Jun 17, 2011

Violent Shit II

Germans are so misunderstood. Their polarized and complex identity easily rivals the schizophrenic and more accepted Japanese culture. In reviewing Violent Shit II, I can't help but comment on the seedier, darker dynamic of German cinema. You can't learn everything about a group's culture from watching one film, but you can learn how some of how it ticks. And I think watching old school, SOV German gore porn is a great place to do this. The plot is simple: The son of the killer in the original Violent Shit must kill people to sexually satisfy his aging mother. What follows is a story worshiping bloodshed, the hatred of humanity, the sick preservation of physical dominance and the degradation of women... all with a joyful intensity. It can be nauseating, but it has a camp aspect that mocks the attitude it seems to be glorifying. This is what elevates it from something like the August Underground films. At one point the killer is carrying a corpse singing "I am the Greatest, I am the Best" and the film ends with goofy, blood-soaked outtakes and rainbow-colored titles! The film is mostly a loose collection of gritty, fetishistic murder sequences, but told with a furious lack of artistry and pretension and sporting a bizarre, complex psychology that makes it a supreme B-Movie in my book. I actually hated this film until watching it after Giuseppe Andrews' similar work "Period Piece". Violent Shit II is a fun, confessional, dirty little movie made for no one's entertainment but its filmmakers, and it works.

After WWII, the Germans, Japanese and Italians seemed compelled (out of guilt?) to showcase their darkest, most savage motives in their cinema. I think it's admirable that they never sugarcoat or downplay their sexism, shallowness, racism, rudeness or more moronic nature. If America had a voice this honest, we could address these issues openly and intelligently. This brutal honesty is what gives German art/entertainment their uniquely beautiful edge. It teaches me to be at peace with the dark animal nature and immorality that exists in everyone. Violent Shit II seems to be celebrating this and mocking this when the killer beheads a Japanese warrior a'la the Baby Cart movies and quips, "You were good, but I am better... I am Karl the Butcher... Junior!" (cue opening theme "VIOLENT!SHIT!"). The killer, Karl the Butcher Jr. (perfect name) is a great slasher character. He's a tall psycho with a body like concrete and a crude Iron Maiden mask. Karl Jr. has to be one of the first collage-type characters created to wear his influences on his sleeve, which is now common in a post-Tarantino world. He jokes like Freddy, looks like Jason and takes a sensual pleasure in his evil deeds like Leatherface. What is really charming is how the killer spends so much time belittling and taunting his victims. There can't be a more verbally abusive horror character out there, even if he's not the most clever or eloquent. My favorite bit is where Karl blasts a man's head apart and groans, "Bullseye, dickhead!"

Violent Shit II is a film you can put on, turn on MUTE and then play your favorite angry, vile or decadent piece of music. It's pure visual splendor: non-stop horrific simulated murders in grainy VHS detail with the occasional absurd subtitle like "Bye, Chubby. Say Hello to the worms". Violent Shit II is not really a slasher film in classic terms. It's more of a homemade work of video art. If John Waters was a younger, sexually repressed, heterosexual German, he might make films like Violent Shit II. I enjoyed Violent Shit II. Why? Because it constantly entertains. Its sensibilities should be so foreign to me, yet they hit home HARD. Of course I can only recommend it to very few types of film-goers: fans of lofi/low tech cinema, gore-hounds and the most cynical and nihilistic lovers of splatter. As poorly shot, sloppily edited and badly acted as it can get, Violent Shit II does what any good film does: It keeps you glued to the screen AND reminds us we are alive. 


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