★ out of ★★★★★
Danzig’s horror movie debut. No. Just no.
Directed by Glenn Danzig.
Glenn Danzig is good at many things. He founded the punk rock band The Misfits, he’s written music for the likes of Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash, and his first classical music album, Black Aria, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard classical music chart.
Unfortunately for anyone who’s made the mistake of watching his horror movie debut, Mr. Danzig won’t be adding screenwriter or director to his list of excellent skills any time soon.
Hoo, doggy! This was a tough one to sit through. When Verotika premiered at Chicago’s Cinepocalypse 2019, it was met with howls of laughter. So much so that the cast and crew who were there for an after-movie Q&A reportedly had to be convinced to come out on stage to field questions. “You guys laughed in some of the places I wouldn’t have, but that’s cool,” Danzig told the crowd.
Verotika — a combination of the words “violence” and “erotica” — gets its name from Danzig’s series of adult comic books. It was intended to be a shockingly crazy 3-story anthology along the same lines as Karloff’s Black Sabbath (1963) or Karen Black’s Trilogy of Terror (1975). And, structurally, Verotika is spot on.
The movie is made up of three unrelated segments tied together with commentary, bad puns, and introductions by scantily clad Morella [Kayden Kross; True Confessions of a Porn Starlet 2 (2018)]:
- The Albino Spider of Dajette.
Dajette [Ashley Wisdom; My Sexy Boss Likes Anal (2018)], a young (and, apparently, narcoleptic) woman with unblinking eyes where nipples are usually found cries when her paramour freaks out about her extra peepers. A tear from her sad mammaries lands on a computer generated albino spider and turns it into a giant, murderous man-spider [Scotch Hopkins; Blood Craft (2019)] that sounds like Pepé Le Pew.
- Change of Face.
An exotic dancer named “Mystery Girl” with a scarred face [Rachel Alig; The Cleaning Lady (2018)] steals other women’s faces in order to dance at a strip club with her face completely covered with a scarf anyway.
- Drukija Contessa of Blood.
Based on the story of Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed who’s considered to be the most prolific female serial killer in history. Drukija [Alice Tate; Reboot Camp (2020)] enjoys torture, murder, and bathing in the blood of virgins. Good times.
Sadly, meeting the requirements of a trilogy is literally the only thing Verotika gets right. Having never read any of the comics it’s based on, I can only hope Danzig’s writing for the books is far, far, far superior to what he came up with for the movie. The dialog is stilted, awkward, and clumsy and is only surpassed in its cringeworthiness by the acting.
The “acting” in Verotika is truly a thing of wonder. Every scene in the movie comes across like it’s the intro banter between performers in a porn film before the naked action starts. Granted, some of the actors in Verotika are porn stars so they might have an excuse, but the others? Maybe there was something in the water. Or, maybe it was flu season and they were all doped up on high doses of cold medicine. Whatever it was, I kept expecting their clothes to come off to some cheesy 70s funk.
Bow-chicka bow bow.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. What happened was, as many others have also stated, Glenn Danzig lovingly, purposefully, and completely unintentionally created the horror equivalent of The Room (2003). Though, with all the scenes that drag on and on and on (I’m looking at you, blood bath scene), Verotika is The Room‘s impossibly dull cousin. Danzig seemed determined to use every inch of film he shot. Pacing be damned; use it all!
If you’re a fan of bad movies, Verotika is one of those truly terrible movies that’s probably worth seeing with a room full of friends and a case of beer. Otherwise, steer clear of this one.
It’s a stinker.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.