Lucker: The Necrophagous (US - DVD)
Gabe celebrates the low standards of horror movie fans just like himself...
From the official site: John Lucker is a deeply disturbed serial rapist and killer. Locked up in a clinic after committing eight murders (and keeping the bodies around for his own sexual pleasure after the people died!!!), Lucker manages to escape and flees to the city... searching for the one lone survivor of his previous killing spree. His disgusting rampage continues and more people die one by one.
Lucker must find and kill the woman who escaped him the first time… and no one will get in his way!
Horror fans are not known for their high standards. Most of us are happy with a spurt of blood and flash of boob, and usually we’re willing to forgive a bad line or lame set up so long as the ensuing death is juicy. This isn’t to say we don’t know a bad movie when we see it, we’re just usually less concerned with normal critical standards once we’ve placed ourselves in the right mindset. Lucker: The Necrophagous is simply the latest in an ever expanding line of low budget, low standard, low ambition independent horror features with an unnaturally sizeable DVD release. The collector’s market, along with years of bootleg VHS tapes, ensure these releases will sell. Lucker now joins the ranks of Leif Jonker’s Darkness, J.R. Bookwalter’s The Dead Next Door, Scott Spiegel’s The Intruder, and Douglas McKeown’s The Deadly Spawn (also released by Synapse) as a pretty well made, cheap and gory horror flick you’ll watch once and stick on the shelf.
For a student film with seemingly zero budget, Lucker could be a lot worse. The story is almost non-existent, concerning Lucker’s movement from victim to victim more then anything else, the acting is doubly bad, once on screen and once while being dubbed into English, and the cinematography is murkier then dirty turpentine, but there’s still some iota of skill on display. The film’s greatest asset is its pace, which is far speedier then most zero-budget horror and exploitation, though some death scenes devolve into broad repetition. The special effects are effectively icky, though not wholly convincing, and not nearly as shocking as director Johan Vandewoestijne intended. There’s an amusing quality and relative innocence to the film’s violence, actually, the most shocking images appear on a video screen as Lucker watches hard core porn.
Those in search of genuine disturbance, however, will do better to stick with Jörg Buttgereit’s filmography, as Necromantic and Schramm cover much of the same ground in a much more convincing manner. Lucker’s perversions and crimes are much more silly then frightening.
Um. Well. Jeeze, I don’t know what to say, Lucker: The Necrophagous looks terrible. The back of the video box tells us that the original materials were destroyed, and it appears that this anamorphically enhanced DVD release was mastered from a VHS tape. Details are fuzzy, the image quality is very, very dark, noise is prevalent to the nth degree, and the gaudy colours bleed into each other. The film’s colour pallet is actually pretty impressive for a relatively bad little feature, recalling some of Suspiria’s more noisy scenes, so it’s too bad that Synapse didn’t have a good source to work with.
It’s funny to note that this is a ‘director’s cut’ release, and normally one would need some kind of marker or director’s commentary to know what scenes were added when watching a film they’ve never seen before. This isn’t the case with Lucker because the new footage is exclusively made up mostly of insert shots of the villain picking things up or moving things around, and all these scenes are twice as detailed and brightly lit as the rest of the film.
The postproduction foley and ADR recording on this film is epically amateur. When Lucker licks blood from his fingers or simply shifts in his chair the effect is deafening, and there seems to only be three or four people recording the English dialogue. It also seems that they didn’t record nearly enough dialogue or screams because they are repeated ad nausea (“Please don’t!” “Please don’t!” “Please don’t!”). Volume levels are all over the place. The one constant is the maddening loudness of the vocal performances. The one surprise of that track that music is actually pretty well mixed, though it’s often lost in the massive wall of bad ADR.
It’s incredible that fans can depend on DVD studios to make mini-documentaries concerning the making of such underground, and unknown movies. ‘Lucker: The Story Behind the Film’ is an informative and well-paced retrospective interview/featurette with director Johan Vandewoestijne. The director covers his inspiration, which was simple frustration, the filming, and the distribution. Apparently this new ‘director’s cut’ was created using the audio from the subtitled VHS and the video from a French release. Most of the interview is Vandewoestijne’s talking head, but there are some behind the scenes photos, and before and after recreation shots, and scenes deleted from the ‘director’s cut’.
Also included is a copy of the VHS version that made the rounds with collectors for years, which doesn’t feature the highly detailed insert shots. This version has burned Dutch subtitles, and is not reframed to 1.85:1, so fans should be happy.
Lucker: The Necrophagous is a bad movie, pure and simply, but it’s the brand of bad movie that will bring back memories of gray market VHS trades – the pre-DVD days when horror fans really had to work to find the finest in gore – and that’s worth enough for most of us. This isn’t a lost classic by any means, but should be a kick for the right people. It should be avoided at all cost for the rest of you.
Review by Gabriel Powers
This product has not been rated
Release Date: 20th May 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono English
Subtitles: Dutch (burned on VHS version)
Extras: The Story Behind the Film, Original 'VHS' Version, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Johan Vandewoestijne
Cast: Nick Van Suyt, Helga Vandevelde, Let Jotts, Marie Claes, Carry Van Middel
Length: 68 minutes
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