September 25

Review: Verotika (2019)

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Director: Glenn Danzig

Starring: Kayden Kross, Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate, Scotch Hopkins, Sean Kanan

Run Time: 90mins

Since premiering at Cinepocalypse last summer, “Verotika” has garnered something of a reputation. Not necessarily the reputation writer/director (and punk/metal legend) Glenn Danzig would want one, but one all the same. As according to the few that had seen it, it is a disasterpiece. The kind of film to be ranked alongside “The Room”, “Birdemic” or “Troll 2” as amongst the worst ever made.

Is this assessment fair? In a word: yes. Hell, yes. To say this movie is incompetent would be a gross understatement. It fails not just in terms of dialogue, acting, effects and cohesive storytelling but in basic filmmaking. At times the camera lingers on actors after the scene has clearly finished, leaving them to just awkwardly stand there. Sometimes scenes will end with shuddering abruptness or we get a dissolve for no reason. Other times Danzig (who is co-credited as director of photography) seems unable to frame a shot properly, cutting off the tops of actor's heads before refocusing. Plus, the sound mix is so bad that the incidental music becomes this weird tinny din in the background.

We could go on, but let’s get to the plot instead. So the movie is an anthology telling three stories, torn from the pages of Danzig’s own comic book, as told to us by crypt-keeper type Morella (Kayden Kross) who proves her evilness by gouging some poor girls' eyes out. The rubbery cheapness of this shot preparing us for what is coming. Or as prepared as you can be.

Then again, maybe nothing can prepare you for the first tale “The Albino Spiders of Dajette.” The plot of which is thus Dajette (Ashley Wisdom) is I believe an escort with eyes for nipples (yes, you read that right). Tears from said eyes flow from on to an early 90s CGI spider and create a mutated man-spider. This albino man-spider (Scotch Hopkins) then goes on a killing spree but can only do this when Dajette is asleep because he is linked to Dajette’s subconscious in someway. Also, it is set in France for no reason. And everyone has the type of French accent which makes the accent’s in “Allo’ Allo’” seem convincing. Aside from this and the insanity of the plot, the funniest aspect of this segment is definitely The Albino Spiders cheaply stitched together rubber suit (you can see the stitching in some close-ups).

Next up is “Change of Face” which nominally tells the tale of a face slicing serial killer named Mystery Girl (Rachel Alig). For most part though it plays out like a no-budget Motley Crue video with many hard-rock scored pole-dancing scenes in the world most run down strip club. That said Alig, while not necessarily good, is oddly charismatic as mystery girl and Sean Kanan is entertainingly hammy as the stereotypically hard-boiled cop on her tail. A random cameo by Sean Waltman (AKA X-Pac AKA Syxx AKA The 1-2-3 Kid) as a strip-club doorman may also amuse wrestling fans (like myself).

Lastly, we have “Drukija: Contessa of Bloods.”  This segment is an Elizabeth Bathory inspired tale where the eponymous Drukija (Alice Tate) hunts down, kills and bathes in the blood of “VUR-GINS” (more accent mangling, ahoy!) as she believes it will keep her more youthful. We see several incidents of this, including one blood bathing sequence that goes on so long you start to believe you may have been watching it for months, years even. After that we get one last Morella one-liner before cutting to credits.

None of these plot descriptions can do justice to just how cataclysmically rubbish, nonsensical and inept this whole endeavour is. Also, this review could tell you more about the diabolical acting, ear-scraping dialogue, the ridiculously gratuitous nudity and ultra-cheapo sets, but ultimately nothing, and I sincerely mean nothing, can quite prepare you for the horror of “Verotika.”

Overall: A work of near mind-bending awfulness that is sure to become a cult favourite amongst bad-movie connoisseurs everywhere.

Critical rating: 1/10

“The Room” scale rating: 9/10

You can watch "Verotika" on Shudder here


Tags

Alice Tate, Anthology, Ashley Wisdom, Glenn Danzig, Halloween, Rachel Alig, Scotch Hopkins, Sean Kanan, Shudder, So bad its good, Unintentionally funny, Verotika


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