[All images: Cleopatra Entertainment]


01:00 April 12, 2020
By: David Vicari

Musician Glenn Danzig (The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig) has turned to feature filmmaking with the horror anthology Verotika, which is based or his own erotic horror comic books. What Verotika indicates is that Danzig doesn't quite comprehend the basics of filmmaking, such as cinematography, editing, blocking, continuity, and storytelling. This thing is an unholy mess. Occasionally, there is some inventive Mario Bava-inspired lighting, but don't get me started on the distracting lens flares.

The movie is populated mostly by porn stars, which wouldn't be a problem if they could act. I mean, David Cronenberg cast adult film star Marilyn Chambers in his 1977 shocker Rabid to great effect. The actresses here are terrible.

The stories are set up by witch Morella (Kayden Kross), who is a much foxier version than Tales from the Crypt's the Crypt Keeper, though she is far less animated. First up is The Albino Spider of Dajette, in which everyone speaks with lousy French accents. Dajette (Ashley Wisdom) has eyes where her nipples should be, and when her male suitor runs away in horror, she says, "Not again," then a tear from her nipple eye falls onto a bad CG spider. The insect grows into a man-spider thing (Scotch Hopkins) who wants to rape women and snap their necks, but he can only do these nefarious deeds when Dajette is sleeping.

The second segment, Change of Face, is a crummy rip-off of the excellent and haunting 1960 French film Eyes Without a Face. In Change of Face, stripper Mystery Girl (Rachel Alig) slices off the faces of prostitutes to wear over her own disfigured one. Cops straight out of Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) are on the case. To pad it out, we get to see Mystery Girl do her stage routine twice, which consists of her wearing a hooded cloak and swinging on a pole.

In the final story, Drukija, Contessa of Blood, the countess in question (Alice Tate) bathes in the blood of virgins to keep her youth. That's it. No plot complications or anything. We see her take a bath in blood, which lasts a whole five minutes.

I can't convey how truly inept this movie is, but I will try. In the Spider segment, you can see the rubber monster spider suit coming apart, and at one point, the police tell the killer spider to "Let go of her neck!", yet the victim is lying on the floor several feet away.

In Change of Face, Mystery Girl sneaks up behind a policeman, puts her arm around his neck, then slashes his chin. Cut to a close-up of the cop's gun shooting at something in front of him. But she's behind him! It makes no sense editorially. Early reviews have compared Verotika to Tommy Wiseau's The Room (2003). While there are lulls in The Room, the unintentional comedy is fairly consistent. Verotika's Spider segment contains some accidental laughs and is the best/funniest of the bunch, but the second and third segments are deadeningly dull. Verotika is available digitally and on disc.

ZERO Stars (Out of Four)

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