Olaf Ittenbach, I would suggest, is no stranger to our readers. The German ex-dental technician turned special effects guru and horror film director has had a fruitful career in low budget horror movies over the last couple of decades. One of his earlier projects was a movie called THE BURNING MOON. Apparently banned in Germany for around 20 years, the movie now surfaces on DVD, completely uncut for the very first time.
Peter (played by Ittenbach himself) is what was often referred to in the 1980’s as a bit of a delinquent! Not only does his have Bon Jovi hair style and ripped jeans to boot, he has no intention of getting a job. When interviewed he asks for beer, and rolls a joint. Yes folks – this dude is BAD ASS! His usual nocturnal pastime is being part of a gang. They take on their rivals in some good ole fashioned hand-knife combat. Just like Michael Jackson’s BEAT IT video, these guys clearly hadn’t heard of gun! At least it is a great excuse to watch noses splattered and heads trodden on as the turf war plays out. But his rebellious streak comes to an abrupt halt one night. No - he does not fall foul of the law; neither does he succumb to another gang’s blade. He is told in no uncertain terms by his parents that they are going away for the weekend and HE has to babysit his younger sister.
He does what any rebel would do. He lines up a tasty syringe of heroin and tucks her in before reading two depraved bedtime stories.
Here the movie then launches into a couple of short films movies depicting these tales. The first is titled "JULIAS LOVE." It uses the simple narrative of recently asylum escaped madman on the run. The piece has a relentless river of gore blended with an attempt at bringing the much maligned German sense of humour into the fray. Fast paced and depraved, I didn’t want to take my eye of the screen in fear of missing a shot of a decapitated head being thrown or a killer line of subtitled dialogue!
We then move onto the second of the stories "THE PURITY" which features a delightfully psychotic priest on a mission. Again the blood flows thick and fast with squibs a plenty gracing the screen. Ittenbach doesn’t hold back for a second and even includes an ill advised rape scene that was absurd as it was nasty, not to mention an infamous forced fed eyeball scene innovatively shot from within the mouth! It’s everything a Video Nasty should be.
Although the narrative featuring Peter is a little incoherent, it is ultimately redeemed with a very bleak conclusion. There is some confusion as when this picture was actually made. Some claim it surfaced around 1992 on video but the official release date for the movie was 1997. Either way it’s wonderful that Intervision VHS tape finally gets unearthed onto a digital format.
The piece is never going to trouble the gothic classics from yesteryear, but for all you bloodthirsty gore hounds who crave ultra-violent trash, you will have a blast. The combination of the movie being chopped into effective three narratives along with the unremitting brutal blood drenched aesthetic makes the movie fly by. Sure the whole package is a little rough around the edges, and the subtitles a little over-inflated with their bright green borders ( at least they are readable I guess!), but in the past TBM would only have been available on a second or third generation pirate tape at best.
As for extras, we have a stream of trailers from other Intervision releases including a classic trailer for The Burning Moon itself. The grunting voice over has to be heard to be believed!
But to top it off, the DVD features a ‘making of’ chapter. Given the plethora of commentary tracks around, it was quite refreshing to see a vintage slice of ‘behind the scenes’ footage featuring the writer, director and star of such a depraved piece. Ittenbach’s enthusiasm for his project is more than evident and anyone with a penchant for old school home grown special effects will love the inclusion of the 45 minute documentary.
I have witnessed a few "banned films" that, when re-released uncut, had me questioning why it was perceived as so prohibited in the first place. At least The Burning Moon delivers in this respect. Yes, there is an abundance of mindless violence but it goes a step further. The portrayal of the demented priest’s visions of hell, complete with demonic crucifixions along with an unfortunate victim who gets his legs excruciatingly ripped off alte Schule style are just two of the many highlights!
So why not grab a salami sandwich, a bottle or two of Becks and treat yourself to 98 minutes of classic Euro video wickedness?
Review by Marc Lissenburg
|Released by Intervision Picture Corp.|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|