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  Murder Me, Monster The Beast In Heat
Year: 2018
Director: Alejandro Fadel
Stars: Victor Lopez, Esteban Bigliardi, Tania Casciani, Romina Iniesta, Sofia Palomino, Francisco Carrasco, Stephane Rideau, Jorge Prado, Diego Trerotola
Genre: Horror, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A woman barges her way through a flock of sheep in the Andes, as there is something wrong with her, she does not look at all well and soon it is clear why: she has a large slash in her throat which as her head tilts back threatens to open up and decapitate her completely. Later, the police find her body, and are at a loss to explain what happened to her, so blame the elderly farmer and rough him up to get him to confess, yet he is just as bewildered as anybody. The head is finally discovered with the pigs, in the mud of their sty, and local cop Officer Cruz (Victor Lopez) is on the case, but like everyone else he has no idea where to begin...

Other than being convinced that whatever slaughtered the victim must have been some kind of wild animal, that was. Here's an Argentinean movie that could have regurgitated the same old slasher tropes in the most banal fashion possible, yet writer and director Alejandro Fadel preferred to place his own spin on what, from many angles, looked like a straightforward rip-off of the disreputable eighties horror The Incubus. That was the one where John Cassavetes, slumming it to drum up financial support for his personal projects, investigated a series of gory sex murders in a rural community that turned out to be committed by a monster with an enormous penis, because that's the sort of thing that passed for entertainment back in 1981.

Here, however, if you wanted to get away with material like that all these years later, it helped if you gave it an arthouse sheen, all the better to intellectualise its bad taste excesses. They were assuredly those present in Murder Me, Monster, or Muerte, Monstro, Muerte as it was originally called, apparently what the victims say to the killer before he rapes them and rips their heads off, not necessarily in that order. Lest this he accused, with some justification, of rampant misogyny, it later turns out the monster is none too fussy about what gender his victims are, but for the first two thirds we are led to believe it is solely women who are at deadly risk from his attentions, suggesting Fadel had a degree of the trickster in him.

So much so that he appeared to be pushing against boundaries already set in stone by the most outrageous shockers of the seventies and eighties. That tricksy nature extended to dressing this up in the slowest, more deliberate pacing imaginable, all the better to mull over every revolting detail of the killer and every theme about crime and sexuality Fadel wished to bring up. That would not be all being brought up if you watched this and were weak of stomach, but since a lot of patience was necessary to get through it, not everyone was going to make it to the end to discover whodunit - yes, it was one of those mystery slashers, though good luck cottoning onto that before a big reveal comes out of nowhere, as if chucked in for the hell of it.

Our hero, Cruz, seems to be on course for solving the mysteries, driven by his desire for revenge after his married lover (Tania Casciani) falls victim to the beast, but her husband (Esteban Bigliardi), while fingered as the most likely suspect, has drifted into a near-catatonic daze by this terror, so may be a red herring. Only the Captain (Jorge Prado) seems to be keeping events moving in a forward motion towards the solution, but he is a macho dolt who orders his men (and woman) with belligerent tactics. Whatever this was saying about not judging books by their covers was rather undercut by its eventual, sexual novelty reveal of the actual creature, which was a mixture of sex organs that was either totally unthreatening, or grotesque enough to make you think twice. Including gratuitous biker action scenes to invigorate the soporific, woozy atmosphere, this was just bizarre enough, perverse enough, to justify your time - but despite being very well made, definitely not for all tastes, even most tastes, this was seriously specialised weirdness for the connoisseurs of the outre. Music by Alex Nante.

[Released by Anti-Worlds on digital and in cinemas in the UK and Ireland from December 4th 2020.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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