Review: The Burning Moon (DVD)

2012/04/02 15:08:36 +00:00 | Derek Botelho

Up front, I will say that I am not a gore hound. I do not enjoy watching people get killed just for the fun of it. Preferably there is some kind of plot to get wrapped up in and characters that I am invested in. Then, if the film tends to be violent, I am more apt to accept what is happening to them as more than just gore for gore’s sake.

In all fairness, I did know what I was in for watching The Burning Moon, but the film’s reputation of being one of the most shocking and disgusting movies had me curious.

Olaf Ittenbach stars as a drug addicted punk who has a penchant for street fighting. One night he is asked by his parents to baby sit his younger sister and after getting high, he stumbles into her bedroom to tell her two bedtime stories that would even make Lucio Fulci sick.

The first story is titled Julia’s Love and is about a young girl who is just looking for a decent guy to date and boy does she know how to pick ‘em! The poor girl has a penchant for dating “crazy guys”, and she sure finds one in an escaped mental patient from a nearby hospital. By the time this story is over, someone’s eyeball has been shoved down another person’s throat (and we see it from inside the person’s mouth), another gets an enormous knife shoved through his head, and nearly everyone in the poor girl’s family has suffered in some manner. The special effects are obviously the real star here and for something made by amateurs; some of them are actually quite good and rival some of Tom Savini’s efforts (no, really).

The second story is called The Purity and tells the heart-warming story of a priest in a small town whom rapes and murders women by moonlight and preaches the gospel with the dawn. Well, needless to say, the film ends with a long, dialogue free, but gore laden sequence in hell that honestly shocked me. I don’t know how the girl in the movie could stand hearing these stories. Ittenbach could make a sequel and have her be the star as a crazed woman out on a rampage thanks to her older brother’s warping of her mind.

Regarding the making of this film, I can’t untangle the fact from myth. However, with a nasty little piece of work like this, isn’t the story behind it half the fun? Olaf Ittenbach wrote and directed The Burning Moon most likely in 1991 as the "making of" documentary that accompanies the film on the DVD has a date of 1992 on it. However, the film appears to have not been released until 1997 in certain territories and not in Germany until 1999, although the DVD box claims it was banned for twenty years in its homeland! I suspect the filmmakers generated much of the ballyhoo, but didn’t P.T. Barnum teach us all a very important lesson in self-promotion?

For a shot on video film from the early 1990’s it doesn’t look terrible. The 4x3 image does have quite a bit of smearing and noise, but the master tapes were probably none too better honestly. Colors are fairly flat, and detail level is hardly impressive, but considering the limitations, it’s a fine job by Intervision. The audio is another thing entirely. It appears the film was shot without live sound, and entirely post dubbed. I could be wrong, but if so, it’s a strange audio track that is very dead sounding. There isn’t much in the way of sound FX outside of loud noises and music. But again, for a low budget home grown product, it’s not bad.

The bonus feature on the disc is a 45-minute making of documentary made around the time the film was shot. It has a lot of behind the scenes footage intercut with talking head interviews of some of the creative team. It’s a bit slow, but a surprise that something like this even exists. So fans of the film should be happy.

While I didn’t enjoy watching this movie, I will admit that I admired the tremendous amount of work that went into this film. Granted the production values weren’t through the roof, but I am sure that most gore fans would enjoy the bounty of disgusting surprises awaiting them.

Film Score: 2/5 Disc Score: 3/5

*NSFW Warning: Images from the poster were used above, due to the graphic nature of the film. We've included a trailer for the film below, but it is definitely not safe for work or for those can't handle excessive gore.