The music of Glenn Danzig has always been rooted in the horror genre. Heck, during his time in The Misfits, Danzig and that band essentially created punk horror. If you’ve ever listened to a Misfits album, you know there’s rarely a track that does not contain an overt genre reference. More to the point, most of the songs themselves are horror narratives of sorts. As a result, Glenn Danzig has earned his place as a known, even beloved figure to many fans in the horror community, myself included.
Unsurprisingly, Danzig parlayed his success within the genre to another medium. Namely, into comic book publishing with Verotik Comics, which he founded in 1994. Over the years since its inception, Verotik has released twenty different horror comics for mature readers, all of which focus heavily on sex and violence. But, having been on the page for twenty-six years, Danzig finally decided to bring his comics creation from the page-to-screen and try his hand at writing and adapting a film adaptation of several Verotik Comics titles. Unfortunately, that means any curious horror fans are going to suffer.
This adaptation entitled Verotika is an anthology consisting of three (roughly) half-hour stories and a wraparound featuring a dark homicidal mistress named Morella (Kayden Kross). The opening story entitled ‘The Albino Spider of Dajette’ follows a young performer in the French adult entertainment industry called Dajette (Ashley Wisdom), who is haunted in her dreams by a homicidal creature known as The Albino Spider (Scotch Hopkins).
Sadly, while this story arguably holds the most promise of the trifecta, it turns out to be nothing more than an oversexed, weaksauce French version of Freddy Kreuger. Following that, ‘Change of Face’ tells the story of a serial killer who likes to strip women of their pretty mugs.
Alas, most of this segment seems to be more of an excuse to listen to Danzig’s music while watching strippers do their thing. Finally, the film closes out with ‘Drukija, Contessa of Blood’. Yup, you guessed it, this final tale is merely Danzig’s take on Elizabeth Bathory.
If you told me that a horror movie that’s nothing but bloody violence, sex, and nudity, would bore me to tears, I probably would not have believed you. Much like I didn’t fully believe my fellow horror fans online who said Verotika is a dumpster fire. Well, they were all right…Verotika is terrible.
Look, sex, and violence through the prism of the horror genre are dandy. But, you need some characters, story, or at least a minimum amount of moviemaking skills to back up the guts and flesh. Frankly, Verotika is nothing but violence and eroticism. Worse yet, no one involved in this film should be making movies. It feels and looks as if Danzig and his cast and crew merely watched a string of what were dubbed “Skinamax” flicks back in the day, then went off and made the movie in review. I say that because that’s precisely how this film looks, feels, and even sounds exactly like one of those softcore titles.
Now, I never want to trash a movie entirely, and that goes for Verotka as well. Thus, I’ll give Danzig credit for two things. First-and-foremost, from what little I’ve read of the source material, this is a faithful adaptation. Alas, what works on the comic book page doesn’t always translate into a movie. Secondly, I must commend Danzig for giving filmmaking a go, though I beg him never to do it again.
On that note, I beg you not to let your genre-based curiosity get the best of you. I and countless other horror fans have already suffered, so you don’t have to. Verotika is the worst movie I’ve seen all year. And let’s face it, 2020 has been rough enough. Please don’t make this year worse for yourself by watching this film.
Verotika is Currently Available to Stream Exclusively on Shudder