hen 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
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.