Why, Glenn, WHY?: Dr. Lauren & Darren Review “Verotika” (2019)

Dr. Lauren McIntyre is a horror obsessive, tattoo connoisseur, natural Goth and cat wrangler. Lauren would like to see Dajette and the Albino Spider star in a buddy cop movie sequel to Verotika. Say hi to her on Twitter: @noddinggoth

Darren Gaskell is a horror obsessive and “enthusiastic” karaoke performer. Darren would like to see a claymation musical remake of Verotika. Say hi to him on Twitter: @darren_gaskell

*** WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, BAD LANGUAGE, ACCENTS, DETAILS OF A STAG DO IN BLACKPOOL AND DISCUSSION OF OTHER POTENTIALLY UPSETTING CONTENT ***

VEROTIKA (2019)

Starring: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate

Writer: Glenn Danzig

Director: Glenn Danzig

Darren: Okay….this time, it gives me, er, great pleasure to announce that we are reviewing Glenn Danzig’s 2019 anthology movie Verotika.

Dr. Lauren: Jesus. Where do we start?

Darren: Well, we can say that it’s a film. With actors.

Dr. Lauren: It’s a film that we have watched.

Darren: It starts off with a bit of Zombie Flesheaters-type eye violence.

Dr. Lauren: I didn’t think this looked too bad. When I say it wasn’t too bad, let me caveat that. The set-up of it, with the woman chained to the wall, and the fucking inverted pentagram on the wall, that was garbage. The fingers in the eyes bit was actually decent.

Darren: It was. At that point, I thought “Do you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to be quite as bad as everybody said it was”.

Dr. Lauren: That is also the mistake I made.

Darren: The opening segment, with Morella as the hostess who’s this kind of Elvira figure for Verotika…she’s not bad. I thought Kayden Kross was quite good in this.

Dr. Lauren: Really? I fucking hated her.

Darren: I thought she was all right. Maybe I’m projecting a better performance on to Kayden Kross because of the rest of the movie. The wraparound segments didn’t really bother me at all, it was the rest of it.

Dr. Lauren: They were really flat, they were just crammed in. With a decent anthology the wraparound ties in but here it’s just an excuse to get in another woman who looks like she’s an ex-porn actress to loosely hold the three stories together.

Darren: For her to be in the skimpy outfit is just to provide another shot of some starlet.

Dr. Lauren: All the people that were in this film do look like they’ve probably been in porn at some point. It was a sea of blonde women, most of whom had terrible wigs and weren’t wearing very many clothes. If Glenn Danzig had wanted to make a porn film he should have just done that.

Darren: Yeah. From what I gather, Verotika is made with less skill than the average modern porn film.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah! I reckon so.

Darren: I did a bit of research into the actors and you’re right, most of them have careers in the adult film industry.

Dr. Lauren: Oh my God. Wow.

Darren: So, we go to the first story, which is

THE ALBINO SPIDER OF DAJETTE

Darren: This is set in France and begins with three things. A blowjob, terrible French accents and a very, very poor CGI spider.

Dr. Lauren: Can I just say that the blowjob involved a man who was wearing trousers that were still done up. At no point were those trousers open.

Darren: Maybe it was one of those osmosis blowjobs. If you pass near the trouser area it has the same sort of effect.

Dr. Lauren: I wonder if she was literally blowing on his trousers.

Darren: Probably was. The guy goes on to nuzzle this woman’s boobs for several hours while this spider’s wandering around in the background.

Dr. Lauren: The spider’s wandering around on a flower which is on a table near the sofa they’re laid on. It is terrible CGI, it’s 90s Windows screensaver CGI.

Darren: It’s like they got the guy who did the CGI in Birdemic and said “Can you do us a spider?”.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah….

Darren: And he said “Yeah” and everyone else said “He couldn’t do birds and he can’t do spiders either”.

Dr. Lauren: There’s a protracted scene where this couple are getting it on and the guy starts trying lift her top up and she says no but rather than stopping he continues trying to lift her top up and instead of moving away she carries on saying no and protesting. Eventually, after what feels like about twenty minutes, he manages to get her top up and her breasts have gone eyes instead of nipples, for reasons which are never explained in the rest of the story.

Darren: At which point, the man goes “Your teets, zey are lookeeng at me”.

[Dr. Lauren bursts out laughing]

Darren: I warned you I was gonna do the French accent.

Dr. Lauren: Not only do the tit eyes look terrible but they don’t even move. They don’t look anywhere and the eyelids don’t move so they’re constantly staring.

Darren: Yeah…..yeah….

Dr. Lauren: I must admit, of all the bits in this film I found this one by far the most entertaining. It’s terrible but I spent so long laughing at it I think that it’s worth watching just for this segment.

Darren: It is. I’ve recommended to someone that if they only see one story in Verotika this segment is worth it because they’ll get the most laughs from it. It’s not good, but they’ll get the most laughs out of it. So once we find out Dajette’s boobs have got eyes, one of them cries and it drips a tear on to the spider.

Dr. Lauren: The guy gets up and leaves because he’s freaked out by the tit eyes, they disturb him to a degree where he runs out of the flat. The tit eyes cry and a single tear rolls down on to the spider. Given that she’s still on the sofa and the table is three feet away, does the tear drop fall down, roll across and then up again?

