August Underground's Mordum DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Toe Tag Pictures
Do you know how fucking hard it is to cut through clothes? - Vogel's character
Written and directed by Jerami Cruise, Killjoy, Mike Schneider, Fred Vogel and Christie Whiles
2003, Region 0, 76 minutes
Not Rated, but no doubt it would be X
Like its prequel, August Underground, Mordum starts off open-ended. This time, the movie begins with the killer from the first movie (again played marvelously by Fred Vogel) trying to get into his girlfriend's house. He's pretty upset because she's having sex with another man.
After the two young lovers work out their quarrels they, along with the girl's brother, go on a killing spree not unlike the one in Underground.
But this time the brutality is much, much worse.
August Underground, as disturbing as it is, is a good movie because it showcases Toe Tag's outstanding special effects while maintaining a high sense of realism.
Mordum, unfortunately, fails where Underground succeeded.
Yes, there are still some great special effects. But instead of being a descent into debauchery and depravity, Mordum is a "gross-out" contest that eventually becomes old. Instead of disturbing, Mordum is just a waste of time. And talent.
One of Underground's greatest strengths, aside from the effects, is its sense of realism. It succeeded in this by only portraying one killer, Vogel’s character, on screen. In Mordum, it's a free-for-all, with seemingly everyone and their brother (literally) getting in on the action. Instead of insanity, the movie borders on a Benny Hill skit. Granted, a Benny Hill skit that includes forced vomiting, rape with both an intact and a severed penis (and oral copulation with said severed penis), and sex with a gaping stomach wound. There is some fucked-up shit in Mordum. Shit even more fucked up than the fucked-up shit in Underground. But it has none of the impact.
It's the difference between a high-speed head-on collision and 28 cars rear-ending one another. By the 20th car, there's nothing new and it’s borderline passé. It gets to the point where it’s not even disturbing, just distracting. Nothing to see here, move along.
Where Underground is disgusting and disturbing, Mordum is just disgusting.
If the point of Mordum is to disgust, it succeeds. Perhaps too much. There are scenes in the movie in which the only purpose is to disgust. In one, Maggot, the character who will literally fuck anything, is having sex with the dead body of a young child. Real young. No older than 10.
Or the scene in which a trash can lid is lifted, only to show a headless baby.
The only purpose of these scenes, and others like them, is to say, "Hey, look how depraved we are!" And because of those moments, the movie is a disappointment.
Underground affected me. After I watched it, I thought about it for weeks after. It was that good. When Mordum arrived in my mailbox, I had mixed emotions. I really wanted to watch it, but I had to build myself up to what I would be watching. I expected something similar to Underground and, in a way, I got that. But there is no power in Mordum, just revulsion.
Toe Tag let me down the way an honor-roll student lets his parents down when he brings home a report card full of "D's." I know Toe Tag is capable of more. In Mordum, Toe Tag took a big step back. Instead of genuine fear, it used the black cat.
However, say this for Toe Tag: Even though Mordum let me down, I'm still looking forward to the upcoming The Redsin Tower because, again and again, Toe Tag’s special effects are that good. Don't take my word on it, check out Daniel Benson’s review of Murder Set Pieces. He'll tell you the same thing.
I hope after Penance (the third in the August Underground series), Toe Tag puts this series to rest. The company has proven it has the skills to disturb and disgust. Now the question is, can those skills be taken to the next level?
Video and Audio:
Like its predecessor, Mordum’s full-frame image is dirty, blurry, shaky and ugly—just like the movie.
But it works for the type of film it’s trying to be.
Also like Underground, the audio is all over the place, at times muffled and at times blown out. But, again, it works for the type of film it’s trying to be.
Of the three deleted scenes that are offered, "lick my pubes" is the one to watch. I had an uncomfortable smile by the time it was over.
The music video from Necrophagia (with special effects by Toe Tag), should be watched. It's creepy and foul and wonderful. Plus, it has zombies.
Trailers are on the disc for August Underground, August Underground's Mordum and August Underground's Penance. While it's more of a teaser than a trailer, Penance did manage to peak my interest.
Rounding out the special features is a still gallery that plays on its own for just over three minutes.
It's a shame Vogel didn't do a commentary for the disc, as I would have loved to have heard his thoughts on the film.
Toe Tag has re-released Mordum at the affordable price of $20 plus shipping and handling. Don't buy it. Instead, if this movie is up your baby-containing-trashcan filled alley, scrounge up $40 and pick up August Underground. You’ll be short a dead baby, but you’ll have a better movie. And is missing out on a headless baby a bad thing?
(Review equipment consists of a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, Sony DVP-CX875P DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)
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