooked to the screen: Was it George Eastman’s unhinged performance? Was it the brutal scenes of blood and gore? Or was it something else entirely? Unfortunately, I cannot say for certain.

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