After a couple of delays, Intervision’s highly anticipated DVD release of The Burning Moon, a film that was, according to the trailer, “banned in 14 countries”, is finally here. This already classic German gore-fest was filmed back in 1997, but it feels like it’s from a time and place all its own. It shares the lo-tech, but highly imaginative nature of our country’s own low budget regional horror outings of the 1980s that have come into vogue in recent years (see: The Basement, Boarding House, Video Violence, etc). And, like many of those films, it unfolds within the confines of a frame story thus allowing writer/director Olaf Ittenbach the chance to showcase a variety of ideas and techniques, all of which end in copious amounts of gleefully shameless bloodshed.
A loser drug addict (Ittenbach) who still lives with his parents is tasked with babysitting his younger sister for the night. He gets high on heroin and forces his sibling to endure two excessively bloody bedtime stories. The first, titled Julia’s Love, focuses on a schizophrenic who escapes an insane asylum and goes on a killing spree dressed in a puffy white trench coat. He meets the titular heroine on a date, I’m not sure exactly how that was arranged, and is soon slashing his way into her heart. The sequence is filled with bad pop music, gloriously inexplicable flashbacks, and some truly bizarre dialogue (“I want you to absorb all my love juice”) that all contribute to the difficult-to-describe charm of the whole affair in which awkward closeups and inappropriate cutaways are easily forgivable. It also features a memorable sequence in which a woman is force fed an eyeball, the ingestion of which is seen from her stomach’s POV. Creative stuff. The second half of the film, titled The Purity, is set in 1957 and focuses upon a priest who is torn between a metaphorical God and a literal Devil. Things progress rather slowly at first, but this heavily sacrilegious tale soon takes a turn towards the insane as it climaxes in a gore-soaked nightmare in which teeth are drilled, flesh is pulled, and limbs are decapitated in manners never before seen. It’s the type of scene you’ll show off to your friends and is definitely the film’s main attraction amongst horror hounds. The framing sequence has the darkest of endings, which is pretty much expected by that point.
Special features: While it’s a bit much for the casual viewer, the 46 minute Making of… reveals the artistry behind the makeup and stunts and features sit-down interviews with the director and various crew members. Their enthusiasm is infectious and their production methods will definitely serve as an inspiration for aspiring horror directors (though honestly, the world doesn’t need another Burning Moon, let’s just call it quits right here). The DVD also includes the film’s trailer and previews for additional Intervision releases.
The Burning Moon debuts on DVD tomorrow (Tuesday, March 13).
Author: Eric Bresler
Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of Cinedelphia.com whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.