Released by: Synapse Films
Released on: April 11th, 2017.
Director: Andreas Schnaas
Cast: Andreas Schnaas, Gabi Bazner, Wolfgang Hinz, Steve Aquilina
Purchase From Amazon
The notorious low budget German SOV gore series lives again thanks to Synapse Films in this brand new Violent Shit Collection three disc DVD collection.
Shot in 1989 on a Video-8 camcorder, the original Violent Shit starts off with a scene in which a young boy plays out in the woods with a red ball. Bad video effects are all over this sequence as the opening credits start…. and continue… and then keep going some more. Eventually this kid gets to his house where his mom bitches at him for staying out too long. Bad move – the kid grabs a cleaver and makes short work of her. This kid is Karl, and soon, after he talks to Satan, he’ll become better known as mass murdered Karl The Butcher Shitter!
See, Karl went to prison after chopping up his mom, but not too long after that he escaped and once again, he’s got a taste for blood. It starts when he busts out of the Police Van that’s escorting him somewhere. One of the guards has to take a leak so they stop, at which point Karl takes them out fast and ugly. He runs into the woods, gets himself another cleaver and a funny metal mask, and starts finding more people to kill. As he does, we lay witness to a series of poorly done flashbacks and odd religious vignettes, culminating in a sequence where Karl slices open the stomach of Christ, who is being crucified on the cross, and climbs on in. Then later a guy in a D.R.I. jacket gets his dick ripped off and a woman gets stabbed in the vagina and sliced open from there. Can Karl be stopped?
This one way overuses some pretty bad late 80’s video effects but it definitely delivers in the gore department. Made for peanuts, the picture nevertheless leaves nothing to the imagination. None of the acting is any good and the score is periodically grating. The camera work is bad as is the audio and there really isn’t much of a story here. Still, director Andreas Schnaas and company are definitely inspired when it comes to the carnage and the bloodshed that serve as the movie’s only real reason for existing in the first place. You’ve got to admire the creativity and determination on display here!
VIOLENT SHIT II: MOTHER HOLD MY HAND:
This first sequel is set twenty years after the original film. Now, Karl the Butcher Jr. (played by Schnaas himself) picks up where his father has left off. But first – a drug deal of some sort goes south resulting in a lengthy, poorly shot kung-fu battle! Getting back to Karl Jr., it’s his birthday and what does his mom give him as a gift? A machete! Once he gets this, it’s time for another killing spree.
Meanwhile, a nosy reporter is snooping about trying to get the scoop on what the public believes to be a series of copycat killings. As this plays out, Karl Jr. slashes his way through a group of campers, brings a few of his new playthings back to home base to torture in front of his mom. Then at one point he works out in front of her and then goes down on her.
At this point in the series it’s clear that whatever serious intentions Schnaas may have had with this first entry have been tossed out the window. This one is gross and crass and pretty goofy, but some of the humor, as juvenile as it is, well you can’t help but laugh at it. The end credits are also worth mentioning
VIOLENT SHIT III: INFANTRY OF DOOM (a.k.a. ZOMBIE DOOM):
Violent Shit Part III, previously released on DVD by Pop Cinema as Zombie Doom, starts off with three men who end up stranded on an isolated island. There they are captured by a group of soldiers wearing bizarre metal masks who take them back to their leader, Karl The Butcher, also known as ‘The Meister.’
Meanwhile, Dr. Senius, a mad scientist of sorts, has been working around the clock to learn how to successfully reanimate the dead so that ‘The Meister’ can create an army of zombies to take over the world. ‘The Meister’ gives the three captured men a sporting chance and sets them loose, only to have his men hunt them down. Luckily, they team up with a local group of rebel ninjas who want nothing more than to bring down the army. Lots of odd fighting and kung-fu ensues, people are killed, and nothing really makes a whole lot of sense. Ever.
Like the second film, the attempts at humor are far more obvious here than in the first movie. Mixing up the martial arts that Schnaas worked into the second film is a nice touch while the whole ‘Most Dangerous Game’ thing that the story attempts to pull off… well it doesn’t quite come together. But again, they tried, and you can’t help but snicker at just how over the top and ridiculous it all is.
Again, the film’s chief redeeming factor is the gore - there’s lots of it. The effects are pretty amateurish at times, and they’re rarely convincing, but at least they entertain in the way that a lot of low budget gore effects tend to do. If Schnaas had any kind of budget and proper equipment and actors, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him churn out something genuinely impressive, as he really does attempt to bring an ambitious horror movie to the small screen here. The guy is nothing if not ambitious.
