Necrostorm/Giulio De Santi    

Necrostorm is an Italian production company founded by Giulio De Santi with a focused vision to create movies, video games and cartoons with a dark comic-book, manga, and 80s feel, backed by state-of-the-art special effects, and packed full of endlessly creative over-the-top splatter and extreme content. They have managed to create a unique and new form of entertainment, much like H.G. Lewis, Fulci, Yuzna and Screaming Mad George did in their time. Continuing this line of gore pioneers, Necrostorm (and also Nishimura) are the new kings of splatter. Their movies combine dark sci-fi or horror settings and characters, comic-book heroes and villains, ubiquitously ugly mutant faces straight out of a twisted cartoon, and seamless splatter effects that turn the human body into an endless source of crushed, slashed, smashed, torn, melted, scorched, exploding, warped body parts, including endlessly creative ways to crush or rip apart heads with buckets of blood and goo. Unfortunately, the focus is only on the visual style and special effects with as many uniquely violent sequences as possible even if they are repetitive in tone, and not on creating personalities or interesting developing plots. But they achieve what they aimed for and are very entertaining as long as your expectations are compatible. After several movies however, it just deteriorated into splatter-porn and computer-game gore rather than coherent horror movies. Reviewed until 2019.

Of Some Interest

Adam Chaplin  
If you're tired of low-budget Euro-splatter movies that don't put in any effort to make something new, then this may just be what you need. This is an Italian cartoonish manga-esque gore-action movie that is sometimes reminiscent of the insane Japanese splatter movies by Nishimura or an 80s splatter flick throwback, but it's actually got a style of its own. Like Story of Ricky, it's all about fights and gore though, and the creative splatter-damage that can be inflicted during fights, so don't expect any splatstick or a proper story. The movie also revels in ugliness, with every character sporting a mutation, a skin-disease, freakish scars, or a severe case of the uglies, with the big bad boss basically consisting of a mass of deformities holding hands under a mask. Adam is the protagonist, a muscular brooding type out for revenge for his burned-alive girlfriend, that enlisted a demon-creature to hide in his flesh to give him super-human strength. This he uses to bash faces to a literal pulp, crush bones, impale, rip off limbs, etc. mostly with superb effects, as well as some weaker computer effects. Flaws include the loose structure and pacing of the movie, and the terribly distracting dubbing job (why do so many Italian movies dub their own movies?) that always sounds artificial and usually doesn't match what's on-screen. A must-see for gorehounds, and almost great.

Hotel Inferno  
Necrostorm's third outing is a technical triumph but a very empty-headed and pretty obnoxious movie overall. The gimmick here is that it looks and feels exactly like a first-person-shooter computer game, except that the sets and people are live, and the violence is very extreme splatter. A hit-man is sent to a hotel to perform a very specific kind of gruesome killing while his hiring boss talks to him via various devices. He soon realizes that something is wrong and it erupts into a one-man war against an army of followers, many of them mutated, insane and diseased, until the final (disappointing) monster. As with previous Necrostorm movies, there are dozens of unique kills, each a splatter extravaganza involving gallons of blood, crushed heads and squishy body parts. The first-person viewpoint can get hard on the eyes, but it amusingly reproduces the ridiculous computer-game-logic where your enemies can't see you unless you face them directly, and you keep picking up new weapons and moving into different rooms, caverns and outdoor locations, all part of a hotel-building complex. Chase, splatter-kill, fight, hide, run, repeat & rinse for 80 minutes. Like I said: Tedious, but the reproduction of a computer game with long takes, and the amazing work put into making all of the splattery effects as seamless as possible are very impressive indeed.

Surprisingly, De Santi goes for a more relatively realistic, but brutal, crime-revenge movie this time. But seeing as his other movies are as over-the-top as can possible be in their cartoonish and splattery extremism, that isn't saying much. At first, this movie goes for more realistic violence, and the brutality is even more intense despite, or because of, its relative restraint. But De Santi can't seem to hold back for long. A violent ex-con tracks down his back-stabbing brother after being released from prison, finding out that he has gotten involved with a criminal gang of snuff movie-makers. He smashes, slashes, tortures, burns, crushes and rips open everyone on the way to his goal. At the same time, a brooding man whose wife was brutally scalped in front of him tracks down the criminal snuff movie-maker boss, contacts him under pretense that he is interested in his business, and gets himself invited to his house. Since this is a De Santi movie, these two men out for revenge turn out to be more violent and sadistic than the group making the snuff movies, and their paths cross in a surprising explosive encounter. The characters are a bit more fleshy this time for a De Santi movie. This and the plot make this one of the best Necrostorm movies so far, but it is also very different and doesn't have that dark comic-book feel. For fans of unrelenting dark brutal violence and extreme gore only.

