CAPSULE: VEROTIKA (2019)

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Beware

DIRECTED BY: Glenn Danzig

FEATURING: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Haig, Scotch Hopkins

PLOT: Three tales of “violent eroti(k)a”: a woman’s albino spider kills when she sleeps, a stripper cuts off women’s faces, and a Countess bathes in blood.

Still from Veroitka (2019)

COMMENTS: I’ve got this crazy theory that heavy metal musicians should not be allowed to make horror movies as vanity projects. Sure, has directed a couple that weren’t totally embarrassing (and many more that were); after that, the field was slim… until Verotika comes along to (hopefully) put the final nail in the headbanger crossover coffin. You may have heard this film is bad. It’s worse than that. Watch it to the end and you’ll be begging for the sweet release of death.

Each of the three segments—adapted from Danzig’s horror comic series of the same name—is introduced by a nondescript goth chick, who’s comelier than the Cryptkeeper but has nowhere near the sense of humor (after gouging out a captive woman’s eyeballs in the opening, the best she can come up with is “Welcome, my darklings, this is Verotika.” Whatever happened to lines like “Welcome to our cornea-copia of horror, my pupils!”?)

The first story, “The Albino Spider of Dajette,” is the “best.” It features a French girl (Wisdom) with eyeballs on her nipples (a la Gothic). She also has an albino spider who turns anthropomorphic whenever she falls asleep and goes out and snaps hooker’s necks. Are these two freaky deformities related? No, it’s just an incredible coincidence that eye-nipple girl also owns a killer dream spider. The spider-man makeup is not bad, but he merely goes around killing random lingerie-clad women when his strawberry-shortcake-haired mistress dozes off at her S&M photoshoots or at the porn theater (where she goes to see a screening of Les Nue sans Visage to try to stay awake). By far, the funniest part is watching Wisdom try to express—well… any emotion—in a stereotypical Pepe le Pew accent. (Lines like “keeler… keeler… you… are a murderair!” are a lot funnier when delivered in a blasé French accent.)

Another plus is that “Albino Spider” is the only segment that has anything resembling a conclusion. If you wanted to stop watching after the first installment, you’d have my blessing. If you wanted to stop watching after the opening credits, even better. But if you soldier on, you’ll see that “Change of Face” is about a stripper who steals the faces of pretty girls with breast implants. It’s the kind of kink a serial killer might get up to in Psycho or Silence of the Lambs, but here, no reason is suggested for her actions. (Beat cop, standing over the bloody corpse of a face-stripped victim: “We’ve got nothing. Zero evidence, which means no leads or motive.” Detective: “There’s your motive. They wanted her face.”) The detective chases her, but she just moves to another gentlemen’s club and changes her stage name from “Mystery Girl” to “Mysteria.” Now, the heat will never catch up to her, and she will continue to de-face harlots for eternity.

After a while, we move on to the final story, “Drukija: Contessa of Blood.” Apparently threats of litigation from Elizabet Báthory’s estate made them change the protagonist’s name, but it’s the familiar old story of a decadent Eastern European noblewoman who buys up the local village virgins and bathes in their blood to keep up her youthful appearance (this was in the days before you could get two-day delivery on Pond’s Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle cream from Amazon.hu). This Countess also indulges in jugular showers, enlists the help of a wolf, and pulls the beating heart out of a nude girl. She doesn’t, however, follow any kind of plot arc—she starts out bleeding virgins, continues to bleed virgins, and ends up bleeding virgins. None of the locals care, and neither will you.

Birth. Movies. Death. suggested crowd-watching this atrocity on Twitter. As far as I can see, the response was about as enthusiastic as Ashley Wisdom’s line-readings after discovering her best friend has just been killed by an anthropomorphic spider. This isn’t the metalhead horror movie version of The Room, folks. It’ s not even Sharknado. You’ve been warned. Avoid. Avoid. AVOID.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“The inexplicable choices and illogical elements give the film a hypnotic vibe. Verotika is a thoroughly baffling work that has to be seen to be believed. And aficionados of movies that are crazy-town banana-pants absolutely should see it.”–Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat (festival screening)

4 thoughts on “CAPSULE: VEROTIKA (2019)”

  1. The last time Glenn Danzig did anything worthwhile was…..well, I can’t remember the last time he did anything worthwhile. But I was interested to see this because of Rachel Alig; she was the deformed woman in the underrated Cleaning Lady. In fact, just skip Danzig’s mess and watch The Cleaning Lady. It’s good creepy fun.

  2. Sounds like a movie right up Penguin Pete’s alley.

    (And I’m glad I got to enjoy my 1930s creature-feature instead.)

    1. You’re so not gonna believe this, but I showed up too late to save Greg. I’ve been crazy busy as always. I *did* take a stab at watching it anyway.

      The main problem with this movie is that video players start at the default 1x speed. Bump that baby up to 2x and it becomes almost sufferable. You won’t miss a thing either. That’s the biggest mistake here is that they must have scripted directly out of the comic book (RIP Heavy Metal, 1981). Comics, as we know, don’t have much room for dialog because the balloons block all the art. That’s why all the characters spit out their line and then stand there trying to be a comic book panel for a two minute frame.

      I was ready to grant this movie a huge free-pass based on Rob Zombie already setting my expectations low and the fact that I’m a total horror punk freak (Misfits is the band name to know here). It still bottomed out for me even then. Rob Zombie’s movies are muddled and dopey – but by God can that man ever compose a visual and a soundtrack! Verotika is also devoid of those saving graces.

      Meanwhile in an alternate timeline, Glenn Danzig’s anime adaptation Satanica got picked up and Verotika never happened (NSFW, H, A):

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBZ3uESCXN4

      You can clearly see better how Danzig wanted things to go. Of course, you can also clearly see that his main motivation is that the world just doesn’t have enough graphic demon rape in it. I’m sure the Japanese have a word for “Demon rape fetish” but I can’t be arsed.

      So, Glenn has mommy issues, film at 11.

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