The Burning Moon: Five Things to Know About Underground German Horror Before Going In
This Friday the 13th, Miami's in for one seriously scary event -- and not just because of the date. O Cinema is hosting the East Coast premiere of The Burning Moon, Olaf Ittenbach's classic of gore-fest horror films, all complemented by a spook-tastic lineup of performances and events.
This free event is brought to you by the good folks of Borscht Corporation (of Borscht Film Festival fame), in partnership with Severin Films and Intervision Picture Corp., two companies dedicated to releasing DVDs of "the most controversial and provocative features."
In the spirit of horror and spook, the premiere is scheduled for midnight and the booze will be blessed by a Santeria priest. But don't be fooled -- this is not just a night of horror. It's a night of art.
"This movie is pretty violent, for sure," said Hunter Stephenson,
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hegemon of content at Borscht, "but it also works in the boutique arts
scene. We want to introduce Miami's film scene to films that inspire our
But because it takes a certain, let's say, finesse to enjoy these films, we've listed five things you should know about underground German horror. Be warned -- er, prepared.
5. They are banned in Germany.
Yes, these movies are considered by some to be so gore-rrific and tasteless that their own motherland forsakes them. The German government banned Director Andreas Schnaas' now-cult classic Violent Shit immediately after its release; the film's storyline revolves around a meat cleaver murderer who, among other ungodly acts, kills his mother and has sacrilegious visions of Jesus.
4. They are all about gore and, often, necrophilia.
Come on -- Violent Shit? It's easy to guess that these gems of filmmaking are full of blood and guts, but they're also rampant with dead-porn. The John Waters himself called Jorg Buttgereit's Nekromantik "the first erotic film for necrophiliacs." But still, if you look really hard with your critical thinking hat on, you might find some social commentary. Scout's honor.
3. Jesus freaks need not apply.
In The Burning Moon, a heroin-addict brother tells his sister creepy bedtime stories, one about a deranged priest who goes on a rape-and-kill rampage and ends up in Hell. In Violent Shit, the murderer desecrates the body of Jesus. The number of the beast makes appearances, not just on-screen, but also in movie titles (Le6ion of the Dead). So if you're
uptight devout about Christianity, maybe go see L!fe Happens instead.
Still from The Burning Moon
Brutal as Hell
2. Underground = Low budget.
If you're a fan of movies based on their out-of-this-world special effects and unbelievably life-like CGI, these blood-splattered gems aren't for you. The classics were made in the late '80s and '90s, and with reportedly tiny budgets.
Schnaas allegedly made Violent Shit with approximately $2,000 and a rented camera, and that's one of the most well-known films of its kind. The Burning Moon stands alongside it in the hall of fame of German cult horror. Their crude nature is part of the appeal.
"The Burning Moon is the cornerstone of movies shot in VHS in the '90s," said Stephenson. "And there's a revival going on right now... [Florida-based] bands are creating music videos with that '90s, scratchy horror aesthetic."
1. This ain't no post-war modesty.
After the disasters WWII brought to Germany and Europe, the horror film scene in Deutschland cooled it a bit. Who'd want to make their country look like a bunch of deranged psychos after having orchestrated the Holocaust? It was all crime stories and light thrillers for German folk.
Then the 1980s came around. "Splatter" films started to spring up around then, with ample blood, massacres, graphic murders, tales of psychosis, and gory sexual perversion. Ittenbach himself has been called one of the first German "splatterpunk" filmmakers, basically meaning that in his films, there's no holding back.
If the above caveats have made you more, not less, interested in seeing The Burning Moon, catch it at 11 p.m. Friday at O Cinema. There will be DVD and poster giveaways. According to Stephenson, seating is limited, but there will be plenty of free booze for those who just want to party.
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