Olaf Ittenbach. A name synonymous with over the top violence and gore. I haven't seen many of his films, but his earlier work definitely strikes more of a chord with me than his newer work. It seems that The Burning Moon, Olaf's second feature after A Black Past, stands as a test for horror fans so it seems. It's violence and brutality an endurance test for all who dare to view it. I used to read about this film all the time, with reviewers saying how it would turn your stomach and make you vomit again and again. I took the plunge around a year ago, and ordered myself The Burning Moon for a low price from Amazon. Having only previously seen Legion of the Damned, and being thoroughly disappointed with that film, I really didn't know what to expect.
Thankfully, not only does The Burning Moon live up to it's reputation as a total gore fest, it is also a rather good movie in itself. It focuses on a drug taking delinquent, who has been left to babysit his younger sister. He tells her two bedtime stories. Both are extremely disturbing. One, which is called 'Julia's Love', tells of a woman who goes on a blind date with a serial killer, and the other, which is called 'The Purity', tells the story of a psychotic, perverted priest.
The things that happen in this film are some of the most depraved, sickening and downright bloodthirsty acts of viciousness that have ever been committed to tape (the whole film is shot on video). Decapitations, stabbings, dismemberment, disemboweling, this movie has it all. That isn't to say it relies just on gore. There are two very good stories contained within, and the wrap around story is particularly nasty. It really does feature the stuff of nightmares, and shows you every death and injury in graphic detail. For a film with a low budget, Ittenbach works miracles here in the special FX department. Everything looks so disturbing, so real that it cannot fail to turn the viewers stomach again and again
The composition of the shots certainly doesn't look amateur, and suits the nihilistic and aggressive tone the movie portrays. This film really is the visual embodiment of misanthropy. Never has a movie felt so gleefully nasty, so enjoyable in it's depravity. It also features one of the most sadistic and depraved visits to Hell since Coffin Joe took us there in 'This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse'. The ending to the film blasts the viewer with complete hopelessness that makes the film much more serious after all of the splatter on show.
While The Burning Moon is best seen as a display for just how vulgar and disturbing horror has become, it is also a trip into a depraved mind, the gore and violence being the icing on the cake. This is a film for anyone who loves seeing gallons of blood being thrown about, and anyone who enjoys misanthropy in cinematic form. I can recommend this movie as being one of the greatest shot on video movies, and one of the greatest German splatter films that I have ever seen.