REVIEW: CARCINOMA (2014, TetroVideo)

Notorious German filmmaker Marian Dora’s 2014 shocker Carcinoma receives a new lease of life in a limited release by TetroVideo. Marian Dora doesn’t do happy movies and this is no exception.

A terminally ill cancer patient refuses therapy from doctors and let’s his body gradually decay and his condition deteriorate beyond the point of return. The film starts with a burning candle, symbolising light in the darkness of life. Candles are sometimes lit in time of death and it sets us off on a path of despair.

The man does not fear death, instead he embraces it instead of trying to get better. He tries to maintain a sexual relationship with his partner despite his body starting to fall apart and he tries to maintain a normal life when his mental stability deteriorates. Expect to be taken to a very dark head space as the films bleakness grows at a dangerous pace. Much like Dora’s other work, the film is hard-hitting and visceral to levels most viewers will not feel comfortable watching.

There is almost always an element of danger which comes with watching Marian Dora’s films but he manages to deliver an unforgettable experience that most filmmakers strive to replicate. The film is extremely well shot, arguably Dora’s best looking film and the production values are consistently high from the visuals to the score to the acting. However, don’t be fooled by the inviting aesthetics as the subject matter is intended to make you ill. The practical effects are very realistic and will no doubt turn your stomach no matter what you’ve seen before.

Carcinoma does things which trigger inner feelings which you may not realise you had. There is a mixture of empathy and anger as you watch a man willingly let an illness take his life away from him without as much as a fight. There is an un-calm atmosphere which is both disturbing and uncomfortable to endure and it will make you feel on edge.

A snake features heavily during important scenes, slithering across shots and adding to the unsettling atmosphere. Be warned, there are some fairly graphic live-feeding scenes where the snake kills its prey and we see every last gasp of the helpless victims breath. It is a hard watch and may be too much for most viewers to stomach but the snake is used as symbolism for a creative life force and flirting with death. A snake sheds its skin, much like the man who is gradually losing his to a brutal and uncompromising illness.

Carcinoma is Dora’s most polished and provocative piece of extreme cinema which hits hard and pounds you mercilessly. It is an extremely uneasy watch but it really messes with your mind and makes you think. If you are looking for something which will take you to a dark place; this is it.

Score: 5/5

Carcinoma is now available to buy on DVD via TetroVideo.

CARCINOMA – LIMITED 50 GOLDEN MEDIABOOK

CARCINOMA – 250 limited edition

REVIEW: MALEFICIA (1998, TetroVideo)

Originally released in 1998, Antoine Pellissier’s French extreme ultra gore masterpiece Maleficia finds its way onto the Tetro Underground line with a brand new DVD release by TetroVideo. Set in 1860, the Karlstein family’s horse and carriage makes an impromptu stop in a haunted forest, unbeknownst to them that there is a large black mass happening featuring human sacrifices. After realising things are not normal or safe, they try to retreat to a deserted castle but find out there is more danger out there…

Right off the bat, Maleficia throws us straight into a brutal and uncompromising setting as blood is ready to spray everywhere. Starting off like a Hammer or Amicus classic horror film with vintage clothing and heavy use of fog and smoke, the film moves straight into the Video Nasties era with rough visuals and extreme content. Maleficia doesn’t take itself seriously with bad dubbing and intentionally bad over-acting but it instantly grabbed my interest with its over the top storyline and endless supply of guts and gore.

The blood splatter is plentiful and so is the entertainment value. Just when you think you’ve sussed out what Maleficia is all about, it throws more and more ludicrous twists at you. There are zombies rising out of mud and soil reminiscent of Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) with bugs crawling out of their mouths, there are robe-wearing cults like a throwback to To The Devil A Daughter (1976), and blood hungry vampires which are a throwback to Blood Bath (1966). In addition to this we have gruesome gore and brutal death scenes similar to Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Burial Ground (1981); this is a true throwback to the very best in top shelf horror entertainment from days gone by.

Maleficia has no filter and it is simply glorious because of it. With a run time of 100 minutes, you are getting a hell of a lot in terms of bang for your buck. You’ll find it hard to find a film on the market with as much blood, guts and sheer carnage. Despite its warnings and clear age restrictions for viewers, the film was made by a cast and crew of all ages and you can tell they all had a blast doing it. There are young kids dishing out brutal punishment while also being on the receiving end of savage killings; you’ll likely never see a film which is as ballsy as this.

Maleficia is the second film released in the Tetro Underground line (after Rot by Marcus Koch) and it sets the bar incredibly high. I’m extremely happy I’ve now discovered this amazing film thanks to TetroVideo releasing it.

Maleficia is an absolutely bonkers and uncompromising horror film which left me speechless and in awe of its brutality and practical effects. If you love gore and splatter, you owe it to yourself to pick this film up. Now I understand why director Antoine Pellissier is referred to as Dr Gore…

Score: 5/5

Maleficia is available to purchase on DVD via https://tetrovideo.com/shop/maleficia-tetro-underground-standard-slipcase-edition/