Haunted Honeymoon

Film Review: Frisian Terror (2009)

SYNOPSIS:

A satiric underground horror film which attacks cults with full force.

REVIEW:

If a guy on the street opened his trenchcoat and offered to sell you rows of watches and jewelry that he swore were not stolen, you’d probably be leery of this man. And if a big, white van with no windows pulled up as you were walking down the sidewalk, and the driver asked if you’d get in and help him find his lost puppy, you’d most likely turn the other way. And if a Dutch horror film opened with an attractive blonde wearing nothing but a skimpy bikini, singing the praises of the movie and promising to remove said bikini IF you stay and watch the whole thing, you’d no doubt have a really bad feeling about the next seventy-four minutes of your life. Well, that is exactly how Bart van Dekken’s 2009 half horror/half comedy Frisian Terror begins.

The story is introduced with a flashback of the Frisian (a small region of Germany and the Netherlands laying along the North Sea…and knowing is half the battle, right?) King Sigurd, a brutal tyrant of a leader, being betrayed and murdered by his followers. Although he was killed in the fourteenth century, his legacy lived on throughout the years. In the 1980s a general of the Soviet Union discovered the whereabouts of Sigurd’s skull, which he believed would bring him ultimate power, and sent a team to recover it for him. In a back story reminiscent of the German horror classic Goblet of Gore, an archaeologist finds the skull, and is immediately filled with hate, darkness, and the notion that he is Sigurd’s prophet. He thus sets out on a mission, invoking squatter’s rights amongst abandoned buildings and recruiting an army to bring about the end of days.

It is at this moment that we begin our slow tumble down the stairs, awaiting the inevitable crash and burn. The prophet carries around a small piece of skull in his pocket (as the movie goes on, we find his pockets to be quite deep, as they also hold a gun, chloroform, a banana, and pliers, among other things). He talks to this chunk of cranium throughout the movie, at times envisioning the King giving him orders, which are proven to not be delusions when the King makes a woman appear, a “devil of lust,” with whom the prophet is ordered to procreate. The prophet is also joined in his quest by an entourage of two dudes who make Ike and Addley of the original Mother’s Day look like members of Mensa in comparison. And so we stumble forward, most of the first half of the movie focusing on the prophet and his two henchmen, Pope and Sieger, finding people trespassing on their compound and killing them in typical slasher fashion.

Earlier I mentioned this movie is half horror, half comedy. When I say that, I don’t mean to compare this to classics like Shaun of the Dead or Student Bodies. No, Frisian Terror actually seems to aim for horror at first, but when it becomes obvious that the scares aren’t working, cuts its losses and goes for laughs. The sad part is, if it attempted this from the beginning, I think it would be much more successful, because there are some genuinely funny moments in this movie. There is a drug dealer character that provides comic relief almost every time he hits the screen, a hilarious, Wile-E-Coyote-like ambush set up involving a sexy centerfold posted on a fencepost, and a great moment where the prophet and a rival follower have a confrontation, one-upping each other by quoting Sigurdian statutes.

While this movie is a disaster from the very start, I refuse to say that it is wholly terrible. Yes, the acting is bad, the effects are horrible, the story jumps from scene to scene, often with little explanation, and even the subtitles are poorly done. But it becomes obvious very early that this movie was made by a group of friends who are doing this for fun and out of love for the genre. At one point, Sieger is seen reading Lloyd Kaufman’s “Make Your Own Damn Movie.” Another scene shows us the drug dealer passing up sex and turning on television to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. These weren’t coincidences.

So much of Frisian Terror is so over the top ridiculous that you have to give them credit for not taking themselves too seriously. I mean, seriously, Sieger is a guy wearing a green wig and nylons over his face who nevers talks, Pope is a beer-bellied weirdo wearing a cheap knight’s helmet and carrying a broomstick. At one point, the prophet is spying on someone defacing King Sigurd’s likeness on a wall and is about to attack them, but is stopped by the sudden onset of diarrhea. I would love to see what these guys could do with a little more money and a little more focus, as I sincerely believe it would end up Troma-worthy.

Frisian Terror (2009)

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About seanofthedead

In 1987, after hearing Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” for the first time, Sean decided he wanted to play drums. After realizing all rock stars wore leather pants, he traded in his dreams of fortune and fame for 80’s sitcoms, horror movies, and punk rock. Sean has spent his recent years trying to recover from Catholic guilt while searching for an idea worth writing.

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