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Review: VEROTIKA (2019)

I’ve been a fan of Danzig’s music since the days of The Misfits. Some of my ink is inspired by his songs. So even after the reviews trickled in from the festivals, I held out hope that Verotika wasn’t as bad as they said. That, like Blackacidevil, it was just misunderstood and unappreciated.

Well, I’ve seen it, and I’m in shock. Verotika isn’t just bad or even awful. It exists on its own level of ineptitude. Never mind The Room, this is deep into Ed Wood, Plan 9 from Outer Space territory. On second thought, Wood’s “erotic horror” Orgy Of The Dead is a better comparison.

Verotika is introduced by our hostess Morella (Kayden Kross, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance, Manuel Creampies Their Asses 3). She introduces the first segment while poking a bound woman’s eyes out with her fingernails. Fulci’s Zombi had a better eye-gouging scene, and that was 40 years ago.

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The first tale “The Albino Spider of Dajette” concerns Dajette (Ashley Wisdom) who has eyes where her nipples should be. This freaks out the guy she’s with, who bails out mid make out. This gives her breasts a sad, and they start to cry. One of their tears lands on a white spider and transforms it into a weird human/spider hybrid (Scotch Hopkins, Demon Protocol, 2 Jennifer) that comes out to kill every time she falls asleep.

Morella returns to make some bad puns, and we’re off to the second segment.

“Change of Face” features Rachel Alig (Chase, The Cleaning Lady) as Mystery Girl. She’s a stripper with a scarred face. So, instead of getting plastic surgery, she kills other women, cuts off their faces and wears them.

Morella reappears to utter a couple of words of wisdom, and then it’s time for the last segment.

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“Drukija Contessa of Blood” is, as you might guess, an Elizabeth Bathory type story. Drukija (Alice Tate) rides out across her domain to find virgins to bring back to her castle. Then she kills them and bathes in their blood.

Morella then bids up farewell from her own bloodbath. Why she’s wearing a see-through body stocking while in it, though is anyone’s guess.

Any of the three segments in Verotika could have been good, but Danzig’s insistence on doing everything himself and his way undercuts the film at every turn. “The Albino Spider of Dajette” for example is set in France. So, he has everyone talk in a stereotypical cartoon French accent. Pepe LePew sounds more French than these characters.

The second segment pads out its non-existent plot with lots of footage of the dancers in the club. And I say dancers because strippers take their clothes off. This lot stick to very unerotic bumping and grinding in skimpy outfits. Why bother?

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Verotika gets its title from a mashup of violence and erotica. The cast is full of porn stars. But the strippers keep their clothes on.

The effects range from passable to laughable. The shot of Drukija’s castle looks like it came from a 70s film. There’s a heart-ripping scene that produces an organ the size of a small child’s head. The nipple eyes are non-moving prosthetics. Ken Russel had a blinking one in Gothic back in the 80s.

And the less said about the spider creature with its two working arms and a bunch of nonmoving, obviously latex ones the better. Verotika is a horror film with an alleged million-dollar budget, shoddy effects like that are inexcusable.

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Despite all of its flaws, however, I couldn’t turn Verotika off. Its awfulness compels you to keep watching, maybe the constant fades to black between scenes hypnotized me. Or maybe it was a need to know what would go wrong next. There is some fun to be had playing spot the cameo as the likes of ex-pro wrestler Sean “X-Pac” Waltman and scream queen Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Bloody Ballet), James Cullen Bressack (Hate Crime, Blood Craft) and as, as noted, a horde of porn stars show up.

Danzig claimed Verotika would be shocking. It isn’t, it’s very tame in terms of both sexual and violent content. Even if the effects were up to par, the violence is standard horror movie fare. There’s nothing overly shocking about what is depicted. The only thing shocking about Verotika is how inept it is.

Verotika is currently available to stream. Cleopatra Entertainment will release it on Blu Ray and DVD on March 17th.

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