Darren: I think it would have been better if she’d realised her boobs were about to cry and then squeezed them so the tears shot across the room.

Dr. Lauren: Spraying them like Gazza in that Walker’s Crisps advert.*

Darren: Yes! Weirdly the tear, for no reason we’re made privy to, transforms the spider into – to borrow what you’d said about this in a previous conversation – the 2010s version of Goro from the Mortal Kombat film.

Dr. Lauren: I think it makes Goro look good.

Darren: You get a shot of the man spider and it’s clear they’re trying to concentrate on the two of the guy’s arms that can actually move because they’re his real arms. The other ones are just there.

Dr. Lauren: They’re quite rigid. They just don’t move at all. There’s one bit in the segment when he’s got hold of a naked woman and he’s got hold of her round the neck with his real hands but there are some other hands on her as well. The other hands you can see are a totally different size. You know when someone puts a dog in a cardigan and puts their hands through the sleeves?

[Darren cracks up laughing and can’t stop]

Dr. Lauren: It’s exactly like that.

[Darren continues to laugh and is actually close to tears at this point]

Darren: So then…..oh, God….

[Darren can no longer talk for laughing. Short pause.]

Darren: So then, the plot goes on. When Dajette falls asleep, this spider guy is allowed to roam free and murder scantily-clad women.

Dr. Lauren: I was not clear of what the fuck this was about at all because he appeared when she was awake but then he only seemed to come out when she was asleep and he went on a murder spree. So she doesn’t want to go to sleep but inevitably does go to sleep in in appropriate places.

Darren: Also, she’s got a photoshoot coming up and someone who lives in the same building says she should stop crying or “eet will mek your eyes pooofai for ze photo shoot tomorrow”.

Dr. Lauren: This is another woman who does not own any clothes other than underwear and another one who’s wearing an absolutely terrible wig. Every single person except, I think, for one woman in the second segment is wearing a fucking awful nylon wig for no reason at all. There’s all shockingly bad, dollar store wigs.

Darren: Mariel, the girl who also lives in the building, she’s the first to die but I’m not sure it’s because she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time or because they need to get rid of her as she’s flat out the worst actress in this movie.

Dr. Lauren: Ooh! Really?

Darren: In a movie full of appalling performances, the girl who plays Mariel is so bad it’s unbelievable. There’s a point where she’s looking around a room and I was thinking “Who’s she looking at? Who’s she delivering the dialogue to?”. I was expecting someone else to shout “I’M OVER HERE! WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?”.

Dr, Lauren: And considering she’s got such a small part in this segment, never mind the whole thing, she’s one of the very few characters who actually has a name.

Darren: Yeah, ’cause all the others are, like, Prostitute or Model, that sort of thing.

Dr. Lauren: Pretty Girl. Blonde Girl.

Darren: Not that Mr. Danzig is objectifying women in any way.

Dr. Lauren: I got the distinct impression from this film that Glenn Danzig likes a very specific type of woman.

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: And apparently that women are only good for working in strip clubs, being prostitutes or basically being naked a lot so that he can look at them.

Darren: Yeah. That’s pretty much it. There’s nothing in the script to make you think that any of them are strong, independent characters.

Dr. Lauren: Oh Jesus, no.

Darren: In fact, this is full of lines that people would never say to each other. There’s a bit where Dajette’s talking to the spider creature and she says “You are a murderer!” and the spider guy goes “Yes! I am!”. Fair enough. Cleared that up.

Dr. Lauren: Yes.

Darren: There’s another bit where the spider bloke’s on the loose and he’s talking to a prostitute who’s around a corner. He’s in an archway and she can’t see him.

Dr. Lauren: Oh, that was amazing! I laughed so much at that.

Darren: She never looks around the corner to see who it is! They’re having this conversation and he’s talking about what he wants to do to her. You can tell where this movie is coming from when one of the prostitute lines is “Ass-fuck is mah specialit-ee”.. There’s no need. There’s no need for that.

Dr. Lauren: When he’s stood in the archway and there’s a wide shot of her smoking in the alley, it was just so funny. We [Lauren her and husband Steve] both laughed out loud at that. At no point does she look around the corner and realise she’s talking to a six-foot spider bloke.

Darren: As you do. After the prostitute gets killed, we cut to the photoshoot in which Dajette is taking part. And this is bewildering. It’s three or four minutes of half-naked women, one of whom is in a rubber mask.

Dr. Lauren: I was trying to figure out what that photoshoot was for. Everybody’s dressed in really ropey-looking fetish gear and to say that it seems to be some sort of fetish shoot, nobody’s showing their nipples for some reason. In this whole first segment, I think there’s only one set of nipples. There’s quite a lot of nipples in there rest of the film.

Darren: There are.

Dr. Lauren: At this point I was thinking “Is Glenn Danzig not allowed to show nipples?” because everyone’s got them covered up. Anyway, it’s a bizarre choice. Maybe it was on the part of the actresses. And even though everyone’s dressed in fetish geat, it’s all different types of fetish gear. They don’t even seem to be posing. They’re just meandering around while a man takes photographs of them. Randomly. One of them’s in a full gimp suit with a blonde ponytail sticking out of it. Then there’s one really grumpy one sat on a chaise longue that tells everyone to fuck off.

Darren: I was with her. I’d have been telling everyone to fuck off as well. She was probably the only character in this where I thought “You know, yeah, I’m right there with you”. She was great.

