Here's some advice. Don't schedule a carpet fitting the same week as getting a Smart Meter fitted in your home, and only weeks after getting a complete house cleaning (which went so terribly, terribly wrong to boot). Don't do all this especially in the same month as you're trying to do 31 horror movie reviews, as you'll quickly realise that there are going to be some double review days in your future. It's all really quite absurd... which leads cunningly into today's review, Absurd (see what I did there?) - also known as Antropophagus 2, Monster Hunter, The Grim Reaper 2, Horrible and (for some reason) Zombie 6: Monster Hunter.
A priest chases a man through a wooded area until the man tries to climb a set of railings and ends up disembowelling himself, spilling his guts on the doorstep of a nearby house. The man is taken to hospital and operated on; he recovers remarkably quickly and escapes, killing a nurse with a medical drill along the way. The priest who was chasing him explains that the man, Mikos Stenopolis, was experimented on by the Vatican and has been given regenerative abilities; unfortunately, he was also driven insane and is now a homicidal maniac, and the priest is seeking to stop him and kill him via the only method that will work - "destroy[ing] the cerebral mass". Meanwhile, at the home that Mikos turned up at, the Bennetts are preparing to go to a nearby friend's house to watch the Super Bowl. Their daughter Katya is confined to bed and in traction due to a deviation in her spine, and her nurse Emily is due to stay the night to take care of her but gets delayed because of events at the hospital. The babysitter Peggy taunts the family's young son Willy by telling him that the man at the door was the Bogeyman and that he will eat Willy if he misbehaves, not knowing that Mikos is making his way back to the house with murderous intent...
From looking at some of the alternative titles of Absurd, you might think that it has some sort of connection with Anthropophagus, that 1980s film about a cannibal with a dreaded skin disease running amok on a Greek island, and you'd be half-right. Director of both, Joe D'Amato (here under the pseudonym Peter Newton) wanted to make a direct sequel to Anthropophagus and asked George Eastman to take part. Eastman, however, didn't want to do a sequel and agreed to only act; however, when he saw the script he felt it was so bad he decided to re-write it into "one of those American thrillers, Halloween style" (and did so under the name John Cart). And like Halloween it is, what with the stalking killer and references to "the Bogeyman" and even a stand-in for Dr Loomis chasing the killer throughout the film. Of course, it's not actually set at Halloween, lest they be accused of taking imitation a step too far - instead it's set on Super Bowl weekend, which also gives the opportunity for lots of filler scenes with a group of people dressed up far too well for watching a game on TV and snacking on pasta.
Absurd is also quite the who's who of Italian exploitation cinema. As well as George Eastman/Luigi Montefiori as Mikos, we have Annie Belle (The House on the Edge of the Park) as the quite saintly nurse Emily, Charles Borromel (one of the dubbing voices in Don't Torture a Duckling), an uncredited Michele Soavi (Stagefright) and Edward Purdom (Don't Open Till Christmas), just to mention a few. If I was playing Italian exploitation bingo, I think I'd have easily won with this film. Just about the only thing missing is Bob from The House by the Cemetary or Manhattan Baby in the role of Willy - instead, we get a dark curly-haired moppet for the cast to have to try and rescue, although he is still dubbed by an adult trying to do a child's voice.
For the most part, Absurd is pretty uninspired as far as early-era slashers go, not really bringing anything original to the table. The exception to this is the character and arc of daughter Katya, who spends the first two-thirds of the film confined to bed, and strapped down to boot. the scenes when she is desperately attempting to unstrap and unhook herself from the bed and traction machine as Mikos chases Willy and Emily around the house are really quite tense considering what they are (someone trying to undo leather belts without being able to see them), and when she inevitably becomes the Final Girl and has to face down Mikos she is really quite resourceful, using a drawing compass, loud music and eventually the axe from a convenient suit of armour to great effect.
Absurd was one of the "video nasties" in the UK, as one of the DPP's 39 titles successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act. While the film is full of heads being drilled, heads being bisected by butcher saws and heads being impaled with pickaxes, the scene that most probably got it into trouble is the one where Emily is caught by the killer and has her head forced into a gas oven which is then turned on. We then get to watch as, over several minutes, her face is slowly cooked by the heat - with the camera "inside" the oven for that nice close-up view. It's hard to explain that away as anything other than an exercise in torturing a woman for the enjoyment of the audience and goes on for far longer than is necessary.