Review by Dave Kaye
** ½ Out of 5
Release Date- October, 1981
Running Time- 96-Minutes
Screenplay- John Cart (George Eastman)
Director- Peter Newton (Joe D’Amato)
Starring- George Eastman, Annie Bell, Charles Borromel, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger and Edmund Purdom
Released in 1981 Absurd is a sequel of sorts to Anthropophagus released the previous year; Absurd isn’t very well known, but has built up a cult following and the plot for the movie is clearly inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween as it takes several plot points from that film and there are even many similarities to Halloween 2, but I’d say it’s just a coincidence since both movies were released the same year and the same month. Absurd was directed by Joe D’Amato under the name Peter Newton and I like some of D’Amato’s work, but in general I find most of his flicks to be sub-par with the exception of Beyond the Darkness, which I felt was an excellent flick.
Absurd also goes under the title of Horrible, which just might be a better fitting name for the movie; ok so maybe Absurd wasn’t horrible, but quite honestly I didn’t think it was very good. The movie has its moments, but more often than not I found myself a bit bored throughout most of the running time. We have a killer (Eastman) escaping from a hospital and roams around killing a couple of people before setting his sights on Emily (Bell) who is baby-sitting, meanwhile a Priest (Purdom) is on search for the unstoppable killer. So as you can see the movie takes its basic premise from Carpenter’s film and several times the little kid in the movie refers to the killer as the boogeyman.
The screenplay by George Eastman under the name John Cart is the standard slasher flick of its era; I’m a big fan of Italian horror flicks, but I often find the screenplays very lacking and true you can also say this about many of horror flicks of the 80s in particular slasher flicks, but for the most part I often find the Italian horror flicks to be some of the more weaker ones in terms of writing. The characters are rather one-dimensional and also kind of boring at times. I love Italian horror and many films out of Italy easily would rate as some of my all time favorites, but these movies at least in the 80s sure weren’t known for their writing.
The Priest is sort of the Dr. Loomis character, but the character is rather boring and goes MIA during the 2nd half of the movie, which isn’t much of a loss. The only real likeable character here was Emily who is pretty much a clone of Laurie Strode. As the writer Eastman doesn’t really add much to this flick to really separate it from Halloween and while there were other 80s slasher flicks that totally copied Halloween more so than this, but at the end of the day it’s one of the weaker Halloween clones.
Director Joe D’Amato delivers an uneven movie that has some decent atmosphere, but it can also be quite boring during most of the running time. Absurd lacks any real direction and both D’Amato & Eastman are quite content with taking elements from Halloween. Joe D’Amato is a cult favorite, but as I stated earlier I find most of his work to be sub-par and Absurd is no different. There really isn’t much happening here and the pacing is quite sluggish. But when there is some action D’Amato delivers the goods; Absurd isn’t the goriest flick I’ve seen, but most of the death scenes are brutal enough to satisfy.
Overall Absurd was a nice attempt, but the movie is lackluster that’s poorly paced with boring characters. Absurd has built up a nice cult following and while I understand why so many enjoyed it I just found it rather dull, but it does have some decent moments and George Eastman is fairly creepy as the villain, but the movie is brought down by the sub-par production.