Friday, April 11, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Nikos the Impaler


Again, with this 2003 gore flick by Andreas Schnaas, I find myself wondering whether I should have, as well as the “Honourable Mentions” section, a dis-honourable mention section. The film is low budget and gore filled – however, if I am to be fair, they really did go out of their way to make the gore work, not that it always did but it was a pretty good effort, if you like that sort of thing.

Of course story and acting then left a lot to be desired, but that really wasn’t the point of the project.

The film begins in Romania in 1002 and warlord barbarian Nikos (Andreas Schnaas) has been captured and is still being violent, managing to rip a face off during the sequence. A bad man, who killed around 300 people, his capturers kill him and he dies claiming immortality, swearing that he will come back for revenge, and eating his own innards – nice.

Cut to modern day New York City and teacher Frank (Joe Zaso) is teaching Romanian history and is concentrating on Nikos in this lesson. There is mention of Dracula, and how he became more infamous and, of course, we see the inevitable confusion between the historic figure and the screen persona. There is an art show that weekend, with Romanian art, and Frank urges his class to go – 50 extra credits for doing so. Academically poor students Pete (Joseph Michael Lagana) and Ryan (Joe Lattanzi) will be attending – they need the credits – as will class swot Daisy (Brenda Abbandandolo). Frank is taking fellow teacher and lover Sandra Kane (Felissa Rose).

the maskAll is as one would expect, except a thief is in the gallery. A suspicious guard (Willie Hill) follows him and they shoot each other. The thief bleeds on a crate that contains Nikos’ mask and ends up being throttled and eviscerated by the reborn warlord after the blood drips on said mask. Now, rebirth through blood and Romanian warlord, is he our vampire?

NikosNo, if he was this would be a review. The gallery doors lock and the lights go off and Nikos is on the prowl killing all he can find in a variety of gory ways. Amusing was the attack on Ryan and Peter, that sees Ryan killed and Peter having his arm torn off. He runs to the survivors and they point out his missing arm, “Okay, that blows,” he says before collapsing and then bleeding to death - rather than bleeding when escaping.

Daisy gets spearedEventually Frank and Sandra get out; all the others are dead. Daisy, before being speared, realised that the power is in Nikos' mask. Nikos is free and on the streets of New York – streets patrolled by some of the most ineffectual cops ever! He invades various places, including a gym where soft-core porn actress Darian Caine apparently works – so you know some nudity is coming!

a disparaging commentThen things get weird. Nikos has been vanishing and reappearing and a cop suggests he is like a wizard. We then get him striking a car with a lightning bolt from his sword – no suggestion that he could do that before – and then he seems to summon images out of DVD boxes in a store. The first impact of this is a zombie getting a cop. It is killed by Frank and then several characters appear including a vampish woman (Lenise Sorén), who looks at the zombie and makes a disparaging comment.

biteThis is our vampire, ish. She is credited as succubus and the word vampire is not used but she is sent to kill a cop and developing fangs takes a run at him and bites his neck in an altogether vampire way. The dress is pure Elvira, but that would make her a vamp and not a vampire. Fangs and neck biting seem to be a big giveaway.

stakedWhen she then attacks Frank he instinctively grabs some wood and goes for a stake in the heart attack. This is effective, leading us further down the vampire path. She, like the other characters drawn from video, vanishes after being killed as though she never existed.

fangsThat’s our vampire involvement folks (all of 5 minutes) and it is weird to say the least, but in a scene with both Ninjas and Hitler involved what can you expect? The film is just gore, weirdness and heavy metal soundtrack, coupled with stereotypes, loose plot, much screaming and low grade acting. If that is your cup of tea, and you like your films on a low budget, then it might suit. Not my sort of thing particularly but a vampire does appear.

The imdb page is here.

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