Journalist Bobby (Ivan Brady) and his girlfriend sneak through the woods one afternoon, creeping towards a bizarre ritual that's taking place. The ritual involves a sermon held by Loin (Shane Mather), preparing to sacrifice a willing male with a golden spear.
As Bobby and his girl split up to get a closer look, hooded figures disperse into the trees to curtail them.
Bobby is knocked unconscious. His girlfriend suffers a worse fate, being repeatedly stabbed up the anus with a huge blade, it's point bursting through the skin of her back.
Later that day, Loin meets ex-cop Chin (Derrick Mighall) in a local church. He advises that the ceremony is complete and that in six months' time their wildest fantasies will come true, afforded to them by the mystical spear in their possession. But Chin wants out, and walks away ignoring Loin's promise of the powers they will soon have.
Six months later, we're introduced to Dale (Dean Mather), an animal rights campaigner who takes his love of furry things to extremes: an early scene in which he rapes a cat in his bathtub gives us a pretty good indication of just how psychotic Dale is.
He also knows of the mystical spear, said to be capable of making your wildest fantasies become reality, and has agreed to join forces with former Nazi Oppenheimer (Peter Rands) to find it.
Trying to stay one step ahead of these two is Loin, who is in hiding with his spear, relying on informant Felix to keep him posted on his rivals' movements.
While Oppenheimer and Dale go about tracing the spear by calling on a bewildered Chin, Bobby is more concerned with finding out whether his girlfriend is still alive. To this end, he hires private detective Fontaine (Paul Stone) to track Loin down.
The remainder of the film is essentially a race for the spear/Loin, with a wealth of characters introduced along the way, if only to be killed in the most splattery ways imaginable.
Oppenheimer's pursuit of the spear leads him to a Jewish community at one point, which ends in undoubtedly the goriest shootout in the history of film.
When Loin learns that Fontaine is looking for him, he orders a hit on him - which goes wrong, but still delivers the most crimson-hued broken nose in memory.
Elsewhere, an immigrant by the name of Barnabas enters the equation, claiming to have info on where the spear is held. He's lying, and gets suitably punished for doing so - but not before he's indulged in an unforgettable scene of gratuitous, blood-soaked rape.
And there's more: rape, torture, decapitation, eye-gouging, splattery shootouts galore, knives through the skull, disembowelment, genital electrocution, spears and bottles rammed up vaginas, bloody tampons sucked upon, (simulated) animal violence, throat slashings ...
All of which is complemented by a deranged, hilarious mordant sense of humour that gets belly laughs from some of the most racist and homophobic dialogue imaginable - Oppenheimer's outbursts of "fucking Jewish cunts" may sound offensive on paper, but are side-splitting in their delivery.
As politically incorrect as it could possibly be, FANTACIDE is a riot of all that is "wrong". It never displays actual racism or homophobia from the filmmakers, instead cannily mocking the overbearing PC brigade with its gleeful "fuck you" attitude at every opportunity. Kudos to John Shand for his savvy, piss-taking screenplay.
It's also just about the goriest film ever made, with Dean Mather's excellent make-up FX provided a virtually non-stop barrage of convincing atrocities. Blood spurts all over the screen with electrifying frequency.
The performances from the amateur cast are superb, suiting the outrageous material they've been given to work with perfectly. Shane Mather basically reprises his well-spoken Englishman guise from his excellent EXCREAMER, and as a result is consistently laugh-out-loud funny.
The older members of the cast lend weight to the film, with Mighall and Stone managing to get chuckles with minimum effort. But this is Rands' film: the man is a comic genius. You get the impression he doesn't know that, and is playing it straight - which makes it all the better. With no attempt at a German accent, he spits out some of the vilest anti-Jew diatribe ever captured on film ... and every second of it will have you in tears of laughter.
Shane Mather also directed FANTACIDE, and it is a significant leap forward from the enjoyably silly EXCREAMER.
Mather has fashioned a complex tale here, with so many characters that it could easily have become an incomprehensible mess. But his considered pacing, professional editing and knack for concise storytelling keep everything racing along in a fluent manner.
He's also a director who knows how to handle comedy. Rather than go for slapstick or visual gags, Mather has elicited deadpan performances from all his players, relying on the preposterous script and OTT violence to bring on the humour.
Music is a major factor in FANTACIDE too, and Mather's love of 50s and 60s-style pop music ensures a plethora of ill-suited chirpy tracks play over the most depraved images onscreen. It works brilliantly.
Shot on HD, the film looks great - and Mather's visual FX are far superior to those in EXCREAMER. The lighting, odd moments of CGI, the sharp editing ... this is an incredibly accomplished piece of filmmaking, far greater than it's budget of "several thousand pounds" should feasibly allow.
If there are any gripes to be had here, I would say the film is overlong at 117 minutes in length. It never drags, and every minute of screen-time is devoted to either the story or eye-popping gore, but it's a lot to take in - and the impact of Dean's superlative FX work dulls a little towards the end, purely because there's so much of it on offer.
Also, the two scenes of sexual violence - while filmed expertly - are very strong, and as such may make some viewers uneasy, as it's difficult to draw any "comedy" from them. But then, maybe that's the point.
In short, FANTACIDE is a must-see - the most essential gore film of the year, if not the decade. Destined for cult-classic status, and bound to offend PC brigades everywhere with dialogue that makes FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE seem multi-culturally sound, animal torture that outdoes NEKROMANTIK ten times over and sexual violence that Fulci's THE NEW YORK RIPPER shied well away from. All served up with side-dishes of bubblegum pop music and laugh-out-loud comedy. What's not to love?
The Mather brothers have released the film themselves, through their Masochist Pictures site. What they've prepared is a stunning 2-disc Special Edition DVD set, that offers further example of how much devotion has gone into this project.
Disc 1 offers the film, fully uncut and uncensored, in a 1.85:1 transfer. The film is enhanced for 16x9 TV sets, and the transfer is great: bright, vibrant and pin-sharp.
The English 2.0 audio is a clear, loud affair - very rousing.
There's no scene-selection menu on disc 1, but you can access the film with your remote control via a whopping 40 chapters.
Disc 2 provides some great extra features.
First up is an excellent 30-minute Making Of documentary, which is very professionally filmed and edited together. It offers post-production interviews with cast and crew members, intercut with behind-the-scenes footage from the lengthy shoot.
Shane Mather reveals how the original plot consisted of a search for "Hitler's cock and balls", while Dean Mather - sitting in a front of a very cool horror DVD collection - runs through the elaborate FX work he had to contend with, explaining the pitfalls of working in bad weather and with an amateur cast who didn't always like getting caked in sticky food colouring. Rands, Stone etc are on hand to offer amusing anecdotes, while the brutal rape scene is dissected by its participants. Fantastic stuff.
26 minutes of Outtakes and Behind The Scenes footage follows, most if which is utterly hilarious.
Next up are 5 alternate scenes - original scenes that were later reshot for one reason or another. There's an alternate take on the opening credits which is particularly interesting, with hot pole-dancers dancing away to the opening tune.
5 deleted scenes follow, which in fairness don't add anything to the finished article.
Next is an abundance of behind-the-scenes stills in a photo gallery that's set to a 3-minute pop song.
Finally, we have two trailers for FANTACIDE which, as you can no doubt imagine, are fast-paced, gory as fuck and very entertaining.
The 2-disc SE of FANTACIDE can be ordered direct from Masochist Pictures. It's £15.99 including postage worldwide, and you can even select whether you want it on PAL or NTSC.
Review by Stu Willis
|Released by Masochist Pictures|
|Region All - PAL or NTSC|
|see main review|