The directorial debut of Glenn Danzig is one of the most bizarre and incompetent films I have ever seen.
I still remember the first time I ever heard, ‘Skulls’, by the Misfits, it sent shivers down my spine and made me an instant Misfits fan. When I watched Verotika, the debut feature film from Glenn Danzig, it had a completely different guttural impact.
Glenn Danzig is a true punk and hard rock legend, with the Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig, he has achieved an enduring legacy and a god-like status to legions of adoring fans around the world. He has been known to some as “Evil Elvis” due to his vocal style and even released a Danzig Sings Elvis album this year.
Danzig’s musical legacy aside, his debut feature film Verotika is a micro-budget mess of images and words that doesn’t even remotely translate into a coherent film, yet, Verotika is so incompetently bizarre I can’t stop thinking about it. Bloody Disgusting called the film, “The horror equivalent of The Room.” I really can’t disagree with that statement.
Verotika was written, directed, and scored by Danzig. It is clearly a labour of love; a vanity project, and this seems to be the problem – nobody stepped in to steer the ship back to shore. The film seems like it could be a soft porn parody, except for the total lack of any self-awareness whatsoever and that’s what makes it watchable, almost.
Check out the trailer to Verotika:
Verotika is a horror anthology film made up of three separate segments. The concept is based on Verotik Comics, an erotic horror comic label that Danzig founded in 1994. The segments are each presented by Morella, an appropriately mean-spirited goth.
The first segment, The Albino Spider of Dajette, tells the story of a sex worker who has eyeballs for nipples. This causes her great shame, when the eyes on her breasts shed tears these tears conjure up a giant man-spider dubbed, ‘The Neck Breaker’, who kills women when she falls asleep. I can imagine this having the potential to be poetic on paper, but on film, it is a fabulous disaster.
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Everyone in this segment speaks in terrible French accents for no apparent reason, a strange choice that has nothing to do with the story. It is supposed to be set in France, yet the theatre the main character enters clearly says “Los Angeles” on the marquee.
There are unintentionally funny moments throughout, long shots where scenes should have been cut, horrific dialogue and a laugh out loud moment where the “Neck Breaker” expresses, from a dark alley, his sexual desires.
The second segment, Change Of Face, is the one I found to be the most watchable. In this story, a masked stripper called ‘Mystery Girl’ steals faces from women and wears them to cover her disfiguration, making her the star attraction at a local strip club. This is pretty much just ridiculous overly long strip club scenes, with the odd Danzig tune thrown in for good measure. In Beavis and Butthead voice, “This rocks.”
The final segment is similar to the story of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian noblewoman who was thought to have bathed in the blood of virgins. If you are interested in half an hour of a woman bathing in the fake blood with long laborious shots of her staring into the mirror, then this is the story for you. I was literally begging the film to end at this point. This segment was beyond boring – post-boring, a new genre of boredom.
Verotika is a movie that has to be seen to be believed, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that. If you do choose to indulge, make sure you get together with some friends and be prepared for an assault on all common sense. I can see this gaining cult-like status as a midnight movie, and to give credit where credit is due, Danzig really has created a genuine oddity with this film.
Danzig has recently expressed he wants to focus on film projects rather than tour. I really do hope the dark hero who inspired generations of kids to fall in love with punk, hard rock, and horror has got another late career ripper of an album left in him yet. Otherwise that Legacy Of Brutality may fade into a Legacy Of Tragedy.
Verotika is streaming on horror streaming service Shudder. In most excellent news, the platform has a wide array of great content and I would highly recommend signing up. And of course you can still find Danzig II: Lucifuge and Walk Among Us on all music streaming services.