Dr. Lauren: The set-up for this is that Dajette’s supposed to be on a fancy photoshoot and she’s really sleepy and the other girls tell her to get over herself and get in the photo and the grumpy one tells her to go home and that’s it.

Darren: As she should have said to the audience. There’s nothing for you here. Just go home.

Dr. Lauren (channelling The League Of Gentlemen): There’s nothing for you here.

Darren: Dajette, because she wants to try to stay awake, goes to the one place you’d definitely go to stay awake. Which is a darkened cinema.

Dr. Lauren: It’s not just a cinema, it’s a mucky cinema.

Darren: It is a mucky cinema with dirty porn stuff going on there.

Dr. Lauren: Although I thought it looked quite clean for that sort of cinema.

Darren: It did. The seats looked quite posh. It was all very nicely set up. There wasn’t jizz on the walls or anything.

Dr. Lauren: She falls asleep in the cinema because she’s shattered, obviously, and then three blokes simultaneously decide to feel her up which is really gross and uncomfortable.

Darren: That was really horrible. I’m maybe giving the film too much credit but it’s a bit like Rabid where Marilyn Chambers goes to a porn movie but that’s to seduce one of the guys there so she can suck his blood. Here, it’s just some woman going to a porn movie and getting felt up by leery, unpleasant men.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah, it is. It was pretty grim.

Darren: Dajette escapes the leery, unpleasant men and nips off to a cafe because she suddenly realises that if she drinks a load of coffee it might stop her from falling asleep. She’s just come to this realisation after all of the carnage has happened. Anyway, she goes to this cafe, which you know is a cafe because it’s got CAFE in big neon letters over the table she’s sitting at.

Dr. Lauren: Did you notice that she sits down at a table that’s already got a cup at it? She’s only just sat down and then the waiter comes over and the waiter is the worst actor in this film.

Darren: That’s true. Mariel is the worst actress in it but the waiter is by far the worst actor. I couldn’t even understand what he was saying. I had to run it back. He comes over and says “AH MEES, DO YOU WAANT A RAFFLE?”. I’m thinking “Raffle? What’s a raffle?”. Then it hit me: OH! REFILL!

Dr. Lauren: She’d only just sat down. She sat down. there’s an empty cup in front of her but apparently she needs a refill. Oh, this scene! Just every single thing about it was awful. It looked like someone had dressed the set for a primary school play.

Darren: The sets are pretty ropey throughout but this is probably the worst one.

Dr. Lauren: Did you notice when the police break down the door at Dajette’s place that the wall moves?

Darren: We’ll get to that but when they’re using the battering ram they’re using it very. very softly. Ooh, we don’t want to do too much damage to the door. Let’s just brush the door with this battering ram. Back to the waiter, who warns Dajette to avoid anywhere that she might run into “LE NECK-BREKKERRR”.

Dr. Lauren: My nephew played the Jazz Cockerel in his school nativity when he was eight and he was a better actor than that waiter.

Darren: Dajette gets home and decides that the only way to stop the man spider rampage is to top herself so she OD’s and the spider gets really annoyed when he finds out so they have this low-impact struggle. Dajette drops to the floor, the cops softly batter the door open so the walls don’t fall down and then one of the cops says “Take your hands off her neck”. BUT SHE’S ON THE FLOOR!

Dr. Lauren: They also very astutely determine later on that she must have died of an overdose.

Darren: The cops put a load of bullets in the spider.

Dr. Lauren: And he’s like “OH! I AM DY-EENG!”

Darren: No shit. That whole thing about “Show, don’t tell” doesn’t apply in Verotika. I was surprised the cops didn’t say “Yeah, ah have shot you!”

Dr. Lauren: Everybody’s speaking in a terrible French accent but they’re all speaking English.

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: Why aren’t they just speaking in French with subtitles?

Darren: No idea.

Dr. Lauren: If that isn’t necessary to the story why are they speaking with a French accent at all?

Darren: No idea.

Dr. Lauren: So these stories here are based on a comic?

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: Presumably then, this segment – all of the segments – are taken directly from a comic. Rather than actually transferring the comic strip into a proper script and a storyboard it’s as if they’ve literally lifted each comic strip verbatim and then just filmed it.

Darren: I haven’t seen the comics but it seems very much like that.

Dr. Lauren: There’s a lot of the bits where the spider is one place and says something and the next second he’d be on the other side of the room.

Darren: The continuity’s all over the shop.

Dr. Lauren: All the lines are delivered like they’re in a comic strip. They’re short, straight to the point.

Darren: The cops have just shot this six-foot, six-armed man spider.

Dr. Lauren: Which no one is bothered about.

Darren: Not one of them bats an eyelid. They’re like “This is probably the guy who’s been breaking all the necks”. HE’S GOT SIX FUCKING ARMS! Is nobody going to mention this?

Dr. Lauren: Also, one of Dajette’s tit eyes is sticking out of her top. One of them says “Oh! She ‘as eyes on her teet!” or something.

Darren: He’s obviously the Chief of Police there.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah. It also sounded like they went to learn their French accents from the policeman from ‘Allo ‘Allo.**

Darren: I worked with someone who’s French and I don’t want her to see this movie. It’s just insulting.

Dr. Lauren: I’ve got a bunch of French mates and some French family and I will send it to all of them.

