FILM REVIEW: VEROTIKA
VEROTIKA is a 3-part horror anthology film based on Glenn Danzig‘s comic book series of the same name and it’s now available to stream online via Apple and Amazon Prime and came out on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 17th.
Let me start off by saying, I am a huge Danzig fan. His musical career has been a rollercoaster ride from his legendary beginnings as frontman of the Misfits to a hoarse, wailing cover singer. (Look out for “Danzig Sings Elvis” coming this April.) Despite his obvious decline in quality, his music still manages to entertain on a completely unique level, sometimes even manifesting itself in an intensely comedic way.
But that’s Danzig’s career, the punk stuff that was rough around the edges and perfect in its imperfection, the metal stuff that was cheesy but somehow empowering and the laughably bad missteps and unfortunate public displays of image (kitty litter pics, “Henry & Glenn Forever”, the knockout video) that turned him into a spicy internet meme. All of that… it’s all there in VEROTIKA.
VEROTIKA is a first time filmmaker’s effort no doubt about it. It’s got rookie mistakes galore: shots are out of focus, lighting and set equipment make their way into shots, scenes are unnecessarily long or abruptly short. The list goes on. The stories are hard to follow due to sloppy writing and editing. Danzig has a penchant for naked women. They are all over his music videos and album artwork and it goes without saying that there is a lot of nudity in this film too and it’s all very gratuitous. There is one scene at a strip club that goes on for the duration of 2 full songs. Nothing happens, we just watch women strip and dance… Which brings me to one of the biggest issues with this film, which is the pacing. There are shots that linger so long that you can see the actors struggle, awkwardly improvising as you scream at the screen, “end the shot already!”
In the final story of DRUKIJA they stretch about 2 minutes of content into a 30-minute piece, which involves a lengthy bloodbath (literally a woman bathing in blood) and a scene where the main character looks at herself in a mirror for 10 minutes. Oh, and as I’m sure everyone expected… the acting is complete dog shit, with the exception of one Kayden Kross (star of over 150 porn films and album art model for Danzig’s covers album “Skeletons”) who plays the films version of the Crypt keeper and delivers a fantastic performance.
The cinematography, also credited to Danzig (as well as David Newbert) is actually not half bad. The cameras are pro and the shots and sets are actually at times kinda spooky. Gore effects are all practical which results in some great moments and other moments that I’m sure were supposed to look better. There are AN AWFUL LOT of snap zooms, but to be fair Danzig has been quoted on numerous occasions stating his influence by Sergio Leone.
The first story of THE ALBINO SPIDER OF DAJETTE is the best one, especially from a comedy standpoint. The bit starts off with a woman who has eyes for nipples crying on top of a CGI spider who then transforms into a spider person with a little French moustache. The French accents are hilarious. The spider person has extra prosthetic arms attached to his torso that don’t move whatsoever and just sort of dangle there. It’s hysterical. Unfortunately, the film gets pretty boring thanks to the super drawn out takes and never reaches the level of comic gold that the boob-eyes spider-dude portion achieved.
The score is of course done by Danzig himself and is very reminiscent of his work on his two “solo” albums BLACK ARIA and BLACK ARIA II. Again, like both of those albums there is a sinister vibe with deep drums and droning horns but also not without the trademark ham and cheese. One instrumental track during the film sounds like Danzig brushed his hands through a series of wind chimes for 5 minutes, which conjures a humorous mental image.
All in all, this film has its ups and downs. It’s a must watch for any fan of Danzig’s previous work as it does fall very much in line with his choices in the music realm. As a horror film it falls flat and feels too far removed from the time period of its influences to be considered truly campy or truly a B-Movie. As a comedy, it hits a lot more of its cues. It will surely join the ranks of powerful trash like THE ROOM or anything by Neil Breen. It is best viewed with a group of friends and a good supply of alcohol.
Danzig has somehow done it again. He has made a masterpiece of shit. I certainly had a lot of fun watching this. I am beyond excited for everything this man has in the works from the Elvis covers album to his next feature film DEATH RIDER IN THE HOUSE OF VAMPIRES.
“VEROTIKA is best viewed with a group of friends and a good supply of alcohol”
This film has to be rated on 2 scales to be accurately judged.
Actual movie scale: 1 Tombstone out of 5…
Hilariously bad movie scale: 4 Tombstones out of 5…
I would actually say it is a must not watch for any Danzig fan; definitely the worst thing the man has done. Writing/directing/editing/pacing are all at issue; and I’m not even bothered by the bad acting or shoddy effects/CGI but jesus there has to be something else there. Glenn’s cinematic influences are obvious but he fails to pull any of it off with any amount of expertise or understanding.