REVIEW: VEROTIKA, Glenn Danzig’s ode to the classic horror anthology, suffers from a case of ambition over experience in execution.


While Danzig’s influences in Italian horror are well-represented, Verotika is a largely overstuffed affair without a critical eye for the editing and direction necessary to elevate the overall concept.

On one level, Glenn Danzig, music legend and well-known comic book and horror fan, has done a truly punk rock thing with his debut feature film, Verotika. He directed the film, shot it himself, and wrote the script; all based on his 1990’s hard rock horror comic book line largely illustrated by Simon Bisley. It’s a very DIY take on the sort of concept you see in Tales From The Crypt, or Creepshow. You get three stand-alone stories in an anthology narrated by Danzig’s version of a Cryptkeeper, a sexy, Elvira-esque demoness/hard rock chick named Morella (played by adult film star Kayden Kross). The first is a story about an Albino Spider creature given life by the tears of a demon named Dajette; did we mention the tears come from eyes embedded in her breasts? The second story is about Mystery Girl, a stripper who must kill young beautiful women and use their faces as dead skin masks to keep the illusion of her beauty. The final tale is entitled Drakija, Countess of Blood, which is essentially the story of Countess Bathory, who kills beautiful women to bathe in their blood in an attempt to keep her own beauty.

It’s very easy to cast stones at a production like this. Danzig directed many of the videos for his own band and, in many ways, you can see where that influence is at play. Premises are presented as stories, without any arc and allowed to play out on screen until they somehow end, not unlike a music video. The biggest issue with Verotika isn’t that it’s a bad film per se; it’s that there’s not a real storyline or reason for the film to exist. Danzig owns these properties, they’re all based on comics he wrote. But it’s more of 1950’s horror comic mindset in these of “look what we’re presenting – it’s so gross!” There’s clearly craftsmanship in effects and editing in an anthology like Faces of Death, that doesn’t make it a good film, or even a good anthology. Danzig is clearly committed to the concept and there is physical effects work throughout that looks pretty good; perhaps if lit or shot by someone with more experience, some of it might look at least on the level of something like a Brian Yuzna movie like Society or Faust: Love of the Damned. To be fair, there are some scenes featuring very stylized lighting; meant to invoke classic Italian horror scenes from films like Lucio Fulci’s Zombie or the work of Dario Argento or Mario Bava. However, for those easter eggs, the overall film drags. The 2nd and 3rd story, in particular, don’t have much of a story or point at all. It’s a premise stretched out to 25 minutes that seems longer. The biggest offender being the tale of Drukija, which is almost painful to sit through in that there are no characters, there is no arc, we’re just witnessing how a Countess kills a woman and bathes in her blood.

There’s a line of thinking that a movie like this will find an audience as an ironic schlock hit or “the next Room.” I don’t doubt some might program it to this end, but it isn’t that type of movie. VEROTIKA is deathly serious about itself, which makes it not a lot of fun to watch and even less of a crowd movie. It is a personal vision not unlike the weird films of Crispin Glover. I don’t think I would pay to heckle this, I don’t think I’d really enjoy watching this again. It’s one man’s vision; literally adapting several of his print stories, no matter how compelling they might not be.