Main cast: Ashley Wisdom (Dajette), Rachel Alig (The Mystery Girl), Alice Tate (Contessa Drukija), Scotch Hopkins (The Albino Spider), Sean Kanan (Sgt Anders), Natalia Borowsky (Sheska), and Kayden Kross (Morella)
Director: Glenn Danzig
Punk icon Glenn Danzig, whose impressive achievements can be found at his Wikipedia entry, decides to try his hand at becoming the new Rob Zombie with Verotika, a horror anthology flick that reflects his love for pulp horror flicks of the 1970s and 1980s. While all this is good, the end result is something altogether different from what Mr Danzig must clearly have envisioned: this movie is almost a good flick because it is so, so awful.
The three shorter segments here are based off stories from Verotik, Mr Danzig’s own comic line, with the name itself arising from the combination of “violent” and “erotic”.
Unfortunately, after a promising start when the sexy version of the Crypt Keeper, the devilish Morella, casually digs out the eyeballs of her screaming victim, the gore soon becomes more of a cartoon showcase of bad CGI and practical effects than anything else. As for the erotic aspects of the movie, it only works if the sight of bared breasts alone qualified as “OMG HOT HOT HOT!” There isn’t anything that goes much beyond that, I’m afraid.
The stories by themselves aren’t bad at all. The first story has a woman with eyes instead of nipples – don’t ask – who can also bring to life an albino spider which than transform into a murderous humanoid – really, don’t ask. The second story is about this woman who collects other women’s faces. The last story is about this countess who bathes in the blood of virgins to stay young, although her name is Drukija rather than Elizabeth Bathory for some reason. There are many opportunities here for creepy sex and bloody gore… but for some reason, nothing of that sort is delivered.
As a fan of horror anthology films, I’ve come to expect either clever twists or “Oh, snap!” kind of development towards the ending of each story. Here, however, the stories have no build-up, climax, twist, or anything of that sort. It’s just some stupid characters doing the same things over and over, repeating an obnoxious pattern of behavior, until the time runs out and the whole thing peters to a lame closure. So many opportunities are squandered. For example, the woman with eyes where her nipples should be – beyond introducing those lame, unblinking things that look obviously glued on the poor actress’s breasts, nothing is done to capitalize on the protagonist’s unusual anatomy. The movie just takes this premise as an excuse to have the actress’s blouse lifted up as often as possible to show off those things. What’s the point? Is this movie geared towards young kids who for some reason are unable to access Twitch to ogle at Alinity or some other bimbo?
Really, are these three lame duck stories the best ones from Verotik? If yes, then just how bad must those comics be?
The acting is really bad, mostly because the bulk of the female cast usually play roles that require more nudity than acting skills, if you know what I mean. Fine, bad acting is a staple of B-grade horror films, so whatever.
The script is atrocious, with insipid lines passed off as conversations, and I don’t know why the director-cum-scriptwriter decides to have that nipple-eyed woman story set in France when the cast can barely stay in accent for more than five seconds.
The direction is hilariously bad, and there are clear moments when the camera should have cut away, but no. Instead, the camera lingers on as the cast assumes that they can relax a bit now and go out of character. Other scenes have the cast looking blankly at one another or flailing around on screen – likely because Mr Danzig isn’t giving them clear directions on what to do in that particular scene.
Hence, Verotika is a non-stop calamity from start to finish, like watching poor Wile E Coyote on a railway track being run over by one train after another for who knows how long. That’s the beauty of this movie, though. The sheer amount of incompetence and outright horrific transgressions on the art of film-making pile up and tip over to the point where its sheer, brutal awfulness ends up being… charming. This movie has no shortage of unintentionally hilarious moments, and it gets especially better when alcohol or recreational drugs, maybe both, are involved. Not that I am recommending any of the latter, of course, because this is a family friendly website, so kids, say no to the D.
It also helps that a part of me kind of really, really want to love this movie because of Mr Danzig’s pedigree. He has proven his cred as a horror enthusiast as far as I’m concerned, although I reserve the right to revoke my approval the moment he starts violating beloved IPs and turning them into unwatchable messes, like one wretched Mr Zombie.
So, Verotika. Don’t watch it. Or go watch it. Just don’t watch it alone. Bring friends, bring lots of alcohol and snacks, and most importantly, bring a sense of humor tampered with super low expectations. You’ll especially need that last bit to survive this flick.