Film Review: Family Saga (Familienradgeber) (2006)

SYNOPSIS:

A dark black comedic gory look into splatter legend Olaf Ittenbach’s Family. Absurd extreme violence presented under the ridiculous premise of Olaf’s life.

REVIEW:

Well it had to be done. Olaf had created a film with his entire immediate family under the microscope of being truly dysfunctional to the point of this dark comedy titled “Family Saga” (aka Familienradgeber). The film is listed as a horror comedy, but for new viewers note that its “extremely dark” comedy using all sort of nastiness, gore and ridiculousness (such as the killings of family members only to come out unscathed)

The film takes a lighter tone than some of Olaf Ittenbach’s other films AND he does it hand in had with his beautiful wife Martina. Daniel Ittenbach is featured as the son, with Melanie Ittenbach as the their daughter. Now I’m assuming this is Olaf’s real family (as they look like their parents) which means that the Ittenbach’s truly have some interesting home videos to look back on.

The movie takes a zany approach that could have its own cult following if not for the extreme sections woven in to make it unwatchable for normal viewers. It begins simply with younger Olaf drinking himself into a stupor at a local pub. It is during these binges that he meets Martina (while vomiting all over her). Soon this couple in love ties the knot and begins their abstract way on thru life. This varies from fetish sessions to literally beating the crap out of each other for entertainment. It’s damn funny to watch as they kick, punch, and smack each other into submission only to find themselves constantly revisiting their marriage counselor who brings upon blank stares from the Ittenbach’s.

Abusive is an understatement, though it seems to be part of the family dynamic (which sometimes results in crazy pranks such as sh*ting on plate and serving it to the spouse). The 2 of them soon find themselves becoming parents despite Martina’s lack of concern as she snorts cocaine and gets herself drunk (during pregnancy). The Ittenbach’s give birth to a son and daughter which is beforehand displayed in a gory abortion-style-eque performance that gives way to more absurdity. The family grows in their relationship killing off pets, eating rat and occasionally getting a cleaver to chop each other in the heads. The whole film acts as a parody on violence and the “Married with Children” model enhanced by the great special effects work of Olaf Ittenbach.

While portions relish in there extreme nature, they also do it while having fun. The clincher here is that people and family get killed quite often only to show up in the next scene for more damage. A good example comes in the way of scenes like when Olaf becomes frustrated with his son and bashes his head to a bloody nasty pulp. Each child suffers a horrible death only to resurrect back for more. The mother and father even send the kids packing at an early age so they can indulge at home (only to find out another has been conceived!)

All of this extreme content runs underneath the blanket of a comedic approach that makes for a demented version of the Addams Family (if they were running under the rating of a NC-17 film).

Segments are separated by title cards detailing the crazy life of the Ittenbach’s and how they came to be. As far as I know, the film is only available in German without subtitles, though most can follow the film without with “Family Saga” being so visually rich and easy to follow.

If you can’t get enough, the film received a sequel in 2009 under the title of “Familienradgeber 2“. It’s pure gory fun for extreme horror fans who like a little comedy thrown in on occasion. If you dig “that”, then you’ll also want to check out Takashi Miike’s film “Visitor Q” (as a great companion piece). I thought the film was inventively hilarious and perfect for the gore hound crowd who likes extremely dark humor. A kick in the pants that deserves a look!

Family Saga (Familienradgeber) (2006)

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