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/

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