Darren: After they’ve said “Ah! Eet looks lahk an ovv-air-dose!” that’s it. There’s no post-shootout scene. That’s it. That’s your lot. So you get Morella coming back for a little bit. She gives you a look at the eyes she’s ripped out previously but it’s more or less straight into the next one. She doesn’t mention much about the first story or the next one. It’s just “Hello! It’s me! Here’s the next story!”

Dr. Lauren: “Hi!”

Darren: “Remember me? Here’s some eyes. Next story”. And the next story is…

CHANGE OF FACE

Darren: This is apparently inspired by Eyes Without A Face.

Dr. Lauren: Is it?

Darren: Now, I’ve seen Eyes Without A Face, several times. I think it’s one of the best movies ever made. This segment is one of the worst homages to Eyes Without A Face I’ve ever seen, if not the worst. If this is supposed to be an homage to Eyes Without A Face, on behalf of those who made that classic, I am FUCKING INSULTED.

[Dr. Lauren bursts out laughing]

Darren: I’m sorry. If this is Verotika’s take on Eyes Without A Face it can just fuck off.

Dr. Lauren: This one opens with some random woman, in another terrible wig, just standing next to a wall. She’s accosted by somebody who you presume is a stranger to her. Turns out to be another woman who says “I want your face”. The first woman is like “You can’t have my face.” There’s some more dialogue, some screaming, then the woman gets her face cut off.

Darren: All the dialogue is face-related. “Ooh! Ow! My face!” “Yes! Your face!”

Dr. Lauren: Why doesn’t she try to run away or stop the woman cutting her face off?

Darren: The killer gets over to the woman is really rapid time and then the woman doesn’t really struggle while this piece of boiled ham is being levered off her face.

Dr. Lauren: It looks like some spray-on latex which has been sprayed into a vague face shape. It doesn’t even have a nose shape on it. Just a flat, floppy bit of skin-coloured latex with some eye holes cut into it.

Darren: If you’ve made a really thin pancake and there’s a couple of holes in it and you think “That’s a rubbish pancake, I’m doing to do a proper one”, it’s like that.

Dr. Lauren: Do you remember when you were a kid at school and you used to get PVA glue and put in on the back of your hand then let it dry and peel it off? It’s like that.

Darren: Yeah. So this one’s called Change Of Face because we wouldn’t want something so on the nose as a title.

Dr. Lauren: I can only imagine this was thought to be a humourous comic strip title.

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: Can I also make a point that the character of Mystery Girl has got by far the worst wig in the entire film. It’s so bad. It’s like they were going for Elvira but they’d got some fucking dollar store Nikki Sixx wig, just had a go at it with some pinking shears and thought “That’ll do, she looks a bit 80s”.

Darren: Talking of Nikki Sixx and to get a Motley Crue reference in, following this, it’s “Girls Girls Girls” as we go to the strip club.

Dr. Lauren: Ah! Yeah, it is. We cut to a very protracted scene at a strip club which is nothing to do with the story at all, it’s five minutes of strippers dancing badly.

Darren: I was thinking if it was going to go somewhere, if they’d have someone discussing a plot point as all of this was going on. No, it’s a lot of hideously unerotic pole dancing.

Dr. Lauren: I guess it does lead into Mystery Girl coming out to dance but only after we’ve watched other strippers dance. They add nothing to the story other than they get one line each later on. To be fair, in terms of acting, they’ve nailed the “bored stripper” look.

Darren: If you’re coming into this thinking “Yeah, story about a strip club!” you will never be so bored watching women taking their clothes off and gyrating on poles. It is not exciting.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t want this to come across as me being down on strippers because I am not down on strippers at all.

Darren: Absolutely not.

Dr. Lauren: I’ve been to a strip club before. I have had a lap dance before. Having been there, I know the difference between good and bad stripping and the stripping in the scene here was not good. It was not sexy, they all look bored. It was like the four o’clock on a Thursday afternoon shift.

Darren: Because it was used as one of the locations in the Sopranos, I’ve been to the Satin Dolls club in New Jersey.

Dr. Lauren: You don’t have to justify it if you’ve been to a strip club.

Darren: My reputation’s fucked regardless. But it’s like you said, we turned up at lunchtime. It was interesting in terms of the location and how they shot it for the programme but it was not interesting in terms of standing around talking to loads of half-naked women at lunchtime about fairly mundane things. It was not exciting but it was probably even less exciting than I’m making it sound.

Dr. Lauren: Let me just ask Steve a question. Steve, were the strippers in Change Of Face better or worse than the ones you saw in Blackpool?***

[Darren bursts out laughing]

Dr. Lauren: He said it’s difficult to tell because the ones in Blackpool were just beating the crap out of the friend whose stag do it was.

[Darren is still laughing]

Dr. Lauren: He’s saying it was similar quality.

Darren: So they could have set the second segment of Verotika in Blackpool and got the same effect?

Dr. Lauren: At a lunchtime strip club in Blackpool.

Darren: Which is a hint as to just how erotic this second segment is, i.e. not very erotic at all.

Dr. Lauren: The Blackpool strippers also had the stag on the stage and one of them ground crushed ice into his crotch with her knee.

Darren: OOOOOOH! Why? No! Just the thought of that…..why? Why would you do that? Why didn’t she just kick him in the balls?

