When a film opens with the titular character getting gutted by a sword, his insides spilling out, and then the character grabbing his own intestines and taking a big juicy bite, the viewer has two options: stop or keep watching. If you choose to keep watching after this 5-minute opening sequence, then you really have no reason to complain about what you’re getting.
German Andreas Schnaas is back with his latest horror/gorefest “Nikos the Impaler”, also known by the title “Violent Sh– 4”. The budget this time around is a lot smaller than what Schnaas had for 2001’s “Demonium”. The money for “Nikos” couldn’t have been more than $50,000, and if it did cost him more than this, than he spent way too much. It’s not like the money went to paying the actors, who ranges from acceptable to horrendous to atrocious. The money also couldn’t have gone to the sets, or even the costume that director Andreas Schnaas wears as the titular Nikos.
Our story: Killed 1,000 years ago for his evil deeds, Nikos reawakens in 2003 inside a museum. Armed with a giant broadsword and a bad case of 1,000-year grumpiness, the reawakened barbarian goes about taking out the museum’s patrons. Until the hour mark, Nikos never even makes it out of the museum, and when he finally does, he makes some stops at, in order: a gym, a movie theater, a lesbian bar, and then a video store, where he brings to life two useless ninjas, a really hot succubus, and a chubby Adolf Hitler. And oh yeah, he even brings back Eva Braun for some knee-scraping love action that takes place in a surprisingly well-lit back alley.
Taken as nothing more than a splatter film, “Nikos” does succeed as entertainment. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a wealth of problems. And no, I’m not going to start talking about how the script doesn’t make any sense, or that the movie fails to follow proper narrative structure. None of that stuff works for “Nikos”, a film that simply defies conventions because it doesn’t give — for lack of a better phrase — a single crap about the rules.
What I do have a problem with is “Nikos'” derivative nature. The movie is rather pointless, with Nikos just slaughtering his way through the museum for no particular reason, and then continuing the killings out on the streets of New York. To say that the museum sequence really drags is an understatement. Although most of the hour spent at the museum is devoted to Nikos’ mass killing, screenwriter Ted Geoghegan (who also wrote “Demonium”) gives his characters some truly inane things to say. In particular the character Daisy. Of course the character might have not been so grating if the actress was at least decent. The fact is, the Daisy character probably has the most lines in the whole movie, so why didn’t Schnaas hire a better actress?
There’s plenty of bloodletting in “Nikos”, and since there’s very little money to work with, the filmmakers clearly try their best. Of the impressive bodycount, probably more than half gets donated courtesy of decapitations via broadsword. There are some inspired killings sprinkled throughout, but one gets the feeling Schnaas and company must have really gotten a good deal on those detachable mannequin heads that pops off the mannequins whenever Nikos “decapitates” someone, because we get this same kill many, many times.
Despite its smaller budget, “Nikos” is actually much more entertaining than “Demonium”. I’ll even go so far as to say that I admire Schnaas for running around like a maniac with his actors on the streets of New York armed with a video camera. I believe footages shot on the streets were done with video cameras, while 16MM film cameras were used for the indoor locations. In a lot of ways, the movie is not a complete failure; in fact, it’s probably a big success for gorehounds.
And yes, if you were wondering, Schnaas even throws in a lengthy shower scene featuring a very nude young woman who, once the audience has been allowed to sample her assets, gets her assets literally torn off by a shower-crashing Nikos. That’s gotta hurt.
Andreas Schnaas (director) / Ted Geoghegan (screenplay)
CAST: Joe Zaso …. Frank Heller
Felissa Rose …. Sandra Kane
Andreas Schnaas …. Nikos
Frank Franconeri …. Bran
Daniel Alvaro …. Vlad