Mildew from Planet Xonader, The  
De Santi does something a bit different here: Buy a ready movie and revamp it with Necrostorm-style gore. In this case, the movie is a cheesy horror b-movie called Mold! The plot is about a research lab that develops a mold/fungus weapon to eat the enemy supplies, except, of course, it goes out of control and takes over humans with terrifying and grisly consequences. While the military is visiting the lab, the mold breaks out of course, and and chief decides to use the humans as experiments, as they always do in movies like these. De Santi makes some minor changes to the plot, adds a whole new subplot concerning a hi-tech mad soldier that is attacking the facility to steal the weapon, but mostly just adds tons of extreme over-the-top splatter. Although some scenes, especially the new subplot, look somewhat different, this cheesy splatter flick can be enjoyed as is. Since this is Necrostorm, the mold illogically attacks in completely different ways every time, which gives the special-effects crew free creative reign. Bodies grow mold and hair, explode, mutate in a variety of ways, melt, fall apart, often all at once, in gruesome detail. There are also mutated mold zombies and mice, re-animated monster hands, and that doesn't include the splattery ultra-violence the soldiers perform on each other.

Taeter City  
This follow-up to Adam Chaplin delivers more of the same stylized ultra-gore in a cartoonishly ugly, entertaining and extreme movie. The setting is the future where The Autority (sic) has taken over society by automatically identifying potential criminals wherever they are before they commit crimes, auto-altering their brains to inflict self-harm instead using 'Zeed' waves, then sending law-enforcement bikers with high-tech weaponry to dispatch the criminals in gruesome ways before turning them into hamburgers and feeding them to the population. Amidst this super-controlling corporation, a mutant arises that has become superhuman thanks to the Zeed waves and causes chaos by creating other mutants and turning them against The Autority, resulting in a war of splatterific proportions. This is not your grandfather's dystopia. The movie does a lot with its limited budget, depicting the future in stylish cinematography with a rich imagination and variety of gadgets, but it is very low on plot, realism, personality and wit. In between the splattery mayhem, there are way too many crudely over-the-top satirical but obnoxious commercials. Every kill scene is a unique gore center-piece and there are many dozens of these. Bodies are smashed, exploded, split open, crushed, drilled, twisted, gouged, etc etc. Visually stylish, but braindead entertainment for people that like their comic books live-action, very splattery and superficial.


Hotel Inferno 2: The Cathedral of Pain  
Well if this is the only direction that Necrostorm is interested in now then count me disappointed. This is more tedious, plotless and characterless first-person video-game nonsense. A man finds himself in hell and has to find his way out with the help of a locally imprisoned witch who gives him instructions every step of the way. It's also somewhat disappointing to see that video games haven't progressed much since the pioneers. Take the cursing macho character of Duke Nukem, a location like Doom, except much more hellish and grotesque, and some atmosphere and puzzle-solving from Myst, and throw in Necrostorm extreme splatter effects, and you get this. He goes from room to room, killing grotesque hellish demons in extremely gory ways, each one a unique splattery experience (one demon drops babies which he uses to beat it to a bloody squishy pulp), digs into tortured torn-apart corpses for keys, solves dark little meaningless puzzles, etc, all to collect the five parts of his soul and win the gam... I mean end the movie. Splattery creativity aside, this is a dull experience, exactly like watching someone else playing a long game.

Produced from Necrostorm and directed by Emanuele De Santi, this is bound to disappoint since it has relatively very little splatter and focuses more on building tension rather than on action and brutal violence. But even on its own terms, I found it too weak, with severe pacing issues that lets its audience wander off rather than build tension, a lack of development of its ideas, and a very unsatisfying ending. There is a strange group of street-performers, with a bizarre box of nails and a nail-gun, that harasses passers-by for money. One woman with a pet dog makes the mistake of reacting badly to one of them, and the rest of the movie tries and fails to build tension showing her at home with her (annoying) dog while she slowly realizes they may be stalking her. What the street performers are and what they are about is never explored, and there is some Necrostorm-style splatter involving severe damage done by nails, but only in the beginning and end.

Little Necro Red  
This sees De Santi and Co. returning to the more narrative-oriented extreme-splatter-cult-horror film-making similar to Adam Chaplin, rather than the computer-game splatter he's been making lately. Unfortunately it is completely incoherent. For the majority of the movie there are random extreme brutality and splatter scenes intermixed with snippets of a back-story about a mother who's girl disappeared and who may have been kidnapped by a cult. At the end there is finally an explanation that puts all of the scenes within a story and structure, except that the story makes no sense. It's just random stuff about curses, an ultra-violent serial-killer with superhuman strength, obscure very gruesome rituals performed by a rotting grandmother, affairs, family secrets, abuse at school and revenge, and whatnot. The trademark very extreme Necrostorm splatter, as usual, is here in droves and is top-notch and extremely gruesome, varied, and 'realistic'-looking. But all this computer-game nonsense seems to have reduced the writing to the back-back-burner to the point of irrelevance. It's basically splatter-porn, albeit with unique and amazingly well done splatter. Count me disappointed.

Suite 313  
Similar to Hotel Inferno, this is another computer-game 'movie' from Necrostorm that is completely vacuous. As with computer games, there's a background introduction about a corporation involved in cult experiments, and the movie is filmed from a first person point of view of an agent sent to explore one of their buildings. He encounters several strange monsters, tries to kill them, and tries to escape. The end. At least if I were playing a computer game there would be some activity on my part, and hopefully some mystery to solve. But this is like watching someone else play a game while he receives instructions every step of the way on what micro-task to perform next (open drawer, find gun, press button on panel, etc). Even the dialogue (via headset to a controller) is idiotic, and the ending just leaves you hanging. The gooey splatter is not as extreme as other Necrostorm outings, but it's there. A waste of time.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents