A year after Anthropophagus became an international hit, director Joe D’Amato (Aristide Massaccesi) re-teamed with star George Eastman (Luigi Montefiore) for this underrated sequel. Rosso Sangue was banned by the British government during the Video Nasty Era and suffered from multiple name changes when it was released. In America, Wizard Video released the film as Monster Hunter with a completely bogus synopsis on the back. Video renters were promised a tale involving a priest battling witches, mad doctors, and a killer fog. At various times Rosso Sangue was also released as Absurd, Grim Reaper II, Spawn of Hell, Terror without Limits, and (best of all) Zombie 6. In 2009, Rosso Sangue finally received a dvd release through Mya Communication under the title Horrible. It’s little wonder the follow-up to Anthropophagus is an overlooked slasher considering the numerous name changes and false advertising surrounding its release.
The film opens with Eastman running from a priest (Pieces star Edmund Purdom). During the chase, Eastman is impaled and gutted on a row of spikes atop a fence. After recovering at a local hospital, Eastman kills a nurse with a drill through the temple before escaping into the night. During his rampage across the country side, Eastman butchers a butcher and slaughters future director Michele Soavi. The tension and suspense really gets cranked up in the second half of the film when Eastman invades a house occupied by a disabled girl, her little brother, a babysitter, and a home health nurse.
Slashers fans with a taste for gore will love Rosso Sangue. Extreme gore mixed with slow, delibrate brutality makes the kill scenes pretty unnerving. Besides the drill through the temple, viewers are treated to a head shoved into a meat saw, death by pick-axe, eyes gouged out with a metal compass, decapitation, and scissors to the throat. In what has to be one of the cruelest scenes ever seen in a slasher, Eastman slowly roasts a victim’s head in an oven. The victim struggles to escape Eastman’s grasp while the flesh boils, bubbles, then turns crispy. It’s a tough scene, folks, made so much worse because it happens to a likable character.
Unfortunately, Rosso Sangue suffers from bad dubbing, ridiculous dialogue, and unanswered questions concerning major plot points. When asked by a cop to describe a patient, a nurse replies “he’s not my type at all.” How Eastman became an immortal killer and made it to “America” from Greece is never explained. The sight of hulking Eastman running from middle-age, out-of-shape Purdom is laughable, especially when Purdom has to stop every few feet to take very deep breaths. Other unintended laughs include the operation scene (actors poke pig guts with medical instruments but do little else) and the worst American football party in history (slurping noodles during “The Big Game” isn’t an American tradition).
With its extreme gore and suspenseful final act, Rosso Sangue is an Italian slasher that should receive more attention from genre fans. Joe D’Amato and George Eastman made some really terrible horror films together ( The Erotic Nights of the Living Dead and Porno Holocaust) but Rosso Sangue is one of their best efforts. The Eye-talian dynamic duo later teamed up with Michele Soavi to make slasher classic Stage Fright (a.k.a. Aquarius). D’Amato produced Eastman’s script while Soavi handled the directing duties.