VIOLENT SHIT 4.0: KARL THE BUTCHER VS. AXE:
The fourth and so far final entry in the series (excluding Violent Shit: The Movie, which is more of a remake/reimaging than anything else and which was not directed by Schnaas) takes place in the dystopian future of 2023. In this alternate world, the planet has become a wasteland and gangs roam the streets. Into this apocalypse comes Karl the Butcher Jr. (Schnaas again), back from Hell complete with his trademark mask and a big shiny knife. The reason for his return? To show a competing serial killer known only as Axe (played by Rose) why he is the best of the best!
So various gangs and random loaners wander around this wasteland only to get killed off by Karl or Axe, right? Right! There’s not much more to it than that, proving that if Schnaas got a bit glossier this time around thanks to the advent of digital technology, he still kept the ethos of the film in the same vein as the first three entries.
Co-directed by Schnaas and Timo Rose, this one is surprisingly restrained in the gore department until we get to the big finish, at which point, yeah, this is definitely a Violent Shit movie. The attempts at humor in this one aren’t particularly good but it does contain some nice looking naked ladies, some of whom wrestle, unfortunately, this one ends the series on a low note – somehow it lacks the fun factor of the original trilogy.
The first and fourth films are presented in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen, the second and third are in 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen. Each film has been ‘newly remastered by its producer’ but keep your expectations in check. The fourth film looks considerably glossier and nicer than the first three, but that’s because it’s newer and was shot on HD digital video – the first three movies are analogue all the way, and they look like the tape sourced transfers that they are.
Each of the four movies is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, the first three in their original German language with optional English subtitles and the fourth in its original English language. Audio quality on the first Violent Shit movie is especially bad, it sounds like it was recorded inside a tin can. The other films don’t sound good, but they do definitely sound better. Again, you can’t polish a turd – the micro-budget origins of these movies cannot and should not be erased. They sound like the shot on a camcorder projects that they are.
The main extra in the set is a third disc including Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence, which was supposedly shot for a cool two grand in 1991 in between the first two Violent Shit features. It is another shot on video effort from Schnaas and it’s fairly terrible. The film suffers from the worst dubbing you’ll ever hear. The main character is dubbed with some sort of Blaxploitation style voice over and although I’m sure it was an attempt at humor, it comes across as ridiculous and takes away from whatever atmosphere the film might have otherwise created – so don’t judge it on those merits, as clearly you’re not intended to take any of this seriously. Again, like Schnaas’ other early efforts it has some good gore scenes, and it shows promise from Schnaas as a director, but the dubbing is soooooooooooo bad (and equally nonsensicial – where these guys just making it up as they went along?) and the film’s microscopic budget really shows through in almost every scene. Depending on your tastes you’ll either find it charming in a stupid sort of way (in which case, let’s be friends) or you’ll find it completely unwatchable.
As to the plot? A plane crashes, some chemicals spill out and zombies start rampaging. A doctor and his pal, Simon, see the patient that they’re operating on become a zombie right before their eyes, so they shoot him and then take it upon themselves to stop this horrible plague. Later a zombie uses a chainsaw to cut a motorist in half, a lady gets her breasts cut off by zombies in a bathroom (only to be bisected afterwards – ouch) and then a zombie with an axe kills a guy pushing a lady in a wheelchair, then the lady in the wheelchair, then the baby she was holding who is inexplicably named Leroy Bob – and then someone’s dick gets cut off and run over by a car. Meanwhile the doctor has weird dreams and eventually he and Simon try to do something.
Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence arrives on DVD in a 1.33.1 fullframe transfer taken from an original PAL 1” master given to Synapse by Cinematographer Steve Aquilina. It is presented in English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The quality here is about on par with the four feature films that make up the bulk of this collection. The Fulci inspiration here is obvious, but what’s also obvious is that Schnaas had neither the budget nor the talent of ol’ Lucio – but that didn’t stop him, thankfully.
Also included on the fourth disc is sixteen minutes of footage from Violent Shit IV’s German premiere, a ten minute behind the scene featurette that mostly shows off the gore scenes being shot, a teaser for VS IV and a trailer for VS IV. All three discs in the set include menus and chapter selection.
The packaging noted that this set would include liner notes from Ted Geoghegan but there were no liner notes found in the copy sent for review.
The Final Word:
The Violent Shit Collection is the very definition of rough around the edges, but you can have fun with the first three movies if you’re in the right frame of mind for it, and Zombie ’90 is somehow… mesmerizing? Sure, let’s go with that. The presentation here is what it is and if the set isn’t stacked with extras, there are a few supplements here for fans.