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John’s Horror Corner: Adam Chaplin (2011), an ultra-violent Italian action-horror in the insane spirit of Riki-Oh!

April 21, 2022

MY CALL:  This wacky movie features exciting visuals sure to please the gorehounds out there, but I just don’t feel the slog between the action is worth it for some of you unless you’re thrilled by exploitative lunacy. This is LOADED with ridonkulous, extreme gory action. MORE MOVIES LIKE Adam ChaplinFor a solid double-feature, you can’t go wrong with Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki (1991). Taeter City (2012) and Little Necro Red (2019) are similarly ultra gory Italian horror-action films, Tokyo Shock productions from Asia, and for their German counterparts we have Olaf Ittenbach’s No Reason (2010) or The Burning Moon (1992), which are less about action and more about horror and grotesque torture.

After the torture and murder of his wife at the hands of a mutant Italian crime boss, Adam (Emanuele De Santi) sets out for revenge with something of a bath salt fever dream demon Muppet on his back whispering evils into his ear. Having made a deal with the forces of evil, Adam is nearly invincible and of Godly strength.

Think of some extremely violent, very bloody, high action R-rated Anime… and then make it live action. You’d probably think of Tokyo Gore Police (2008) or Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (2009) or any of many Tokyo Shock productions. Now make it with an Italian guy (Director and writer Emanuele De Santi; Judy)… and you have Adam Chaplin.

This is a film that truly celebrates its gore in the spirit of Riki-Oh (1991). The imagery is absolutely grisly as faces collapse into punched-in skulls. I could just as readily describe this movie as the intersection of the utter madness of The Toxic Avenger (1984) and the dire vengeance The Crow (1994). Limbs are ripped off and blood geysers from their sockets, lower jaws are torn from skulls, heads are impaled with cleavers, a victim is split in two down the middle, and another gets “shafted” up his, well, rear shaft.

Not just in its violence, but this is even cruel on a casual level. A mutilated giant of man lectures a bound woman of her offenses before lighting her on fire, quite graphically I might add. Great care is given to showcasing her charred remains.

The film’s great downfall is that it takes itself and its script waaay too seriously. When it basks in its own violent absurdity, it thrives. When it focuses its lens on the investigation and motives of Adam, I flounder in insufferable boredom. And the boredom is not brief, but in long bounds.

So despite some exciting visuals sure to please the gorehounds out there, I just don’t feel this slog is worth it for some of you of aren’t thrilled by exploitative lunacy. Sure, the finale is LOADED with ridonkulous gory action. And I get a good guilty snicker out of it here and there as this guy’s head is fractioned by a punch, another is shot in half, and another suffers horrendous limb breaks or severances. Like so many other scenes in this movie, the final fight is absolutely an anime boss fight.

I think if this movie is for you, you ought to know it. Extreme gore is this film’s game.

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