Director: Joe D’Amato
Stars: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Charles Borromel
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
After the Italian goregasm of 1980’s Anthropophagus, director Joe D’Amato and actor and writer George Eastman teamed up again (yeah, forgot about those Anglicized fake names in the credits) for 1981’s Absurd. Yes, that’s an awful title, but is this official sequel to Anthropophagus (unless you live in Italy where one of its alternate titles was Anthropophagus II) just as awful? Well, let’s dive in and find out.
A Greek priest is chasing a Greek man because he has a supernatural healing factor that would put Wolverine to shame. Unfortunately every time this guy heals, his brain gets more and more messed up, so now the man, played by the imposing and awesome George Eastman, is crazy as hell and a murder machine to boot. The action begins in a horror staple: a damn near deserted hospital. Add that to the ending where the killer gets his eyes shot out, the Dr. Loomis-like priest obsessed with bringing the killer down, and the fact that the mad man can’t be killed and that they often refer to him as the boogeyman, and it seems like this was a clear rip off of Halloween II…except that they both came out in October 1981, Yeah, small world, indeed. While Absurd lacks the suspense and tension (and overall quality) on Michael Myer’s second cinematic outing, it does have far gorier kills and lots of that goofy, Italian exploitation charm that I do love so much.
Eastman is his usual scary and mute self, the direction is workmanlike, and the special makeup effects are ambitious for the time, if not well-executed. The story is simple and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, like why and how did this priest get on the trail of an undying man? Why does the killer fixate on a family with a bratty Bob-from-House-by-the-Cemetery-like little kid and a sister in traction? And why is the babysitter so damn late, anyway? But questions aside, and a bit of padding and pacing issues, Absurd does deliver the early eighties slasher goods.
Okay, let’s move on to the extras Severin gave us for this new Blu-ray release. First it should be noted that there is a CD of the movie’s soundtrack and that’s just awesome. Then there is an interview with the bad man himself, George Eastman, that runs 31 minutes, an archive interview with director Joe D’Amato since the man passed away in 1999, and that one is 20 minutes long, then there is an 18-minute interview with Michele Soavi, who played an uncredited biker in the movie. Lastly there is a theatrical trailer.
Absurd is not as good as the previous Anthropophagus and not as over-the-top with the gross-outs, but it is still a silly slasher you can have some fun with as long as you don’t take it too seriously. If you are a fan of George Eastman (and you should be), slashers, Italian 80s exploitation, or any combination of the three, I can easily recommend this film for you, looking better on Blu-ray than I ever thought it would. For an absurdly good time (sorry, had to) check this one out.