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To say that Olaf Ittenbach is a strange man would be a huge understatement.

To have the mind to come up with some of the things that play out in THE BURNING MOON, you’ve got to be one sick bastard. Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with having the type of twisted thoughts he has – that is unless you’re acting them out in real life- but it takes a person who walks so severely far off the beaten path to allow for these types of film to exist and in many ways, I am thankful for their presence among us here on earth.

THE BURNING MOON is an intense telling of some stories by a character so extreme that he could only be played by the brains behind the anarchy himself, Olaf Ittenbach. Coming home from an intense street brawl, our aforementioned young no-good heroin addict, Peter, is forced to care for his younger sister as his parents are going out for a night on the town. Not able to shake himself of the duty, he gets a quick fix and decides it only right to indulge his younger sibling with two “bedtime stories” that should seemingly help her sleep through the night. Fortunately for the viewing audience, however, these stories turn out to be something way more sinister in nature.

Let the shit-show begin!

The first of the shorts, Julia’s Love, tells of the misfortune of the title character in her quest to find a perfect mate. Having a penchant for attracting the “crazies,” she heads out on this particular evening, hoping that she’s managed to shake herself of the curse and find herself a Mr. Right. Initially, it would seem as though everything is going well for her, but a radio broadcast quickly turns the tides of the night. While waiting for what appears to be the perfect guy to return, breaking news interrupts the music and Julia quickly discovers that her too-good-to-be-true suitor is actually a deranged, psychopath who had recently escaped from his psych institute and is on a murderous rampage. This further infuriates his inner monster and leads to all kinds of morbid mayhem as he slices and dices his way through Julia’s family and friends in his quest to obtain her love. It’s a pretty twisted account of a madman’s attempt at romance, but it completely pales in comparison to the next adventure strung out Peter has for his unsuspecting little sister.


The second tale is a quite a bit more chilling and it involves an extremely corrupt religious figure who lives his life on both extremes of spirituality. The Purity, as it is billed, follows the story of a well-respected man in his 1957 farming community who is seemingly a devout Catholic priest by day, but rapes and murders women by night in the name of the Dark Lord, Satan. In the midst of these sadistic happenings around town, the townsfolk begin to grow suspicious of an entirely innocent individual and, as the plot unravels, copious amounts of blood is shed as the story culminates in what is truly a sight that cannot be described - something that must be witnessed by one’s own eyes to even begin to understand the breadth of its depravity.

It’s in this closing scene – which seems to have been shot in a crappy, downtrodden basement – that Olaf’s effects abilities truly shine. It’s almost twenty minutes of the most disgusting, nonsensical, gore filled chaos I’ve ever bore witness to in any of my previous cinematic outings. Thinking back to some of the nastiest stuff I’ve seen before - HOSTEL, the SAW films, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, etc – nothing even begins to scratch the surface of this sequence. I’d thought that I’d witnessed some sick shit, but in relation to this, it doesn’t even compare. Not only are the on screen events conceptually off-putting, but the visually stimulating execution of it all is near –if not actually - vomit inducing. Those who haven’t a strong stomach need not even apply for this, and even for those who typically find handling intense displays of gore in films to be a walk in the park, it’s still quite unsettling.  If the events taking place in Olaf’s Hell are any indication as to the purgatory one would expect from living a sinful life, I’m calling it quits on all the evil shit in my day-to-day. It’s fucking nuts.


All said and done, what truly makes this movie such a relic, one that has been heralded by its small fraternity of viewers for quite some time since its early 90s release, is Ittenbach’s attention to his craft. After watching THE BURNING MOON, it’s not surprising to know that he went on to direct a few other cult classics and lend his hand for the effects in some even larger affairs.  Not entirely neglecting the story aspect of either of the two smaller tales he himself presents as the film’s “narrator,” the plot manages to be the perfect canvas on which to showcase the film’s disgusting details without being just an outright catalogue of filth. While there are moments when you may question the actions of some of the characters – Julia’s refusal to notify the authorities about the escaped psycho in the first bit had me going bananas for quite some time – the performances are not so bad as to be unforgivable in the grand scheme of things. There seemed to be an understanding of what this film was meant to do and everyone seemed to play their roles in achieving that goal. Like I said before, it isn’t for everyone but, to repeat the tired cliché, “it is what it is” and if you’re onboard with what they’re trying to accomplish here, then you’ll love it.

