|The Plot: In the great land of Germany, a feud of biblical proportions arises between two families. A drunk driver named John Eisentempler accidentally kills the father of the Bandera household, and from there his son seeks revenge alongside the Eightlets Mafia, a ruthless group who will torture you for years before finally killing you. He seeks to destroy the Eisentempler family and will do everything in his power to see their blood shed. The Eightlets offer young Bandera the opportunity for revenge against the entire Eisentempler family, all but one. The youngest son who is studying in the states. However, once the entire family is dead – they’ll lay in wait for him to return so they can destroy him as well. The two offspring will now commence with their fighting for the next ninety minutes of your life, using all sorts of weapons upon one another and commit an increasingly horrible amount of atrocity’s all for our viewing pleasure!|
The Review: I first read up on Heiko Fipper’s Das Komabrutale Duell right around the time that Olaf Ittenbach’s Premutos was first turning heads in the underground horror scene. It seems like Premutos, Violent Shit III and Das Komabrutale Duell (DKD from here on out) all hit at around the same time. They really put Germany on the map when it comes to gruesome gory violence, but DKD seemed like the one that was talked about the least. I remember watching the trailer on their website many years back and simply being stunned. At the time having not seen any of Andreas Schnaas’ work and only Premutos from Ittenbach, it was still kind of amazing what these guys were all going in their backyards, making some of the most extreme gore flicks ever made. So here we are, what, a decade since the completion of the film and Unearthed has released the film on DVD for all to finally see… and to understand, because up until their DVD you were pretty much stuck trying to either learn the language or write your own dialogue. Subtitles or not though, DKD is essentially unintelligible. I mean, there is some story here, somewhere. It has something to do with mafioso’s who are indestructible and some guy who’s family was killed because of a drunk driving accident – but all of that you’ve read in the plot synopsis above is what I’ve gathered by searching the internet because when watching the film you get none of that. There are brief moments where things happen and characters are given backstory – but they’re usually so riddled with quick cuts to mask the gore effects that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with. Does it really matter though? We all know why we went into DKD, I guess the only question is: does it deliver enough gore to make us forget just how silly it all is?
“Oh my god, babies!”, easily the best line of the movie. Apparently this sentence is the same in English as it is in German. It is spoken by one of our… heroes? Villains? I really don’t know what their group is truthfully, but he utters this eternal bit of dialogue after stumbling upon the body of his good friend’s old lady. One of their enemies found her sitting on a park bench and decided to rip out the multiple babies that were currently nesting in her belly. After removing the babies, what is one to do other than stomp them into ground meat? That’s just the sort of flick DKD is, don’t expect much in the way of good taste or any kind of common decency. Heiko and his merry group of fellow gorehounds all wanted to create something as brutal as any film could ever get, and they succeded in a lot of ways. Heiko’s film easily makes it into the top echelon of goriest movies of all time. It’s right up there alongside those previously mentioned gore classics from Schnaas and Ittenbach. At the same time however, you have to acknowledge that it’s also easily the cheapest looking and is one of the least coherent of all the Underground German gore classics as well. Thankfully, unlike Schnaas’ first Violent Shit film it is at least focused on a plot that delivers some entertainment and not just boredom. I suppose that’s debatable of course, but until you’ve seen Schnaas’ first film you can’t imagine a truly boring gore flick.
There are good elements to Duell and then there are the obvious flaws. The good stuff comes from the originality of the film. The fact that, for whatever reason, the characters cannot die gives things a certain air of originality. Although this unfortunately creates problems as the film then revolves around the two groups constantly going back and forth fighting one another and doing all sorts of horrible things to one another. It becomes pretty predictable by the end, but there are those moments that make it all worthwhile. Such as when one character has his brains literally blown out and his buddies come to his aid by yanking one of their heads off, splitting their skull in half with a table saw and then taking half of their brain and putting it into the skull of their brainless friend. Sounds pretty gross eh? You don’t know the half of it. The scenes such as this one or the fetus-ripping sequences (yes, pluralized) are the better of the gore moments, where the plot actually deviates from the “wow, they shot me eleven times, let me go back and then shoot THEM eleven times!” formula that the film finds itself revolving in for the majority of the runtime. The gunshot/hammer/bat/knife strikes all appear to have been done with blood bags held by the actors where their open wounds are supposed to be, which takes away from the movie somewhat because it makes the FX seem so obvious, so when we finally see a head explosion or some other gratuitous torture, it breaks the monotony of it all.
The gore FX are about what you might expect for such a tremendously low budget affair. No matter how much Heiko and his friends tried to hide their budget, it’s apparent that their torture sequences are obviously being shot with plastic draped over the walls so as not to get the fake blood everywhere. The ‘backyard’ look of the film doesn’t do it any favors, but c’mon, if you’ve seen the trailer or you’re familiar with Schnaas and his early work then you know what to expect from this one. Lots of cheap (although thoroughly disgusting) gore made by bunch of diehard fans. Although you obviously can’t give the film excellent marks, since after all there’s essentially no plot and what little plot there is you can barely understand it, but I will say that for underground German gore flick it’s above average. I’m a little letdown that Heiko Fipper hasn’t had a larger career since this film first hit the market. With the cult audience the movie has garnered you’d think the gorehounds would have went out and FORCED him to make something new. I’m hoping to see more from him some day, as I give the film a three out of five. That’s three points essentially for the gore alone.