If you love low-budget gore and feel like you're running out of gloriously sanguinary movies to sate your bloodlust, there's one obscure German horror filmmaker who may be to your taste: Olaf Ittenbach.
Gore director Ittenbach — the German word is Splatregisseur, which is pretty satisfying — was a dental technician before making his first splat picture, Black Past, in 1989. Ittenbach provided SFX for bonkers Uwe Boll action-horror BloodRayne, but it's his own work that truly delights devotees of derangement. Before reading about his gore-a-delic movies, maybe check you're ready with this poll!
Do you like very, very gory horror movies?
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Ittenbach's Best Known Horror: Dard Divorce
- Released: 2007
- Budget: €400,000
- Runtime: 87 mins
- Language: English
- Extreme Gore Highlight: A beautifully drawn out dissection of a body in a bathtub by a naked guy, the tender precision reminiscent of a more romantic version of Aftermath.
A simple divorce goes horribly wrong when Nathalie (Martina Ittenbach, the director's then-wife) discovers that her lousy spouse owes all the wrong people a lot of money. Her dog is murdered, and the word 'Dard' — an ancient Persia word for 'pain' — daubed in blood on her property. Things only go downhill from there.
Olaf Ittenbach bleeds more bright gore joy from $400,000 than most would from $4 million. A child, wrapped in clingfilm, is sawn in half. A marvelous slaughter sequence splatters a small kitchen with the blood of six men. An S&M maniac castrates, beheads and totally eviscerates a prone gimp, maniacally flinging the guts from his victim's abdominal cavity before flinging some pills at the corpse, saying pithily, 'Here's a couple of pills for your headache'.
If you love gore and you love movies by people who have a deep respect for the horror genre, watch this. I would love to see what this guy could do with a few million dollars.
Ittenbach's First Horror: Black Past
- Released: 1989
- Budget: $1157
- Runtime: 85 min
- Language: German
- Extreme Gore Highlight:
Released the year the Berlin Wall came down, Black Past was truly made on a micro-budget — 2000DEM in obsolete currency, the Deutschmark. Even adjusted for inflation this only puts the budget around $2,245 in today's money. The movie is in German, so be careful to find a subtitled version if you need it in English.
Black Past concerns disturbed teenager Benny — an influence on Michael Haneke's 1992 Benny's Video, perhaps? — who unleashes unnatural forces when he unwisely meddles with a chained-up trunk hidden in his family home. Not gonna lie, this movie is not a fraction as accomplished as Dard Divorce, but it's interesting to see where Ittenbach cut his teeth on horror movie filmmaking.
The highly addictive song in the trailer is Martin Kippenberger's 'Yuppi Du'.
Expect wooden acting and delightful German accents throughout. Sometimes the dialogue is drowned out by the music due to dodgy sound mixing. The script sometimes drops some hilarious clangers, perhaps due to the director writing in English rather than his native German. But none of this matters because Ittenbach's movies are so damn lovable.
Start with Dard Divorce to see if Olaf Ittenbach's crazed aesthetic is to your taste, then check out some of his other gleefully excessive gorefests.
The Burning Moon (1992)
Premutos: The Fallen Angel (1997)
Beyond the Limits (2003)
Garden of Love (2003)
- Chain Reaction/House of Blood (2006)
- Savage Love (2013)