Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

I'm a big supporter of the bedtime story. From a very early age, my parents read to me after tucking me in, and if my homunculus ever works out, I will do the same for it. I feel like the tradition did a lot in my case. The details, plots, and morals of some of those books stick with me to this day, in some cases, with more impact than things I have read in recent months. I could say this was instrumental in my love of fiction and continued search for knowledge, but it's just a hunch. At the very least, it can't hurt to get a head start on a kid's brain arsenal. The grumpy old man in me assumes it's even more critical today with the barrage of soundbites and one-liner social media formats. Consider the difference between giving a kid a narrated, personalized epic like Treasure Island and letting them watch four hours of Finger Family songs on YouTube. No offense to any breeders out there, as I have no experience in the area and therefore no real room to talk. My parents however, helped me with Fahrenheit 451 early on, and I’ve had time to ruminate on the whole of its message. On that same note, the material you choose to read could be a crucial aspect. My DNA donors covered a lot of classics, and even pushed a few boundaries, at least for the era. I think that's more than commendable as even without spawn of my own, I can now understand how delicate a line that was. Playing it too safe could deprive the seed of critical thinking practice, or worse, lead to buying abridged works. With the opposite, you could scar a kid for life with something they weren't ready for. There is a good chance that this is what happened to the little girl in The Burning Moon (1992).
Peter (Olaf Ittenbach) is much like any other teenager. He gets in violent organized street brawls, consumes a wide variety of narcotics, and has to do chores, like watch after his little sister. One night after a heated debate and a loud, destructive paternal wrestling match, he is left on babysitter-duty while his Ma and Pa go out on the town. Being stuck at home and feeling angsty (while his more fortunate friends presumably sharpened their sticks) bums Peter out, so he decides to shoot up some heroin while his younger sibling gets ready for bed. Once he is sufficiently relaxed, he  is suddenly inclined to do the brotherly thing and read his sister a couple of stories. Unfortunately for her, the tales he picked as a send-off to dreamland involve a serial killer on a hot date, a murdering rapist-priest, and an abundant amount of creative dismemberment.
The Burning Moon is made up of two increasingly grotesque short tales linked by a grim, somewhat comical, wrap around. As the glue on top of two short films, the introduction is much heftier than for the average anthology and depicts a flushed out, less pointed story of its own. Presented at a crossroads between a dramatic BBC television show, Peter Falk/Fred Savage in The Princess Bride (1987), and Suburbia (1983) , this connective tissue gives a sinister smirk where the usual break from tension would be. While it's infused with recognizable comedy and is technically more light-hearted than the contained plots, it's still pretty fucked up. Before the first story begins, there's a bloody, low budget Outsiders brawl, crossfaded hooligans, and some awful parenting to set the stage.
Following that dark parody of extreme angst and wayward rebellion, comes a cautionary hypothetical, which plays like a workplace sexual harassment tape, only with splatter. Even being the tamer of the two stories, the first stocks enough bloodshed for two full-length horror flicks with larger budgets, including some digit-removal by office supply and some brutal face smashing. The plot, involving a blind date gone wrong, is seen from the killer's point of view (for the most part) as he runs around, dicing people up like he's running errands. Every so often, it checks up on the future victim who displays some pathos for background flavor, mostly giving up the arch to the German Ted Bundy for his mayhem. Eventually, it rounds itself off into a message of sorts but not before stacking up some gnarly corpses and few more reasons not to trust anyone.
 The second is a morality yarn that manages to be entirely on the nose and riddled with collateral damage concurrently. Where the first was essentially a bare-bones slasher, the next tale jams as many fucked-up concepts into its short run-time as possible. It quickly dives deep into traumatic themes and lathers in good old fashioned blasphemy. As the target receives arguably the more unjust treatment, the plot takes time to highlight the underlying theme of suffering that fuels the film. With gooey gusto, the literal descent into Hell gets more brutal as it moves forward, accumulating to an unforgettable finale. The whole movie is an excellent piece of no-budget, moody fan service as well as a testament to effective homemade hyper-violence-- but that final punishment keeps me coming back. It is cheer-worthy splatter, served without reserve, while still maintaining bleak, unflinching darkness that damn near makes it hard to watch--in the best way.
The film's entirety is laden with unsavory characters, fucked situations, and terrible acts, all brought to unflinching realization. Even though cheap and built for shock, there is something to be said for the stories themselves and motivations behind them. In addition to establishing reasons for the gore, it's got some things it wants to say. It's no Twilight Zone or even Outer Limits, as far as the life lessons go, but along with its satisfactory bloodletting, mean spirited demeanor, there is some cerebral fat to chew.
