Apr 7, 2011

Mad Mutilator


Now this is what I'm talking about. Mad Mutilator, no, Ogroff the Mad Mutilator (1983), is a film that brings me harking back to my heydays in the course of splatter cinema. An age in which most cinephiles discover and explore, leading them to extended bathing in celluloid excrement. Mad Mutilator is something I had been meaning to check out and a recommendation from a dear friend put Ogroff's mutilation onto the fast track of necessary viewing. Having time off during work surely befitted the experience of Mad Mutilator; that pounding pressure in the frontal lobe that needed to be exorcised with a crudely fashioned axe. Just what was I getting myself into? Mad Mutilator opens on a note of sheer esoterica with a car stopping and a bouncing, bubbly boy skipping into the forest. Like any radically redesigned filmmaker, N.G. Mount decides to begin his crude French slasher with our pivotal mutilator shedding the boy of mortal coil. For being a steaming heap of film dung, Mad Mutilator sure shelters something enjoyable under its hood, even if I can't quite put my finger on it. So what Mad Mutilator is, is a low-fidelity French splatter film whose crude upbringing really fosters a Violent Shit anti-aesthetic. It is a classic example of film degraded to the point of an untranslatable condition.

Other than offering the maiming of a child, Ogroff's daily duties of thinning out the French population offer many surprises, especially when the film turns over halfway. After dramatic chase effects and the slaying of teenagers playing chess in the plains, Ogroff heads to his cabin to gawk at a pin up whose literally pinned up with darts. After this, his post-edited grunts strike off a scene in which Ogroff's Axe becomes his personal phallic extension and proceeds to masturbate and fondle his own instrument of terror. Actually, Ogroff loves tasking his Axe with the nubile flesh of women. So much soft skin to be flayed, so little time. In fact, had he kill with sexual discrimination, meaning only women, a fetishistic satisfaction could be argued - his utilizing of the blade. This proves to be too much thought put into such a shallow pool of aggressive ideas, though. Another of Ogroff's hobbies isn't so much cannibalism as feeding his pets, namely a dog and several zombies under the rubble of his hut. Shown in brief scenes throwing ground beef under a steel trapdoor, this is later heavily emphasized when these zombies escape, turning a tale of a masked murderer into the making of a tragic anti-hero. Boy, Ogroff sure is a strange creature, one who fights for the lives of his victims. So much so that by films end, the term happy refuses to apply with our mutilator's fate.

Perhaps my favorite expression of Mad Mutilator's is the all-synth soundtrack whose inspirations spouts theremin influence and ethereal screams from past dimension X (must be). It is purely the soundtrack whose preeminence creates the shifting soiled tone of the film that sparks hints of atmosphere. Compiled with fluctuating bubbles, pops, and whistles, Mad Mutilator's soundtrack sounds as if it were concocted in an all-too literal "beat laboratory". Without the soundtrack of synth-science, Mad Mutilator would benefit from nothing. It would be the cinematic equivalent of a black hole. Already is there scare dialog but paired with the abscessed special effects (if you can call them that) you'd get a life-killing incident of slasher footage. Ogroff's visage depends entirely on his leather-sex-mask. His character is thankfully gifted with some remove of a psychopath but plays bumbling in several scenes, specifically when he gives up chase with the mother of the slain child only to turn around to witness the car pass her, thus preempting him to return with chase. In this and many other regards, it is possible to connect Ogroff with some form of autism, giving him leagues more depth. For certain reasons, Mad Mutilator's only real contribution to film is the wacky events that later give way to early elements of fan fiction and the fact that it is a French antique. One that can be cherished if quality isn't a token concern and Axe-havings benefit whatever sour mood you may be in. Mad Mutilator also predates the brutality that the cowardly French would later adopt as the crown of their influx of neo-horror films.

Even the story is ridden with faults. Mad Mutilator contains itself within the span of an afternoon or so it seems. Ogroff trails the roads, finding victim after victim. If math is given consent then his body count alone for a week would trim a large portion of rural France's population. Ogroff is the very personification of genocide - a cold, burly machine capable of unstoppable madness. This changes with the inclusion of the undead, however, as Ogroff is besmirched by his own pets and by films end, unknowingly becomes a shambling toxic creation of his own doing. Mad Mutilator doesn't stop there though. Near the final minutes of Ogroff do we find one of Ogroff's maidens being given a ride by a humble holy man who turns out to be of vampiric origins. The forest in which Ogroff resides must be of cursed soil. How else would so many myths, legends, and monsters thrive off what seems to be barren in regards to resources or wildlife? Don't mistake my tooting of Mad Mutilator's horn to hint achievement. No, Mad Mutilator compromises the very notion of tedium and even manages to make a chainsaw fight echo mundane. Past the inclusion of some strange figures, Mad Mutilator Béla Tarr instead decided to focus his long tracking shots on rookie dreams of cheap gore and Axe murders. Repetition, when employed passively, can benefit your acquisition of knowledge in many cases, even furthering dramatic effect. In Mad Mutilator, repetition will be your undoing. Many scenes prove to be expendable. In fact, an abridged version could only benefit the film. Although I am fairly partial to the ending, an ending in which Ogroff's morality can be questioned. Perhaps Ogroff "madly mutilates" to keep the zombies destructive appetites curbed. Maybe his daily duties of murder are but for the greater good, less these creatures of the night destroy the very fabric of society. But really, who cares if Ogroff is too stupid to distinguish life from zombie? If proven to do anything, Mad Mutilator's only ability is to force me to spend an awfully long time contemplating a film that I will inevitably hate, but with appreciation. 


1 comment:

Phantom of Pulp said...

The Bela Tarr reference got me. I haven't seen this. I guess I ought to.