Dr. Lauren: She might as well have done. The rest of the group apologised to the stag when they came out of there.

[Pause for laughter]

Dr. Lauren: Anyway, sorry.

Darren: That’s terrible.

Dr. Lauren: It was not the weekend everybody anticipated.

Darren: Even the Mystery Girl bit in this is off. She comes out, she does a bit of a dance and they’re saying she’s the greatest thing in the club but you think “Is she really? Is that your selling point?”.

Dr. Lauren: I didn’t quite understand her get-up either. She’s got nipple pasties on.

Darren: She’s got a cape.

Dr. Lauren: Her face is covered up. I know this was shot last year but to be fair she’s a stripper who’s prepared for Coronavirus.

Darren: She is. Say what you like about Mystery Girl…

Dr. Lauren: She’s Covid friendly.

Darren: She is Covid friendly. If you went there now, she’d be on the door saying “You’ve got to wear a mask, I’m wearing one”. She’s also taking everyone’s faces to wear as a mask as well.

Dr. Lauren: Also, she’s got a hood on and kind of a ninja mask across the bottom half of her face but you can see the cut out face on top of her face.

Darren: No one thinks “That bit around her eyes looks weird. Is that somebody else’s face?”.

Dr. Lauren: There is a bit when a bloke tries to give her some money and she gets really close to him and then runs out of the club.

Darren: That’s true. She does a bit more dancing then goes and nicks somebody else’s face then there’s a bit in her make-up room which is like Maniac. In Maniac, Joe Spinell’s character has all of these scalped hairpieces stuck on mannequins but she’s got faces pinned to the wall. That’s kind of the homage but again it just reminds you of how good Maniac was and how terrible this is.

Dr. Lauren: She’s talking to them so they’re trying to get a creepy serial killer vibe but it’s just kind of boring. I think this is the point where my interest very much started waning in this film.

Darren: Mine was starting to go but then we get the cops turning up, including Detective Fuckface.

Dr. Lauren: Is that his name?

Darren: Well, later on someone asks who he is and he says “Detective Anders…Fuckface!” Is called Detective Anders Fuckface or is calling he guy fuckface? They way he delivers the dialogue, it’s hard to tell.

Dr. Lauren: Very poor syntax.

Darren: Again, the crime scene is very face-centric. “Where’s her face?” “We don’t know where her face is.” “Well, they wanted a face”. Can we just stop with the face?

Dr. Lauren: They used “face” so many times it stopped sounding like a real word.

Darren: When Mystery Girl is attacking someone else, she says “I’m the face collector.” “Oh, my face! NO!”

Dr. Lauren: Is that the girl she gets when she goes into her house? The girl with the corset on and, again, the ridiculous blonde wig?

Darren: Yeah.

Dr. Lauren: She isn’t like “Get the fuck out of my house, what are you doing here? How did you get in?”, she just stands there and says “You want my face? Not my face!” and then lets her slice it off.

Darren: Corsets are normal attire for wandering around your house. She’s like “I’ll just parade around the place in my corset”. “Just got in from work, I’ll just wander around in my corset”.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t know about you, Darren, but that’s what I do.

Darren: Depends what day of the week.

Dr. Lauren: There’s a sequence with lots of fake newspaper clippings. “Face Stealer Strikes Again!”, that kind of thing. At the house of the girl with the corset on, they find a business card for the club at the crime scene. The Pussy Kats club.

Darren: And from that, the detective suddenly has a leap in deductive reasoning where he finds the card for the club but is looking for Mystery Girl. Hold on, you only got the card for the club. How do you know about Mystery Girl and why do you think she’s the prime suspect?

Dr. Lauren: Presumably he’s never met Mystery Girl before and either he’s had a large leap in his deductive reasoning or she was extremely careless and left a card with her own name on it at the murder scene.

Darren: “Hello, Detective Fuckface, I’m Mystery Girl, I did this”.

Dr. Lauren: It might have said that on the other side of the card.

Darren: That’s true, you never saw the other side of the card. So the detective goes to the club, gets to the changing area and he’s confronted by three of the girls and I have to say it’s a powerhouse of acting when the story gets here.

Dr. Lauren: It has my favourite line of the whole film. I did spend a few minutes wondering whether or not the detective was the dad out of Mallras but then I realise he wasn’t and was probably some porn actor. He’s asking them questions and one of the girls shouts “I’M NOT TELLING YOU DICK!”. That made me laugh quite a lot.

Darren: To be fair, she doesn’t tell him dick. She doesn’t tell him where Mystery Girl is, someone else points the way.

Dr. Lauren: I am going to integrate that phrase into my common usage.

Darren: One of the dancers dobs Mystery Girl in by pointing to where she is, the detective says “Thanks, Dollface!” and then wanders into a darkened room with his gun drawn.

Dr. Lauren: Before we get to that, the place the strippers send him is literally the only other place you could go from that room. There was the door he came in through and then there was a long, dark corridor.

Darren: That is a good point. He could have worked it out himself. If he’d looked round the room instead of berating the strippers for not giving him information he might have thought “Hold on, I haven’t been through there”.

Dr. Lauren: I’ll check this very dark area.

Darren: So he goes into the dark area, gun drawn. You see Mystery Girl with her knife drawn in the shadows and then all of a sudden she’s behind the detective.