For all you rejoicers of the repugnant, torture porn loving, mentally deranged fanatics who get murder boners when the color of crimson fills the screen, you’re truly in for a treat with this one. Apparently, for quite a while, THE BURNING MOON was truly an uncommon wonder to come across, as it mainly circulated around the German underground on seedy bootlegged VHS tapes with tracking issues galore, but thanks to its recent re-release here in the states on DVD by Intervision Picture Corp., it is now attainable to the masses. I suggest that you get your greasy hands on a copy of this one and sit back and enjoy this treasured piece of trash. You’ll probably feel like less of a human being for doing it, but I’d venture to say that that isn’t always a bad thing…



-Jon Doe

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 25, 2012, 4:40 a.m. CST


    by torontoxic

    you crazy Dutch bastard!

  • April 25, 2012, 5:28 a.m. CST


    by melonman

  • Ah fuck it - I'm going to have to track it down to satisfy my completist mentality…

  • April 25, 2012, 5:39 a.m. CST

    The problem with your review

    by Alex Fritz

    As I began to say what I have to say an ad with a shirtless prepubescent boy wearing sunglasses and sporting a fauxhawk while giving me a thumbs up just slid down my screen. That was some real creepy ass shit. But what I was going to say is that a review like yours hypes up the horror, depravity and repulsiveness of this film too much. Now my expectations are so high I'm bound to be disappointed. This has happened basically every time someone has sited a movie to be too sadistic or violent or deranged. The Human Centipede, Hostel, Cannibal Holocaust, Vulgar, Natural Born Killers, and countless others have left me feeling devoid of any emotions not because what I just saw was so desensitizing but because I didn't bat an eye at any of the nasty shit I watched. Maybe I've spent too much time on the internet, having stumbled upon sites like and having witnessed real depravity from anons posting the most emotionally numbing gore on 4chan. Meh, I guess this is a personal issue. I just want to be able to be horrified by films again okay? Like how I felt nauseated and sad walking out of the theater after having seen The Passion. I will say A Serbian Film ellicited a few "Jesus Christ"'s from me, but most of them were because I watched it in company and didn't want to seem completely unfazed by it.

  • April 25, 2012, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Also, this film is stocked at Waterloo Records

    by Alex Fritz

    In case any of you Austin gore hounds were looking to pick it up.

  • April 25, 2012, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Murder Boners

    by gotilk

    Reason number 9 on my list of reasons why I'm so glad I do not have any daughters. They'd never leave the house until they turned 22. Because I actually believe there ARE people out there that get murder boners. I'm actually shocked there isn't a metal band called MurderBoner. Perhaps because it's not easy to spell badly. Murd3rBon3r? MerderBoner? MerdorBonor? MordorBoner? (epic Sword and Sorcery Metal) It reminds me of a band name I came up with late one night in a game I like to call *Worst Band Name Contest*. BonerDonor. LOL Get it? They donate their boners. (to worthy causes of course) Penile Philanthropists. Anal Altruists. CUNTributors. Patron of the arts. oh...

  • April 25, 2012, 5:49 a.m. CST

    This series is something I really look forward to here.

    by gotilk


  • April 25, 2012, 5:53 a.m. CST


    by Alex Fritz

    Johndiesattheend princest Funginal bleeding pimple pussy HemorRAGE BERSERKER Need to incorporate drinking into this game.

  • April 25, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Looks and sounds fucking shit

    by masteryoda007

    We are reaching saturation point with this crap.

  • April 25, 2012, 6:26 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    I second the drinking suggestion. Oops, too late. RAGEina CIRCUSision ooh.. Clown-On VAG Against the Machine (girl band) MANGINA! Zenyatta Dentata (all girl Police cover band)

  • Jesus!

  • April 25, 2012, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Especially this reviewer, goddamn.

    by Topaxi

  • April 25, 2012, 6:43 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    ...the HELL?

