Film Review: Ostermontag (1991)

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SYNOPSIS:

Heiko has fallen in love with his stepsister Fabiane who rejects him and lets her twin sister Nicole replace her. One day he plans to kill Nicole in order to end the recuring mix-ups. Unfortunately he catches Fabiane instead of Nicole and is sent to a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Years later he manages to escape his prison and seeks bloody revenge on Nicole who he blames for the loss of his love

REVIEW:

I wonder how many horror movies I’ve seen open with a warning to the viewer that what is about to happen is extreme, grotesque, not suitable for kids or people with heart conditions, etc. There seem to be quite a few, a detail which somewhat dilutes the effectiveness of the tactic. And then there’s Ostermontag (Easter Monday in English). As if recognizing the watered down approach of the opening warning, director Heiko Fipper goes a step further and includes three warnings at the beginning of his 1991 film. Yet I still watched it…

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This is one of those low budget German horror films that has no English subtitles and makes little sense (see also movies like Blutnacht 2, for example). Granted, it may not make sense even if it did have the subtitles. But what it lacks in coherent story it more than makes up for in nastiness, gore, and extreme violence against women. It’s up to the viewer to decide if that is a fair trade.

Ostermontag opens with soft lighting, candles, and champagne, but quickly goes bad when we see one of the glasses of bubbly get dosed with something. Suddenly a topless, blindfolded, unconscious girl is being tied up and poked with a needle in a very sensitive female place. She is then flogged for a bit before the man pulls out a knife. And then we see a guy attacked by two other guys. Who he is and what his relation is to the first scene, I can’t tell you. But he does cut one of his attackers’ face off, then his other attackers’ hand off before…we cut to a guy answering his door and talking to some other guy.

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I’m going to stop here for a second. There isn’t much in the form of “credits” at the end of this movie. Sure, we see a couple names, but not their character names. So it’s a little difficult to explain who is doing what. Then again, knowing the names wouldn’t make it any better really, so I’ll just continue.

In what appears to be a separate storyline, a girl comes to an apartment only to be attacked by the guy who lives there. The room is full of p*rn and sex toys, as well as potential weapons. He beats and humiliates the girl, tying her up, throwing her in the bathtub, and urinating on her. Someone keeps ringing the doorbell, but each time he checks, there is no one there. Eventually he turns off the p*rn that is playing on his tv and puts on a videotape titled Ostermontag, which shows the intro scene that we all saw, the one of the candles and champagne and the tied up girl and the guy with the knife. Again we are interrupted by the doorbell, but this time a guy with nylons over his face is there. There is a fight, a stabbing, a decapitation, and in the end the girl escapes.

From this point on, we have three men beating, torturing, and degrading a bunch of women at a party. Why? I don’t know. What does it have to do with what happened earlier? I don’t know. But what it boils down to is the simple idea of if there is a woman on-screen, her character will be humiliated and killed off without prejudice. Needles are poked in eyes (that’s a tough one to watch), breasts are cut off, faces are burned on the stove. A woman is tied up on a leash. Another woman is urinated on in the bathtub, this time by all three men. Every time a punch is thrown or a bottle is smashed against a head, a cartoony sound effect accompanies the hit. And then there are the rapes. One is with a knife. Another is with a gun, then a knife. Both are brutal and disgusting and excessive.

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Ostermontag (also known as “Snuff Holocaust” as well as the very telling “I Spit On Your F*cking Grave B*tch!”) is everything you’d expect from a movie made by group of friends with a video camera and a proclivity for gore. It is often too dark to see. The effects are nasty but at the same time fairly basic and cheap (which isn’t to say they aren’t nauseating). The acting is not good, but then the story doesn’t leave much room for acting anyway. It’s a gross movie that adds up to little more than a confusing plot and lots of brutal violence against women for no reason. There are a couple moments when you think it might go more darkly comical (as the director Fipper’s later movie, Das Komabrutale Duell, accomplishes with a similar lack of plot), but those moments never play out and you find yourself back in the dark.

This particular version of Ostermontag comes from the special edition DVD, which includes as extras some out-takes, trailers, interviews, a recipe for making the blood (?), and a couple of short films. One is titled Ich Geh… Wenn Du Gehst (roughly I’ll Go If You Go). It’s about fifteen minutes long about two guys who presumably are going to kill themselves. The short is much lighter than the feature title and even has some goofy, I assume intentionally cheesy CGI effects. Also on the disc is something called HF-Party. This is a forty-five minute, shaky camera house party, complete with bad music and pizza eating. It does have a twist at the end, but to wait so long for a small payoff may not be worth it. Especially since there are no English subtitles to the extras. Basically it equals out to sea-sickness while watching a home movie of some twenty-something Germans smoking cigarettes, eating pizza, and flirting with each other.

Ostermontag (1991)

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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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