Dr. Lauren: Even better, he shoots in front of him while she’s behind him and somehow she’s been shot and she’s running away from him.

Darren: Lucky ricochet there.

Dr. Lauren: This film defies the laws of physics.

Darren: If you’ve seen Tenet, there’s a time inversion thing going on where he’s gone to the same place and shot from the other side, then she’s stabbed him and got away using the time inversion thing. Either that or it’s all just bullshit.

Dr. Lauren: And she ran away from him a bit like Papa Lazarou.****

Darren: And there are exaggerated, bloody footprints leading away. They’re very deliberately placed. You know when you’re wandering round, say, a zoo and they want you to go a certain way and there are footprints in the floor?

Dr. Lauren: Like elephant prints or something?

Darren: Yeah, it’s like that.

Dr. Lauren: The only thing that didn’t happen in this segment that would have made it cheesier would have been if he shook his fist at the sky and said “I’ll get you, Mystery Girl!”.

Darren: He almost does that. She’s obviously wounded but instead of chasing her, he just stands there and says something along the lines of “wherever you go, I’m gonna find you”. JUST FUCKING CHASE AFTER HER! SHE’S BEEN SHOT, YOU IDIOT!

Dr. Lauren: We find out that she’s been shot about six times, he’s emptied that gun into her torso.

Darren: She turns up in a different location six months later.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah, it’s six months later, it’s a different strip club and they’re announcing THE MYSTERY GIRL! She’s dancing and has a very similar get-up on, you can see she’s got bullet scars all over her stomach.

Darren: Cunningly, she’s now called Mysteria.

Dr. Lauren: Not Mystery Girl.

Darren: Obviously not the same person.

Dr. Lauren: I thought at this point something else was going to happen, like the police would catch up with her, but it doesn’t. It just finishes.

Darren: No resolution. She’s still ripping faces off. No one knows where the detective’s gone.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t mind that as an ending but this segment had very little happen in it.

Darren: From a segment where we get pretty much no resolution to a segment where we get pretty much no story, it’s…

DRUKIJA, CONTESSA OF BLOOD

Dr. Lauren: This is the worst one.

Darren: Drukija.

Dr. Lauren: Jesus Christ. Interestingly, this seems to be the segment they spent all the budget on. And even though they spent all the budget on it, it still looks like they filmed it on the set for Knightmare.*****

Darren: It’s the one that looks the best but that’s not saying much.

Dr. Lauren: No. They spent all their money on that massive bathtub thing.

Darren: Yes. It looks okay. It doesn’t look great though. They’ve ploughed the cash into the bathtub. This is another retelling of the Elizabeth Bathory story. It starts off with her riding around on a horse and lording it over the peasants.

Dr. Lauren: In a very skimpy outfit, Darren! She’d catch her death in that.

Darren: It’s not a very practical outfit for riding a horse.

Dr. Lauren: No. Given the accents in this segment and given the fact it’s based on the story of Elizabeth Bathory you’ve got to assume it’s set around the Middle Ages in Slovakia or Romania or Hungary or somewhere like that.

Darren: Absolutely.

Dr. Lauren: She’s wearing a very flimsy dress which you can everything through. She’s got a massive, weird, spiky thing on her head. She’s got a CGI castle which she rides past several times in the first three minutes.

Darren: The music in this is quite like City Of The Living Dead and maybe that’s another nod or stylistic choice. I do like the music from City Of The Living Dead, I’m not sure I want to hear it in another movie.

Dr. Lauren: Basically she’s on hunt for virgins. I’m a big fan of Hammer’s Countess Dracula and I’m a massive Ingrid Pitt fan and all I thought of during this segment was “I could be watching Countess Dracula instead”.

Darren: This bit is Ingrid Pitt, but only if Ingrid Pitt is rhyming slang.

Dr. Lauren: Yes. I think that Ingrid Pitt would have been cross with this.

Darren: I’m cross on Ingrid Pitt’s behalf.

Dr. Lauren: I met Ingrid Pitt once and she was very happy to be in Countess Dracula and that she got to play Elizabeth Bathory. She was very cross because she spent a long time perfecting her accent for that role and then they overdubbed her without her and she was FUCKING livid about it. I don’t quite know where I’m going with this.

Darren: Well, I think we need to take something positive out of this review in that Ingrid Pitt was really cool. It’s nice to know Ingrid Pitt had integrity and that she was a cool person.

Dr. Lauren: She was a cool person. I do not like she would have liked this segment of the film or its interpretation of Elizabeth Bathory.

Darren: You do get Caroline Williams in here for a few seconds. She was Stretch in Texas Chainsaw Masssacre 2 and obviously she’s in a bunch of other genre flicks. She’s the mother of the girl who’s given up at the start. She sells her daughter because she’s a….vir-hin!

Dr. Lauren: Vir-gin.

Darren: Enough with the accents, Verotika. Just stop. Talk normally. We’ll understand.

Dr. Lauren: It would have been less distracting if they’d gone with American accents.

Darren: Yep. Absolutely. They had dialect coaches on this. What the fuck were the dialect coaches doing?

Dr. Lauren: Really?

Darren: I watched all the way through the credits, that’s how much of an idiot I am. They had dialect coaches. Maybe they didn’t check credentials. Someone wandered in, said “I’m a dialect coach” and the filmmakers said “Can you do French?” and they said something like “Haw haw, eet ees only waffer theen”. Considering the accents in this movie I could have been the dialect coach on it.