  • April 25, 2012, 6:50 a.m. CST


    by MD

    For all you rejoicers of the repugnant, torture porn loving, mentally deranged fanatics who get murder boners

  • April 25, 2012, 7:01 a.m. CST


    by MD

    I cannot, C A N N OT understand why people make & watch evil shit like this. Let's call this 'genre' what it really is; it's pure, nasty, irredeemably evil garbage for a sub-human audience of desensitized & dehumanized morons.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:01 a.m. CST


    by MD

    Back in the real world, real adults, & children FFS, get abused, tortured, murdered, cut-up & everyone who actually has any feelings left is affected for all eternity.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:02 a.m. CST


    by MD

    Yet here we have psycho douche-bags getting their sick thrills (murder boners WTF?) watching visceral re-creations of another humans grisly demise... all for some unfathomable 'entertainment' value.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:02 a.m. CST


    by MD

    Yet here we have psycho douche-bags getting their sick thrills (murder boners WTF?) watching visceral re-creations of another humans grisly demise... all for some unfathomable 'entertainment' value.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST

    So I just shouldn't watch any horrors?

    by Kill List Hammertime

    Cos nearly every single one of em at some point features someone dying in a horrible way for the viewers amusement.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST


    by Alex Fritz

    Like most answers to good psychoanalytical questions it probably has something to do with my childhood. I was raised in a suburban, loving and nurturing household (well except for one stepfather but that's a story for another time). As a consequence I grew up virtually detached from what I'll call "real violence" that being violence outside of childhood scuffles and the oh so rare spanking. along with that my mother has pretty much always aloud me to see, play and read whatever I wanted to from the age of thirteen on. Even before then I had seen films like Scream, Sleepaway Camp, Halloween And Aliens. I guess some chemical in my brain has always found movie violence appealing but when I was younger I ate that shit up. what started as playing violent video games and watching basic action and horror films evolved into me seeking out books like Battle Royale and films like John, Portrait of a Killer. The culmination of violence's societal taboo and the fact that I'd been so disconnected from it made it a great interest of mine. Mind you I've never been a violent person but instead am quite the fanatical liberal. Actual violence appalls me, especially towards women (which probably has something to do with the aforementioned step father). Fast forward to now. I've seen my fair share of depravity as I stated in a previous comment. At this point in my life horror films like all the shitty remakes that come out today give me no pleasure. But I'm still searching for a film that can make my skin crawl and wish that I had just ignored it. I've pushed my personal threshold for violence so far that it takes the most gruesome "torture porn" imaginable for me to break a sweat. Which is weird. I'm into many genres of film and books. Most "good" romantic films cause me to get all lovey-dovey, I cherish comedies of all shapes and sizes, films that cause me to think and question give me the most thrill. I even enjoy most action films, but when it comes to films that revolve around gruesome violence offer me nothing. So I guess I'm just looking for a film that'll give me that childish sense of fear and horror. That'll make me squeamish and sickened. It's a feeling I get a lot from reality, which sucks, but very little from films. So there's my two cents about "torture porn" and why I'm looking to get a "murder boner". I hope this doesn't come across as too silly or moronic for you to understand.

  • April 25, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Personally I just like seeing some sick shit.

    by Kill List Hammertime

    As I can distinguish between real life and make believe. It's called SPECIAL EFFECTS. And watching it doesn't turn me into a heartless killer, in the same way watching Apollo 13 doesn't make me a fucking astronaut.

  • April 25, 2012, 8:34 a.m. CST

    read rushinlimbo..

    by DrPhilHartman a Dr. Evil voice. Fits.

  • April 25, 2012, 8:34 a.m. CST

    So, it's worse than Human Centipede 2?

    by zastrow


  • April 25, 2012, 8:52 a.m. CST


    by Alex Fritz

    I'm still working towards my first set of laser mounted killer sharks. I'm not quite up to Evil status yet. Funny thing about all that shit I just wrote; I wrote it all between cod matches. PS next time I babble on and get way too personal can one of y'all slap me across the face?

