Review: The Burning Moon (DVD)

Intervision Picture Corp returns with a long awaited DVD release of one of the most notorious, gore drenched, cult horror nightmare films of all time, The Burning Moon!

  • Director: Olaf Ittenbach
  • Starring: Olaf Ittenbach, Beate Neumeyer, Bernd Muggenthaler
  • Year: 1992
  • Runtime: 98 Minutes
  • Company: Intervision Picture Corp
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.33:1 - 4:3 - Full Frame
  • Audio: German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: 0 - NTSC
  • Released: 3/13/2012

With The Burning Moon, I've now seen what hell looks like. Hell is a midnight nightmare beamed from a lucid analog source somewhere in Germany. The conductor of this sweaty, mean spirited symphony of hate against mankind is director Olaf Ittenbach, a man that would make Satan itself cower in fear. Never before in my young movie watching life have I ever witnessed something so unequivocally repulsive and anatomically defying that's left me completely overjoyed.
The Burning Moon is a dual anthology consisting of demented, gore drenched tales of humans doing really bad things. These stories are told by Peter (Olaf Ittenbach, looking like the German clone of insano comedian Tim Heidecker), a pudgy punk who spends his days failing job interviews, drinking beer and engaging in drunken gang brawls while exclaiming "they'll shit their pants, those faggots!". Peter retreats home to find that his parents are leaving for the night and he has to tend to his little sister (loving referred to as "that little bitch"), which he is none to happy about. To cope with the responsibility, Peter injects himself with a syringe full of dope and barges into his terrified sisters room for some good 'ol bedtime reading. It's sibling bonding at it's finest.
The first outing from Peter's satanic bound book titled, "Julia's Love" is more or less a cautionary tale dealing with relationships, psychopaths and finding that perfect someone to absorb love juice (more on that later). This is right about where the hate filled ocean of carnage begins to leak from the dam, before exploding altogether. Julia (Beate Neumeyer), has a history of hooking up with asshole guys but her upcoming blind date with Cliff (Bernd Muggenthaler) will break that streak. Turns out Cliff is a freshly escaped mental patient and is obsessed with Julia's beauty, confessing after gruesomely slaughtering her family that he wants to "penetrate", have "kids" and have her "absorb all my love juice". It's safe to say Julia isn't too good at picking men. 
The second and last tale is lovingly titled, "The Purity" and unloving features a psychotic priest who rapes, kills and mutilates impure townsfolk, while still preaching Sunday mass. The priest's other activities involve performing satanic rituals that includes bathing, drinking and massaging in sacrificial blood. Just another day spreading Satan's word. A subplot involves a dopey farm boy who's blamed for the murders and is bludgeoned to death by local bullies, leading the guilt ridden man who carried out the hit to literally descend into Hell and become the subject of it's legendary suffering.
If it wasn't apparent through my above summarizing, The Burning Moon is a gore-hounds mecca that demands to be seen. Thousands of gallons of blood is spilled, leaked, sprayed and super soaked throughout. Heads become detached with a swift swing. Legs are ripped apart like annual turkey wishbones. Basically the human body is eviscerated and mutilated in ways you didn't even know were logically or illogically possible. This is The Burning Moon's crowning achievement, a no holds barred forging of rubber and latex made possible through true practical FX wizardry.
The Burning Moon is undoubtedly a subterranean masterpiece who's modus operandi is to disgust and entertain. To boot, the story is even surprisingly coherent (unlike Things, Intervision's previous mind melting release), something of a luxury when dealing with obscure cult shot-on-video atrocities. There are not many films at the same bizarro level of The Burning Moon, who's images may forever be burned into my head but it's ok, I've welcomed that kind of trauma with open arms.

  • Video
Having only been issued on foreign VHS tapes, Intervision gives The Burning Moon it's long awaited DVD debut. This transfer looks more like a tape master than a VHS rip so quality is limited but still quite good. Shot-on-video in the early 90's, the films look is more in tone with a TV teledrama than an acid washed public access channel like most films of this sub genre. There are no apparent or distracting tracking lines and only a minimal amount of analog hiccups that can't be blamed due to it's source material. The Burning Moon can only look so good but Intervision's release is the best anywhere, now and possible ever.
  • Audio
A single German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is available and like the picture quality, can only be good to an extent. The Burning Moon was obviously dubbed, giving off that "voice in a can" sound but its not a bother with the available English subtitles, which are bluntly hilarious. There are a few, small instances of audio dropouts but once again a source material issue that's unrelated to the discs mastering. It's a "as good as it gets" audio offering that faithfully showcases it's original recording.

Bonus Features
  • Documentary - "The Making of The Burning Moon"
Holy. Shit. Intervision has included a 40+ minute documentary, that consists of interview footage from director Olaf Ittenbach and many of the actors, as well as offering a fly on the wall look of many of the films stand out scenes. This is hands down fascinating and reassuring since I thought this film was surely made by otherworldly demons. Most interesting is how Ittenbach, in an attempt to save money, basically did everything himself and assumed the role of a stuntman. Great anecdotes are spilled that include pissing off onlooking homeowners, filming illegally without permits and the hardships of getting effects shots just right. Also intriguing is in many during filming the behind the scenes footage, the actors are sometimes speaking their lines in English! I was completely unaware of this docs existence and I'm beyond ecstatic of it's inclusion.
  • Trailers
An original trailer for The Burning Moon is included, along with a trailer for previous Intervision release The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Reversible Cover
The cover above is the actual reversible cover which I prefer since it's more in tone with the original VHS art. On the flip side is a newly created cover that looks like someone meshed bodily intestines and select photos from the film through photoshop.