The Merits of Sin: Kraven (1990-1992) (Germany)

Backyard splatter is pretty much the cornerstone of low budget horror. A subscription to Fangoria and enough like minded weirdos turned many a fright flick fan into a filmmaker in that late eighties, early nineties boom period. America had itself a plethora of enterprising young folks looking to get their blood soaked dreams out on vhs but they sure as shit weren’t the only part of the world unleashing no budget hijinks. Germany has become pretty synonymous with amateur gore and in Kraven, ya got a film that hits all the marks and manages to stay pretty damn entertaining thanks to a kitchen sink approach and enough enthusiasm to power a small airplane.

Enthusiastically yours….

First things first, there will be plenty of guess work. As much as I love getting my hands on these weirdo titles forgotten by many, the average copy usually stands in its original language with no subtitles. As much as I’d love to know what the holy hell is going on it’s just not in the cards. I’m not complaining, many times it adds a nice level of fever dream to the whole ordeal. So I just want you to know that any aspect of a plot I can decipher is thanks to my limited understanding of German and familiarity with the genre.

This means pleasure in German

Two evil scientists kidnap a hermit to perform some experiments on him. They’re trying to perfect a serum that can regenerate body parts but their previous “volunteer” met with an explosive ending. When it seems they have succeeded, the hermit escapes. They catch up with him pretty quickly and set his poor ass on fire. Well now we have a crispy homicidal psychopath on our hands who is pretty damn hard to kill to boot. Luckily he can’t seem to get too far as some wiener who is supposed to be a bad ass manages to dismember him when he attacks. Unbeknownst to said wiener (who goes by the name Clint Wayne) it’s gonna take more than some severed limbs to keep our dear Kraven down.

Clint Wayne: Portrait of a Wiener

Kraven resurrects and Clint returns to finish the job. The two evil scientists are also running around trying to get their hands on their experiment and mortally shut Clint up. It goes about as well as you would think and ends with one scientist decapitated, one severely injured and (somehow) Kraven is exploded by Clint. Yeah. I’m not sure how the hell that happened either.

Risky business

Five years pass and we see a robed figure hanging out by a fire. My initial reaction was that Clint was now some sort of renegade hobo, hunting the wilds of Germany but I was wrong. Turns out the robed figure is the grim reaper and his skeletal (well skull headed, he has human hands) decides to resurrect Kraven for some reason beyond my realm of understanding. Just roll with it.

Sure. Why not?

Kraven’s resurrection brings a now wheelchair bound surviving evil scientist back into the picture as well as Clint Wayne. Dr. Wheelchair finds out the whereabouts of Mr. Wayne from his assistant who is somehow Clint’s girlfriend (I think) so he hires a trio of teenage mercenaries (in all fairness the whole cast is in their teens) to take care of the guy who fucked up all his shenanigans five years prior. But Clint ain’t no easy target and manages to avoid capture. Unfortunately his girlfriend is kidnapped by Kraven and being kept…well..somewhere.

Script reading

So everyone who still has a beating heart comes together at some industrial location to either get themselves murdered or do a little murdering. Kraven gets his ass handed to him by Clint’s gal and various sharp objects are thrust into dummy bodies full of viscera. There’s a fiery ending for our killer and a happy one for our heroes.

Not a hero

There’s no lack of ideas within the barely over an hour splatter epic and it’s to the benefit of all viewers. The usual boredom that comes with these repetitive crap exercises only peaks through briefly and I was mostly just smiling as more ridiculousness made its way onto the screen. Comprised of four films shot over two years, this “director’s cut” offers the complete amateur epic. I’m not sure what the hell just happened but I’m thankful that it did. 6/10


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