Dr. Lauren: Going back to the Countess, this segment feels like it goes on forever and nothing happens in it. They go get the girl, they take her back to the castle, they strap her up in that bath thing and drain her blood out and the rest of the film is a montage of the Countess rubbing red water on herself or mugging herself off in a mirror.

Darren: That bit with the mirror is another point where I actually ran it back. The sequence where she’s admiring herself in the mirror runs for two minutes.

Dr. Lauren: Really? It’s like Danzig had told her to make pretty faces in the mirror, film the whole thing and choose the best shots from it but then decided to leave the whole thing in.

Darren: It just goes on and on and on. I thought it would have some bearing, like maybe at some point she’d see something in the reflection. No, she’s just fannying about in front of the mirror.

Dr. Lauren: Literally.

Darren: It’s just an excuse to have naked and half-naked girls getting their throats slit. It’s misogynistic, it’s unpleasant. There’s one bit I thought was going to be quite effective where there’s a girl hung up who gets her throat slashed. Initially, I thought that was quite nasty and kind of worked but the Countess spends a really long time looking at the prosthetic and you can see her pushing the mechanism at the back to get more fake blood to spray out. If they’d done it quickly, slash, quick spray of blood, that would have actually worked, that would have been horrible. But she’s trying to pump the mechanism and you can see how they’ve done the trick. It’s ridiculous.

Dr. Lauren: That kind of effect has been done so much better in so many other films.

Darren: You’re right, it has.

Dr. Lauren: Off the top of my head, Hostel 2. The Elizabeth Bathory kill in that.

Darren: Oh, that’s horrible. I remember seeing that bit of Hostel 2 and thinking “Holy shit!”. I was thinking “Holy shit” during this segment of Verotika for a totally different reason.

Dr. Lauren: They bring another couple of girls in, they slit the throat of one of them into the bath. The rest of this is the Countess rubbing red water on various bits of her.

Darren: They kill a few more peasants. One’s beheaded. She rips the heart out of one.

Dr. Lauren: Oh, that was terrible. The prosthetics were awful. You could see where it stops and there was a straight line under her tit. When she was reaching inside the girl’s chest you could see the top of the prosthetic flapping around.

Darren: All of the stuff that could have been quite upsetting had it been done right ends up at the level of a pantomime. There’s no story and this one really does just stop dead. There isn’t even a hint of a resolution in this one, it just stops.

Dr. Lauren: I think Danzig had an idea for several tableaux of this Countess women killing or eating young girls but couldn’t be arsed to think of a vague story to pin them together. It was mind-boggling. It looked terrible, the costuming was bad. I couldn’t stop looking at the Countess’ outfit because it looked so shit and unfinished. It didn’t even looked properly hemmed. You could see where the hems hadn’t been finished.

Darren: Did I notice a bit of Danzig-related symbolism on the crown she was wearing towards the end?

Dr. Lauren: I don’t know. I’m quite a big Misfits fan but I’ve not necessarily listened to Danzig’s work as much.

Darren: I thought Glenn had sneaked in the Danzig logo. I may be wrong. I just thought it looked awfully familiar.

Dr. Lauren: This segment was the worst one by far.

Darren: I agree with that. Not only was it technically shoddy and the acting was no better than the other segments, it was also the dullest. Nothing of any consequence happens whatsoever.

Dr. Lauren: It wasn’t even funny. At least with the spider one I was entertained because it was so bad and so ridiculous and at least I laughed a lot. The last segment was just fucking dull.

Darren: It was unforgivably dull considering the subject matter. How can you make this story boring? Hold on, Glenn’s found a way.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah, well done, Glenn!

Darren: Kudos, Mr. Danzig.

Dr. Lauren: I think it became most apparent in this segment but actually it was true all the way through that one: it looks as though they only had one camera to use at any given point; and two: the person who operated the camera I’m pretty sure was my 75-year-old father-in-law because all they managed to do was zoom in, pan across really slowly and zoom back out again. That was the extent of the camerawork, other than randomly focusing on stuff that had nothing to do with the story. Some of the angles were really bizarre.

Darren: The framing was generally terrible. If you’d had a half-decent cinematographer you’d think you’d get things framed properly but the distancing of some of the shots was very weird. It all seemed half-arsed.

Dr. Lauren: Danzig is on a lot of the credits for this film. Was he the cinematographer?

Darren: There were two cinematographers on this and one of them was, guess who? That’s right, Glenn Danzig. Danzig was writer, director, he did some of the music, he did the cinematography…

Dr. Lauren: He was Executive Producer.

Darren: Right, he was Executive Producer. He probably did the catering. It is a Glenn Danzig movie. It’s just so misguided. I couldn’t quite believe what I was watching.

Dr. Lauren: Did you know he’s doing another film?

Darren: Is that the vampire western thing?

Dr. Lauren: He’s doing a vampire western with Julian Sands.

Darren: You see, the fact that Julian Sands is in it gives me a little bit of hope but on the basis of Verotika it’s probably going to be shite.

Dr. Lauren: I can’t say I’m not interested in it.

Darren: Yeah. We’re having a go at Verotika but we’re going to be seeing the Danzig vampire western regardless. Most people warned us off watching Verotika and our reaction was “No, no. We’ve got to see this”.

