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shock-o-rama presents
Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (Premutos, der Gefallene Engel) (1997)

"The flesh and blood of my fallen army has given me the power to assume my legacy."
- Premutos (Nicolaus Schmitt-Walter)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 14, 2002

Stars: André Stryi, Ella Wellman, Christopher Stacey, Anke Fabre
Other Stars: Fidelis Atuma, Heike Münstermann, Olaf Ittenbach, Ingrid Fischer, Frank Jerome, Hicolaus Schmitt-Walter, Brinke Stevens
Director: Olaf Ittenbach

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (extreme gore and violence, nudity, sexuality, language)
Run Time: 01h:46m:00s
Release Date: July 30, 2002
UPC: 612385523991
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C-BB- C

DVD Review

Ever since 1968, when George Romero demonstrated just how much money could be made with a cast of friends and a few thousand dollars through zombie mayhem, the horror film has become the preferred method of breaking into sleaze cinema. That this is not the case only in America is demonstrated by this wacky, blood-drenched gorefest from the addled mind of German Olaf Ittenbach.

After a pair of prologues setting up the notion of the angel Premutos who fell before Lucifer, the story proper begins in the modern day. Hapless Mathias (Ittenbach) is a whiny young man who is intimidated by his military-obsessed father Walter (Christopher Stacey, looking like a disreputable Stanley Kubrick). When Walter discovers the old book that contains the method of summoning Premutos back to life, the future quickly looks bleak, especially when Mathias starts reading from it. At Walter's birthday party that night, a motley group of friends gather. Hugo (André Stryi) and Edith (Anke Fabre) are constantly bickering, while Christian (Fidelis Atuma) wants to drink himself into a stupor, and Tanja (Ella Wellman) has eyes only for Hugo. Even after the dead start to rise and entrap the unhappy group (another unacknowledged debt to Romero), they're unable to put their differences behind them, leading to deadly and gruesome consequences.

The film seems to be a 100-minute demo reel of special effects with a skeleton of a story haphazardly slapped onto it. The first prologue in particular does little to advance the situation, and the second is far too long. The mayhem is nearly nonstop throughout, though, with pickaxes through the eye, exploding heads, devoured entrails and projectile vomiting coming fast and furious. I didn't check its accuracy, but I have no reason to doubt the kill count meter at the end that registers at "139." If you're looking for a film with the body count of a particularly vicious video game, you've come to the right place. The effects themselves are a mixed bag, with some blatantly fake ones (the projectile vomiting in particular) side by side with some that match the work of the best professionals in the business. The exploding heads in particular work well, as do most of the dismemberments.

The gore is played primarily for laughs, though, taking things way over the top much as Stuart Gordon did in Re-Animator. The humor is extremely dark and not all that funny, with some perfunctory slapstick thrown in for good measure. The black humor is further diluted by an extensive reenactment of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, which doesn't seem to serve any point at all beyond adding some pretension to an otherwise gorily enjoyable little picture. There are a few disturbing sequences, notably in the visions that Mathias begins to have. The film doesn't manage to be scary or even generate much in the way of tension.

That's partly the fault of the editing. Nearly all of the scenes are cut in a choppy manner that makes it extremely difficult to follow exactly what's supposed to be happening onscreen. This isn't aided by frequent "day for night" that is processed much too dark. The staging is extremely wooden and the acting is highly amateurish for the most part. The English dub is quite poor, though it does feature B-movie queen Brinke Stevens as one of the English voice artists, so her fans will definitely be interested. On the English track, half a dozen voice artists take on 139 roles, and the duplication really shows. Mobs seem to be composed of 2 or 3 people at most, leading to ridiculous results. The German track is dubbed just as poorly, however. A pedestrian synth score doesn't add much to the proceedings.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The full-frame picture appears to be the original format of shooting; matting to about 1.66:1 doesn't seem to do it an injury and probably would simulate European theatrical showings without losing much important onscreen information. Color is quite good throughout, with the reds of course being vibrant. Shadow detail is quite completely lacking and it's often impossible to make out what's happening onscreen, but that seems to be the fault of the filming rather than the transfer. Grain is evident, but it's not distracting. The source print is in very nice condition. This may well be as good as this ultra-low-budget film can look.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Germanyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track provides a fair amount of surround activity, with only minor hiss and noise. The dubbing doesn't sound in the least natural, though, but at least it's understandable for the most part. The synth score, while mediocre, often offers some credibly deep bass.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
24 Other Trailer(s) featuring Psycho Sisters, Demoness, Cremains, The Night Divides the Day, Demon Lust, Santa Claws, VAMPS, Possession of Nurse Sherri, Lethal Seduction, Roxanna, Pleasures of a Woman (1974), Pleasures of a Woman (2002), Female Animal, Master's Plaything, Inga, Seduction of Inga, Play-Mate of the Apes, Witchbabe: The Erotic Witch Project III, Erotic Witch Project II: Book of Seduction, Misty Mundae: Mummy Raider, TITanic 2000, Gladiator Eroticus, Sexy 6th Sense, Mistress Frankenstein
1 Documentaries
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:14m:36s

Extras Review: Besides a ton of trailers featuring the various schlockfests that make up Shock-O-Rama Cinema and Seduction Cinema's catalogs, the only real extra is a documentary (50m:21s) that apparently was made for German television. It's comprised of interviews with cast and crew, interspersed with footage from the film and behind-the-scenes material that provides a look at how some of the effects were accomplished. Mostly, however, it's a fluff piece with people endlessly talking about how fun the shoot was, despite not getting paid. It's better than nothing, but not terribly valuable. The speech is in German, with an English voiceover that translates, though often the voiceover goes to sleep. At one point Anke Fabre goes on and on and on and the translation comes out as a five word platitude. But the biggest omission here is English subtitles on the feature film. Why exactly would you bother with including the original German (commendable) and not follow up with a set of English subtitles? This omission really limits the utility of the extra original soundtrack for non-German speakers. Chaptering is okay, though it certainly could have been more generous.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

A mostly forgettable horror and gore opus, mostly notable for its relentless bloodletting and often convincing effects work. The transfer is okay, and the documentary's not bad, but why the heck would you include the German soundtrack but not any English subtitles?

 


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