On this day, 26 March, in 1988, the Italian horror film Evil Clutch was released. It was writer-director Andreas Marfori’s first feature film. He’s a very interesting guy, which may explain why he’s only made six features. Some of them I’ve never found like Energy!!! The Movie, which features Timothy Leary.
But you can find other films that are worth checking out like Desperate Crimes (featuring Denise Crosby and Traci Lords) and Soviet Zombie Invasion. Evil Clutch sets the stage for Marfori’s idiosyncratic career.
The film starts with a young man going to a remote building where a beautiful woman is sitting. They start to make-out but then a claw appears and she rips off a bunch of flesh from his groin. He slowly dies and she now has white skin and fangs and laughs maniacally.
Not long after… The woman flags down a couple in a jeep. She says she was attacked and they give her a ride to a nearby town where they are vacationing. Once there, the woman sees a motorcyclist with a voice box and runs away.
The motorcyclist then tells the young couple a horror story about the zombies. They don’t like it and run away. But he follows and tells them that it is dangerous. Nonetheless, they stay and camp, disregarding one of the primary rules of horror films: always listen to cryptic warnings offered by people with unusual physical disabilities.
They soon run into the evil woman from before and follow her to the same building she was in at the start of the film. There’s a zombie roaming around (the victim at the beginning). Some goop splashes on the guy and he becomes sick and then homicidal.
Then it gets weird…
Really! This is a seriously weird film. It does, however, have a flaw that makes it a bit hard to really submerge yourself into: it’s such a rip-off of Evil Dead II including tons of Sam Raimi’s two-by-four camera work. But if you can get past this, Evil Clutch has much to offer!
Andrea Marfori has a more interesting visual sense than Raimi. And much of the gore is gloriously over-the-top — yes, even more than Evil Dead II.
I loved this film! For me, the Raimi stuff was part of the fun. And it’s not like the filmmakers are being coy. One of the characters refers to the zombie creatures as the “evil dead”!
You can get Evil Clutch on a Troma DVD. You can also find it around the internet, but generally in very bad shape. Much of the film is very dark and it’s hard to see much of anything at times. But knowing Troma, the disc isn’t that much better.
Image via Amazon under Fair Use.