When I first picked up a copy of 'Premutos' when it was released in Spain I watched the film in complete disbelief, here was one of the most exciting, funny and refreshingly original splatterfests to be seen since Pete Jackson's 'Brain Dead' but this movie took the craziness even further! The only shame was that this Spanish release although near perfect was without any English subtitle options, so in my own small way done my very best to champion the films exposure in any way I could (see my review of the Spanish release for my rant to companies to license this for release) and was very proud when I instigated its 'Dead by Dawn' festival screening. But time passed and still no sign of a subtitled or dubbed release, that was until SGM chum J R Bookwalter got in touch to say that his production company Fat Cat were preparing an English dub for 'Premutos' long overdue release! So it was with high anticipation that I awaited this long overdue release from the lovely folk at 'Shock-O-Rama' but would this be the dream release I had hoped for or would revisiting a much-loved gem prove to be an anti-climax? Let's see...
For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of seeing the wonder that is 'Premutos' then here's how it goes...there's this fallen angel called Premutos (the lord of the living dead) who enjoys popping down to earth every now and again through the time line to reek bloody mayhem and destruction! As the films opening titles roll we get bombarded with some nice gory eye candy that acts as a small taster of what's to come and following this we jump to 1942 where we meet slightly deranged dabbler of the undead Rudolph who has been using the book of Premutos to revive corpses that he's been robbing from the graveyard. The local villagers soon latch onto his wannabe Frankenstein's antics and head to his home to lynch him and burn his home to the ground. Before the villagers arrive Rudolph buries the book of Premutos (and some of his corpse reviving serum) and waits with his undead experiments for the villagers to arrive. What follows is a mixture of extreme violence and gut chuckling comedy fun, and the tone is truly set for the rest of the movies duration.
The film cuts to nowadays and our central characters, here we meet young Matthias and his freaky family - his weapon mad army obsessed father, his loving mother and his kinky sex crazed manly sister! To celebrate his birthday dad is planting a tree, but as he digs he uncovers the case containing old buried book of Premutos which as you can guess will bring disaster to not only his home but to the world as we know it! I really don't want to go into too much detail of what happens in the film but all you need to know is that 'yes' Premutos returns and unleashes his armies of the undead onto society and 'yes' there's more grue, gore and bloody mayhem than you've ever seen in any splatter movie, ever.
Packed with stacks of great comedy (that for a change in a genre movie actually works well) and ladened with lashings of bloody gore (and damn impressive it is too), 'Premutos' truly is one of the finest splatter movies in years and essential viewing for any self respecting horror fan. Although director Olaf Ittenbach has played this movie down, he isn't giving himself the rightful respect that he does indeed deserve for producing this diamond in the rough. Taking the films epic weighty time spanning plot (which is full of historic flashbacks - 12th century witches, Germany's war with Russia, a laughable reference to the Braveheart era and even the crucifixion of Jesus!), he actually delivers a well paced and engrossing genre romp. Sure the budget is obviously minimal but you happily go with the flow and enjoy every moment as you're captivated with this fine mix of guts, gore and giggles!
At long last 'Premutos' has been made available to the mainstream English speaking market by the canny folk at Shock-O-Rama but does this disc live up to delivering the goods as the essential release of this gory gem? Well yes and no. Indeed at last we have the film fully dubbed into English language making it easy viewing and the films twisting time line and comedic intricacies accessible for the first time, but although the team at Fat Cat have done their best to keep the films wacky momentum with a similarly fun audio track but its not without its niggling little faults. Some of the films set piece moments seem to lose a bit of their impact and comedic timing due to the audio dub with some background atmosphere missing, a small gripe but for myself (and many other fans of the movie) an annoying one nonetheless. Also, I found the voice characterisation of Matthias' sister incredibly grating with her Minnie Mouse squeaking totally out of place. Now even with this in mind it didn't detract from the horror fun. But another slight niggle from this particular release is the fact that on loading the main menu you're offered the option of watching the film in either dubbed English or the original German language - now for a US release aimed at the English market I would have expected that the German track would have included some very welcome English subtitles giving you the opportunity to watch the film with its original audio track without losing the films aforementioned comedic pace. But sadly there are no English subtitles on offer leaving the German option no different from the old Spanish release. I know many readers that watched this disc felt somewhat let down by this situation and I can fully understand why.
The problem with the dubbing scenario spills over onto the extra features too regrettably. Included on the bonus features is only one 'Premutos' related extra but it's a cracker, a fifty minute documentary feature 'Inside Premutos' where director Olaf Ittenbach discusses the making of the movie and takes us behind the scenes of its production with interviews with all the key players involved. This makes great companion viewing to the main feature but sadly is overdubbed with only one English speaking male voice and would have benefited massively by being replaced by simple English subtitles which would have enhanced not only the main feature but this documentary also.
Realising that this particular release will be on the shopping list of many horror fans (and rightly so) Shock-O-Rama have seized the moment to showcase a massive selection of their (and their sister companies) release trailers with 24 trailers on offer from all of the Shock-O-Rama, Retro Seduction and Hollywood Spoof lines. This is actually an excellent addition for anyone new to these movies as you can now get a taste of some of the excellent Retro Seduction releases that I've been salivating over for some time!
Although there is some initial disappointment with the US DVD debut release of 'Premutos', it's small complaint if just to be as thrilled as I am that it has finally be unleashed on the English speaking market at long last (and there's still time for a savvy UK company to pick this up and get those subtitles included, I know they have been prepared). 'Premutos' is a splatter classic and essential viewing for any fan of the gore genre. Buy this right now!
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema|
|Region - All (NTSC)|
|Optional English or German audio, Making of Premutos, Trailer Vault|