03 October 2015

ROTTWEILER/2004/BRIAN YUZNA


Brian Yuzna began producing and making films under his own production company in Spain, where he permanently resides, called The Fantastic Factory in about 2000 and since then the work of this usually entertaining horror/gore director has been getting weaker and weaker. Yuzna began as producer for some of friend and associate Stuart Gordon’s best work, including Re-Animator, From Beyond and Dolls. He entered the directing arena with 1989’s Society and did some pretty good films after that including Bride of Re-Animator and Return of the Living Dead III. They were all well edited, shot and acted and contained some humor and wit to them. His newer works lack the humor and craft that made his American made films so watchable overall and he seems to trying to create Euro-sleaze now. Rottweiler is not a well done movie but is still watchable over all in the sense that enough happens to keep you amused, and some parts enter the classic bad movie realm, such as shocked chickens being killed by the film’s antagonist, a cyborg Rottweiler. Of course a true bad film is one that has lasted a decade or two and retains some sort of lasting allegiance by a fan base. I do not know if this film is old enough or campy enough to really be a “good” bad movie, but none the less I recommend it over lets say watching Pretty Woman again or committing suicide.

The plot is pretty simple and sometimes vanishes altogether. Dante (William Miller) is an American in a Spanish prison. He is being held for playing a game called infiltration with his girlfriend Ula and both are subjected to abuse by evil prison warden Kufard, played by European horror institution Paul Naschy. A distraction is created in the camp when a prisoner is stung by a scorpion and in classic chain gang fashion Dante and a “negro man” high tail it. The film almost seems like it could become a sci-fi version of 1958’s The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sydney Poitier chained together in Jim Crow deep south, but that is not to be as the black man is chewed to bits by the Rottweiler and allows Dante to escape. After that the movie really gets hard to understand in some ways, because nothing much ever happens. After Dante is recaptured by a guard he kills the guard and escapes again and the dog chases him and proceeds to maime and kill everything in its path but Dante. There seems to be little reason why the dog cannot kill him and yet over and over Dante eludes becoming Alpo. In one instance he even has to run naked from the dog, who drops Dante’s weapon the water, leaving him without pants or gun. But the dog never catches up with him and he is caught later by a lonely Catholic woman who forces Dante to have sex with her. She, however, is killed by the dog (along with one of her chickens in a totally weird scene) and Dante (with clothes finally) flees with her young daughter. There is the eventual final confrontation between Dante and Kufard and the dog who crawls out of a fire and looks like he could have been Arnold’s pet in The Terminator. The film is loaded with flashbacks and they do not resolve anything at the end.

Make no mistake, this is not a good movie by a film maker who could do better, but it is not without moments and if you like to watch something just to laugh or be pissed off by how ludicrous it is then this is for you. It never gets so totally absurd or boring that it cannot be watched, and there is enough well shot gore and nudity to keep your eye lids from drooping permanently.

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