Independent in ways that would make Jim Jamarche wake up in a cold sweat to call a rich uncle, the production gets by on ingenuity, ambition, and help from brave friends. Until Intervision’s DVD release, I had seen only VHS (re-)recordings of the film. I was pleased that, along with a seemingly impossibly crisp picture, they managed to retain some of the "flaws" that worked in the film's favor. The shot on tape affair has a layer of grain and a constant offset shade that almost ghosts the objects on the picture. While probably not entirely a style choice, each setting gets its own neon highlighting after the effect is mixed with the creative, practical lighting. A good deal of the television feel comes from the filler cuts of neighborhood views, traffic, crowds, etc., which look to be created for the project as opposed to stock footage. Even though these are on the generic side, the fluffy place holders add to the uncharacteristic completeness of the film. Though it keeps its dingy street cred, the composition is a step above the average backyard horror flick. This stands out through an edit-built pacing that guides the lopsided chunks into a whole. It's not perfect, and there is less experimentation involved than some other no-budget violent favorites, but it's steady beyond necessity and entirely coherent. As a happy side effect of the DIY spirit, the homes used as sets look realistically lived in (probably because they are) with minimal dressing. The significant exclusion of this is the final story's literal trip to Hell. What I assume is a barn, has been transformed using bedding and fake body parts into a low-rent cenobite torture dimension. It's fucking amazing. It's like the quick flashes in Event Horizon (1997) and a snuff film had a baby. Sure, if you look closely, you can pick apart the background set of bedsheets, but on the first watch, it's too intense to play prop detective. Altogether, the film is a remarkable use of sparse resources for its niche, but of course, the big draw here is the practical gore. As disgusting as they are imaginative, the squishy gags go for broke whether someone is just getting some fingers forcibly removed, or a man is being bisected upwards. There is no shying away from the action, and the focus stays firmly in the homemade butchery. It's the perfect amount of grime and thought-out detail. Though not what I would call hyper-realistic, it beats the fuck out of CGI, and by the end, there is a ton of it. The final exposition of flesh ripping is worth the entry alone. Don't get me wrong, this is a zero-dollar production, so you must be okay with that kind of filmmaking. However, it's got an angry, one of a kind soul and plenty of demented wince-inducing violence, all brought to life with love.
The Burning Moon was the second feature released by director, special effects artist, and former dental technician Olaf Ittenbach, following his brooding debut Black Past (1989). According to the German filmmaker, he was pushed into his life's work by a severe disdain and boredom with his home country's cinema at the time. Upon release, The Burning Moon landed the twenty-three-year-old in some hot water. It was banned locally, and he was formally accused of promoting violence. In the states, the film would gain a reputation for its contents and become a  treasure sought by Gorey VHS hunters until its release on DVD. Ittenbach has since pumped out eighteen red-goo-filled films as a director with God Forsaken currently in production. Additionally, in 2005 he provided effects for schlock-meister and fellow countryman Uwe Boll on his BloodRayne. Olaf himself appears as the delinquent, crack-smoking big bro in the wrap-around and did all the stunts to save some dough. As far as acting goes, everyone is beyond terrible, ranging from confused and bored to being fed lines from off-screen. The subtitles below them read like the moody, poetic scribbles in a highschool nihilist sketchbook, but the delivery from the cast (including Ittenbach) turns it into a foreign comedy routine. As much as it betrays the film’s more severe notes, the layer of ham keeps it in the realm of b- movie trash and away from grumpy dragging in the less active moments.
Without losing any of its homegrown horror charms,The Burning Moon hides its defined storytelling method underneath a more than significant amount of angry splatter and entertaining edgy shock. It's absurdly gory but fully realized as a complete film. It finger-paints a red-stained, unjust, and cruel world with home studied technique, then finishes off by covering the canvas in entrails. It is not one for those who can't appreciate some car seat change-cheap filmmaking or those who hate subtitles. Although, I find it hard to believe any extreme horror fan could forsake that final display of brutality. I'm sorry if I'm hyping this one too much, but it hits on so many levels for me. I have trouble not recommending it at inappropriate times. If nothing else, it stands out against the hoard of films beginning with a simple bedtime story.
Speaking of which, read to your fucking kids. I will be forever grateful that my parents did. The fact that they never knowingly left me in the hands of a violent drug addict is pretty cool too.
1h 26min | 1992
Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Writer: Olaf Ittenbach

On Amazon (affiliate link)

Review by:

Bottom Ad [Post Page]

RevTerry Media | Legal and Terms