It’s always interesting to see horror films coming from different parts of the world, the nuances that they incorporate into their storytelling, and this time we return to Slovenia, that had a long absent in producing horror flicks, Short Night of Glass Dolls [1971]; then Killbillies [2015] from director Tomaz Gorkic, now presents this movie which was originally called The Curse of Valburga. He attempts a so-called horror comedy however, comedy is subjective it doesn’t always translate very well, which is the case here, they often miss the mark; best to stay with the horror only. As there are some truly bloody moments in the film, to satisfy gorehounds and splatterpunks, all thanks to distribution from Jinga Films.

When one hears the title of this movie, we get a common theme of what to expect, a vampire in a tux or Radu from Subspecies [1991] in an old-world castle or mansion which has seen better days, spoiler not exactly a bloodsucker (Davor Klaric) though does appear practically at the end of the film, for about 2-seconds (seriously). In addition, he’s not referred to as the count, rather Dracula’s cousin, the Baron of Valburga or Bloody Baron, it’s a plot that stumbles often but leans more to a slasher genre flick than pure drinkers. As stated, the director sought a comedy theme, he aims for exaggerated stereotypes, however they are either uninteresting or simply unsympathetic, hence the pleasure for a viewer is to figure who shall live and die. Two brothers Marjan (Jurij Drevensek) and his brother Bojan (Marko Mandic) seeking money, come up with a clever and devious business plan, scamming tourists, with invented a story about Baron Valburga, who wasn’t kind to the peasants or staff, and make up a website to arouse the interest of travelers who want to walk in the footsteps the Baron. They meet up in a tavern, while Bojan awaits his brother’s arrival, he’s humiliated by a woman in the bar, an awkward humor display. Once Marjan arrives he introduces Ferdo (Ziga Födransperg) to his brother, but they actually know each other, and appears for strange stumbling and lengthy meeting (almost 20-minutes) about this scam.

They hastily setup a website to lure in the tourist, one is Sven (Niklas Kvarforth, who is the vocalist of Swedish depressive black metal band Shining), has a rather strange conversation with his friend Miles, needing him to purchase a ticket for his trip, tour, and a firearm, it seems to play-off the Wazzup scene from Scary Movie [2000], just a lot worse. On the fateful day of their arrival, Marjan never rehearsed any of his scam, not the tour, layout of the castle, nothing, rather sounding like a bubbling idiot. This consider humor? I don’t think so, there’s an eccentric group of tourists, which doesn’t exactly help in the laughs department and generate a single thought with the audience and not likable travelers. Once inside things unravel quickly, though likely viewers will root for Marjan to meet his fitting justified demise. While his two business partners attempt to set up phony scary gags, the first brutal attack occurs, we see only the aftermath; then we quickly cut to a trio of Russian tourists, headed by Vasily (Luka Cimpric) seeking to make an impromptu porno, with Dasha & Anastasya but, before anything really happens one of the girls is killed however the angle of the slaughter is impossible to actually occur, but no one is looking at those details. As the insanity of killing is occurring another trio of friends who are goths, Chloe and Louise wearing all black, drink absinthe and seeking to become vampires and their friend Luis only wants cocaine and to party with them. Seriously these on the fodder that is available to witness being stalked, stab, sliced, smashed, with first pretty cool saw blade sling shot. As the pandemonium breaks loose, a German husband and wife act more as an audience while drinking beer in endless supply from a tiny purse and humming folk music. The reminder of the group scurrying around seeking a way out of the madness, though Sven is looking for a mythical object which he finds in order to summon a demon, however he stakes in claim incorrectly, and we never see the unholy creature. Meanwhile some of the women finds themselves capture by the primary killer, which leads us to another sub plot. Where’s the humor – not here.

Down the cellar the horror fans likely rejoice because of all the blood splatter as they pulverized victims for filling their bellies, thanks to nondescript cannibals and one villain dressed in a scarred face, German infantry helmet and sleeveless uniform. Then it cuts back to the German couple waking up in the foyer with no worries, except finding more beer to drink from that same small purse. Oh, funny – I suppose it plays off the concept of firing guns without ever reloading, yep hilarious. As they leave, they find a flyer about a drinking fest, they plan to travel there, and toss the paper, which digitally floats into the basement to the cannibals. Sequel – fine but no humor.  This add-on portion is truly too late in joining on the action, it feels very rushed they are there for breeding reasoning, to help a group of cannibals hiding the basement a group supposedly leftover Partisans defeated the Germans from World War II. The audience learns about all this through a hurried exposition, told in story book of pictures.

The filmmakers make a point to show the Leviathan Cross, or Satan’s Cross, in various locations, it originally served as an alchemical symbol but adapted to the Church of Satan by their founder Anton Szandor LaVey (The Devil’s Rain [1975]). However, it’s never explained or used in the story therefore making it lost set/plot designed flaw. Another item that’s bothersome for viewers, is a lot of the dialogue is in German and Slovenian one needs to read the subtitles therefore the font needs to readable as they contain numerous odd spelling mistakes. One filmmaker continually overlooked is allowing a famous or infamous location to speak for itself, here they had access to Novo Celje Mansion, a place inhabited as a psychiatric hospital and then seized by Nazi forces who committed atrocious acts of cruelty, once more showing history filled with horrific stories to embellish for fictional reasoning. Nevertheless, there’s a frantic pace overall with some well-done practical effects of realistic brutality, however its always the case, sometimes it slips and dips a bit. The storyline also is a bit problematic, perhaps rushed either due to budget or possibly losing their main location, therefore the proper setup of how the characters are introduced, especially the cannibals.

Photo Credit: Jopa Pituchopa

There’s a simple way to look at this movie, first if quality horror which is strong characters and a good story is a must for you then avoid this flick, however if you willing to overlook those aspects and enjoy countless beheadings, sheer slaughter in a version of truly low-budget slasher then this outing shall serve you a pleasant meal.

TAGLINE: Horror never remains buried deep enough

IMDb Rating: 4.3/10

Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10