  • April 25, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST


    by DrLektor

    I think it stems from the viewers basic need to feel scared. If you look at the evolution of horror, you can see a shift from haunted house and creepy thrills to stuff that the creators make to genuinely disturb you, because a man in a white bedsheet or mysterious noises in the night aren't enough in the current climates. While it's true that much more horrific things happen in real life and watching the news alone is enough to make you sick, when it comes to fiction or entertainment it's a much safer release, you know it's not real therefore you can feel secure that although your mind is being assaulted, nobody was actually hurt, so it's actually a test, a rollercoaster, "can we watch it? Dare we watch it?" All the torture movies are is basically an excuse for the makers to take it to the next level. Some do it for shock value, because they can or because they want to push the medium further than anyone before them, others want to make things that disturb themselves, a cathartic release? A few actually have a good story or idea behind it. Maybe there's even a point to it all, a message they're trying to send. When I watch a stupidly gory movie, half the time I'm laughing because the blood and guts are so unrealistic it destroys the illusion of what the director is trying to do and it becomes one of those "so bad it's good" movies. The other half I am profoundly shaken by because they're given you relatable, even likeable characters thoughout the film and then butchered them. On the whole though I tend to avoid violent sex films. That's a genre that makes me feel uncomfortable. Probably exactly what the creator was aiming for but I won't go there. It's pure horror when you're confronted by subjects like that. Rape and children are incredibly taboo subjects when making a horror movie to the point where mainstream stuff is, dare I say it, diluted. Nightmare on Elm Street for example. I love most all horror movies, despite the SAW generation but I won't watch a Serbian Film. That's one rollercoaster that's a bit too extreme for me.

  • Not that I'm saying it should be banned, but this kind of stuff has no more relationship to horror than Caddyshack.

  • April 25, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Torture porn vs Horror

    by gun_will_travel

    Totally agree 2for2true. Too many filmmakers confuse disgust with fear. It takes nothing to show something gross. It takes mastery to evoke fear. Why do filmmakers keep trying to lower the bar?

  • April 25, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Worst Horror Director Ever

    by CuervoJones

    That guy knows nada about filmmaking.

  • April 25, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Ittenbach is... so 90s!

    by CuervoJones

  • April 25, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST

    But is it worse than August Underground?

    by quicksilver80

    Not that I've watched those movies, but I've heard they are pretty sick (and not in a good way)

  • April 25, 2012, 11:12 a.m. CST

    justusliebig was right, Dr Evil fits perfectly.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • April 25, 2012, 1:16 p.m. CST

    This shit gets a wide DVD release and still...

    by SenatorJeffersonSmith

    no fucking Bluray of Midnight Run! The world is falling apart

  • April 25, 2012, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Hurts to see somebody actually writing a positive review

    by john doe

    Don't believe everything you read on AICN. I actually have a friend who likes Ittenbach and he's still my friend ;-) But I can't stand this dreck. Believe me this review was written under the influence of some kind of drugs. The dialogs are so painful which is enforced by really bad acting you can't even describe as being amateurish. The aformentioned 20 minutes of the most disgusting, nonsensical, gore filled chaos are really only 8 minutes and a practical joke when compared to movies like HOSTEL, the SAW films and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS like the reviewer did. The only redeeming feature this movies has is that it's so bad that almost any other bad movie you might have seen seems to be a gem compared to this.If not you have a really strange and in my humble opinion bad taste. Save the money,save the time or even bandwith.It really ain't worth it.

  • April 25, 2012, 7:17 p.m. CST

    thanks for your responses

    by MD

    OK, after my tirade against this death-fest, I sincerely thank rushinlimbo, driektor & gun_will_travel for your thoughtful answers. Obviously I cannot & will not share the desire to 'witness' re-creations of people being slaughtered in the most gruesome manner. I think 2for2true gets it right- they are snuff films; but I understand the cathartic release from 'surviving' a good fear-laden film. I hope nothing happens to you in real life that matches your screen fantasies.

  • April 25, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Giant

    So you've never seen such films as Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Watchmen, The Wild Bunch, or Rambo? They all have visceral re-creations of people being slaughtered. And you can't enjoy any gory horror movie? Not Evil Dead 2 or Dawn of the Dead or Re-Animator or Dead Alive? Because they do too. Yeah, people are murdered every day and it's horrible...but do you not thrill in Die Hard where McClane makes the villain fall to his death from a building?

  • April 25, 2012, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Cover art looks like 1st two Carcass albums.

    by adeceasedfan