You're stuck inside, you might as well get a laugh out of this horror anthology 

Best of the Worst

Glenn Danzig's Verotika just might be funny in all the wrong places

Courtesy Cleopatra Entertainment

Glenn Danzig's Verotika just might be funny in all the wrong places

Almost a year ago, I heard Glenn Danzig premiered his passion project at Chicago's Cinepocalypse film festival. The horror anthology, Verotika, based on his comic book series, was introduced by the former Misfits frontman himself with a Q&A afterwards. After the film ended, he responded to the audience's reaction with a seemingly subdued: "You guys laughed at the stuff I wouldn't have laughed at."

What's better is that Danzig, such a fan of the legendary Ed Wood that he named his old record label Plan 9, seemed to be rolling with the accidental attention the film was getting. He even used the backhanded reviews in the film's trailer for the Blu-Ray/on-demand release. I was definitely on board, even pre-ordering the movie the very moment it became available. As usual, I fell for the movie nerd hype and now I'm looking at this Blu-Ray/DVD/CD combo and wondering what better things I could have spent the money on. I could have been like ol' GD himself and bought a new box of Fresh Step cat litter with that money.

Speaking of litter, this anthology kind of has a plot. I take a stab at it:

"The Albino Spider of Dajette"

click to enlarge COURTESY CLEOPATRA ENTERTAINMENT
  • Courtesy Cleopatra Entertainment

Dajette is a lonely, bosom-y French woman with eyeballs for nipples that cry tears that then turn into a spider that grows into an albino Spiderman of sorts. You read that correctly — boob eyes. When the humanoid spider guy is born, he and Dajette share a psychic link. Each time he trolls the streets of France, he commits crimes. She sees said crimes. This happens a few times until it ends. It should be noted that every character in this story sounds like a character from a Pepe Le Pew cartoon. Spiderguy clearly has a hole in the crotch of his costume. And only two of his six arms ever move. Also, based on a little research, I think boob-eyes lady is dating or married to Danzig.

"Change of Face"

In this Eyes Without a Face update the lead character, Mystery Woman, rips faces off women, then wears the faces at her exotic dancing job — even though she wears a mask the whole time. That begs the obvious question: Why rip off faces of women if you're not even letting people see your new face? She repeats this action when the faces lose their luster. There's also a cop that sounds a bit like McGruff the Crime Dog at times. When he asks a cop, "What happened to her face?" he sounds more annoyed and grossed out than concerned. About half the story is padded out with strip club footage set to music (including a Danzig song).

"Drukija Contessa of Blood"

click to enlarge COURTESY CLEOPATRA ENTERTAINMENT
  • Courtesy Cleopatra Entertainment

In this segment, a Countess Bathory-type named Drukija stalks the olden times of Europe ( I think?). Her subjects bring young women to her so she can bathe in the nubile victims' blood. This happens over and over and over. The scenes, like those in the other segments, go on so long that you can almost see the actors wondering when someone is going to yell cut. That cut never happens and we're left to just watch each scene peter out.

Like the actresses' clothing in the film, each story sheds more plot with each successive vignette. You could say the film is a window into the mind of a filmmaker's stuck-in-adolescence worldview. But unlike The Room and Birdemic, it got more and more boring with each story. It's the perfect example of execution and intent being two completely different things. Making movies is hard stuff. With that being said, Danzig has money. In the behind-the-scenes stills, he is clearly using at least two kickass high end cameras.

It seems like he has a crew. He could have hired people to make sure that the scenes don't look so flat, that the digital VFX aren't laughably bad, that the line deliveries don't come off clunky and that the overall tone and aesthetics don't rival porn. Then again, maybe he meant for some of this to feel meandering, sexist, and cheap? Maybe it's supposed to be a callback to that '70s/'80s softcore era of filmmaking that Jesus Franco (Vampyros Lesbos) and Jean Rollin (The Living Dead Girl) sometimes made? I can definitely see the Mario Bava (Black Sabbath) influence. Considering the ample nudity of the film's sex objects, the lurid rock montages, and extreme gore, I'm super curious what adolescent me would have thought of this.

Whatever. I wish I had been at the Cinepocalypse screening. It sounded like a hell of a time. Maybe it was a lightning in a bottle moment. I watched it. Alone. I don't suggest doing that... If you must give in to curiosity, for the love of whatever deity/belief you subscribe to, watch it with friends and beer. Plenty of beer. Maybe then it will be fun to watch?

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