Ogroff: The Mad Mutilator (1983)

MARCH 7, 2013


Part of the HMAD "process" is to look around online (usually just the Wiki and IMDb pages for the film) and watch the bonus features for every film I can, because I like to know where they were coming from, if the movie was compromised, etc. Surely you can watch The Crow 2 and just hate it, but maybe if you know that Dimension had about 30 minutes cut out of it you can cut it some slack. However, some movies maybe shouldn't be researched, and should just be experienced without any knowledge about their creation. Ogroff The Mad Mutilator (aka just plain Mad Mutilator) is one such film - I suspect that if someone were to come forward with a tell-all book about its production, I'd tell them to keep it. I don't want to know*.

For example, early on a woman is tied up for a while by Ogroff, seemingly not wanting to kill her for whatever reason. He then goes off and kills some chess players that are just chilling in the woods, and then comes back and casually kill the girl as well. Why would I ever want to know the logic behind any of this, and ruin what, when in the right mood, is pure bliss? Even knowing the age or biographical information about the director would ruin things. Is he a 14 year old? An elderly man who had been raised by wolves? An actual psychotic? I don't want to know! Nor should you - you should let the magic that is Ogroff just pour over you.

At this point I should mention that I watched the film with my good friends Phil Blankenship and Jackie Greed, who have been invaluable and supportive of HMAD pretty much from the start. Phil of course has been the programmer for about 75% of the "Revival Screening" entries, and we can thank Jackie for just about all of the "Screener" copies since most of the studios tend to ignore me (can't blame em, really), and they only watched a few minutes of this a while ago before deciding they couldn't continue without me. It didn't take long for me to see their point - the movie seemingly begins somewhere in the middle, with a family on the side of the road in some isolated locale. The dad is seemingly just taking a piss, but the kid has wandered off and the mom is standing around near the car, so either the dude has a huge bladder or the car is actually broken down. And that would be fitting, actually - you notice the three genres at the top (four if you count French), but there's also a vampire in there somewhere, and it fits splatter and exploitation as well (not to mention is almost assuredly an independent production). Why not add "breakdown" to the mix?

But really, it shouldn't be considered any genre, as it creates its own. Ostensibly an attempt to cash in on the early 80s slasher craze, the movie is loaded with so many other things (including a bit where a girl seemingly falls in love with Ogroff) that by the time it's over the slasher element is a distant memory, since it ends with Ogroff on a motorcycle, swinging an axe and trying to rescue his lady from a priest that turns out to be a vampire as zombies wander around in hastily edited cutaways. Any continuity that exists between shots is seemingly accidental; things like closeups of someone inspecting a car's engine are inserted between wide shots of a different area entirely, and at one point a corpse seemingly regains the head that was chopped off earlier. There's a ton of gore, but apart from one pretty cool axe in the face, it's beyond cheap - usually you just get Ogroff swinging his axe (which he masturbates at one point) around at random, clearly not hitting anything, followed by an insert of said axe hitting what appears to be a pillow that has a blood pack inside of it.

Only the legendary Disconnected even comes close to hitting this movie's levels of WTF and endearing batshittery, but if I were to watch back to back I'd come away thinking Disconnected was technically flawless in comparison (Things would be another one to add to this mix). Ogroff wisely keeps dialogue to a minimum (6 or 7 total lines, and I'm not excluding incidental "No!" type stuff, because there isn't any) as the movie was quite obviously shot without any sound, and whoever was responsible for creating its soundtrack wasn't... how you say... good. Music just stops and starts at random, foley FX are way out of sync (and sometimes mismatched; a sledgehammer hitting a car door has broken glass sounds, later the sound of him hitting the actual glass is accompanied with a THUNK), and at one point we hear wild jungle sounds for a while despite the fact that the scene takes place in a French forest. The music is particularly special; imagine Carpenter's infant nephew fucking around with his Halloween II era keyboards and you'll have the right idea for most of it, but some 60s jazz drums get tossed in on occasion for good/confusing measure.

And an idea is all you CAN have unless you have an all region player, as the movie has seemingly never been released on US shelves, which is unfortunate (hey Intervision - get on this!). If you're all-region equipped, I highly recommend it if you have an affinity for this sort of thing. Now, I know what some might be thinking - yesterday I watched a movie that was just as inept (actually, not even AS inept), so it makes no sense that I'm championing this while damning that one. But here's the key difference - Bloody Jack lacked that je ne sais quois (hey, I get to use that term about an actual French movie for once!) that makes things like this, Things, and Disconnected so special. It's not just a bad movie - it transcends that term and becomes its own unique, wonderful thing that I'll never forget, whereas the Bloody Jacks of the world begin to fade before I've even finished watching them. I can forgive bad a lot easier than I can forgive being boring, I guess is the point to take away here, and after 6 years it's probably a good idea to start making a few of those instead of just aimlessly rambling all the time.

What say you?

*The DVD did have a bonus feature that appeared to be a retrospective by some of its makers, but they were in French with no subtitles, so that was of no use. We did, however, watch the "Diaporama", which was a collection of behind the scenes stills that proved they did have a camera and a crew of at least two.


  1. I can't believe no one has commented on OGROFF. I can only hope that everyone rushed to order the dvd and is now waiting patiently by their mailboxes for this grand masterpiece to arrive.

  2. Just ordered the dvd this morning. I showed some friends "Things" a few weeks ago and they still won't talk to me. I'll use this one as a way to make it up to them

  3. Sweet movie, got my copy from ioffer.com. Love the low-budget stuff!

  4. Watched last night my copy bought directly at ARTUS FILMS. Don't miss this masterpiece, if you are Z MOVIE lovers...........


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