Dr. Lauren: There was no way I was ever going to not watch this film. I would potentially recommend it to certain people with the caveat that it’s worth watching once for the spider bit and then you would know never to watch it again. Your curiosity will have been satisfied.

Darren: I think for anyone who’s a connoisseur of bad films, you have to see it. The problem Verotika has is that it’s so bad, you can’t get any enjoyment out of it a lot of the time. The first thirty minutes you can enjoy on a weird level. The rest….

Dr. Lauren: Garbage.

Darren: I think you have to experience it to understand what the rest of us have been through.

Dr. Lauren: It reminded me very much of when I was in Tennessee a few years ago. We ordered some food and my friend Oliver ordered a donut burger, which is a burger in between two glazed donuts instead of regular bread. When he finished he said he was glad he’d eaten it because he would know never to order it again. And that is how I feel about Verotika. It is the donut burger of the film world.

Darren: It’s a perfect analogy. If I saw donut burger on the menu, I would have it. I would know that I would probably hate it but I would want to try it because I’ve never had a donut burger before.

Dr. Lauren: In this country, I had a burger served between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

Darren: That sounds great.

Dr. Lauren: Er, no. I was actually really ill after it. It was too much. I did enjoy it while I was eating it. Verotika is that thing. It’s the glazed donut burger of the fllm world.

Darren: I have a score for this.

Dr. Lauren: I have a score for this.

Darren: Go on, what’s your score?

Dr. Lauren: I’m going to give it a one out of five. It is a film, it exists and when I thought about it, it’s not my worst film ever by at least three films.

Darren: The Human Centipede 3 is still worse than this then?

Dr. Lauren: Yes. The three films I can think of off the top of my head that are worse than this are The Human Centipede 3, the Marlon Brando remake of The Island Of Dr. Moreau and Human Zoo.

Darren: Yeah, you’ve mentioned it this time. When someone asked if Verotika was the worst movie I’d seen this year, it isn’t. I’ve seen Human Zoo. Having said that, I’m also going to give Verotika one out of five. It’s a film almost entirely without merit. It’s a lot of terrible porno performers struggling with a script that was written by somebody on the back of a fag packet with awful effects, terrible French and Eastern European accents, no excitement, no thrills…

Dr. Lauren: No technical capability. You can’t even say it was shot well.

Darren: It’s not even technically competent. It’s a really depressing piece of filmmaking. Apart from all of that, it was all right.

Dr. Lauren: Apart from a few small things.

Darren: On the one hand. I was curious to see what Danzig would be like as a filmmaker and I wasn’t full of hope about it but I’m really disappointed that he’s turned out something that’s so fucking dreadful.

Dr. Lauren: I’m very, very disappointed in Danzig’s apparent view of women.

Darren: That’s what really comes out of this one. It has such a low opinion of women. It’s just horrible to watch.

Dr. Lauren: The worst thing is I’m not that surprised. It’s one of these situations where I want to say to him “Glenn, I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”.

Darren: You’ve let yourself down…

Dr. Lauren: You’ve let your mum down…

Darren: You’ve let the filmmaking community down…..I’m not going to say I enjoyed watching it because that would be giving it way too much credit but maybe it’s something that needs to be experienced just the once.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah, I would agree. You don’t need to watch it more than once although I would be tempted to watch The Albino Spider of Dajette again just because it’s fucking hilarious but I would not waste my time with either of the other two.

Darren: I have said to Alison that I’ll show her the first segment so she can see how bad it is. That’s the only way I’ll watch any of this again.

Dr. Lauren: I would show the first segment to friends but I wouldn’t put them through all of it, I can’t do that to people. Fans of bad films, watch it once. Everyone else, don’t bother or watch the spider segment.

Darren: Not a lot more I can say about that. If you watch it and are thinking of ending it all, take the advice of the French cops and “DO NOT TEK AN OVV-AIR-DOSE!”. Things aren’t that bad.

Dr. Lauren: I’M NOT TELLING YOU DICK!

THE SCORES

Dr. Lauren: 1 / 5

Darren: 1 / 5

*For our non-UK readers or anyone who’s not as old as Darren or Dr. Lauren, Gazza was a footballer famous for showing his emotion on the pitch. He also parlayed his blubbing into a bit of a commercial sideline, hence the gig advertising crisps. The ad is probably on YouTube somewhere.

** For our non-UK readers or anyone who’s not as old as Darren or Dr. Lauren, ‘Allo ‘Allo was a long-running BBC sitcom about the French resistance in the Second World War. The policeman was, in fact, a British agent who mangled the French language and frequently got words wrong for comedy effect.

***For our non-UK readers or anyone who isn’t aware of the English seaside resort that is Blackpool…..well, look it up. Draw your own conclusions.

****For our non-UK readers or anyone who’s not as old as Darren or Dr. Lauren, this is a League Of Gentlemen reference. Well worth following up on as we don’t want to spoil any Papa Lazarou-related surprises.

*****For our non-UK readers or anyone who’s not as old as Darren or Dr. Lauren, Knightmare was a low-budget but surprisingly decent programme for kids.

Verotika is available on Shudder.

About celluloiddeej

Film fan, horror festival goer, karaoke enthusiast, cat whisperer, world traveller, complete idiot. Happy to chat with you on your podcast/whatever if you can stand the Yorkshire accent.

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