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October 01, 2013

Adam Chaplin

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Emanuele De Santi - 2011
Autonomy Pictures Region 0 DVD

In some ways, Adam Chaplin is close in spirit to films like the original Robocop or Darkman both thematically and visually. These are films about men who should have been left for dead, but re-emerge as physically modified, and not quite human. The three films cited here also take on a comic book aesthetic that is usually not seen in movies adapted from comic books.

As a work of dystopian horror, there may have been many sources of inspiration - possibly Chris Marker's La Jetee, as well as splatter masters like Stuart Gordon, Peter Jackson, David Cronenberg, the Sushi Typhoon band of Japanese filmmakers, and even Nick Zedd. My point is not not merely name drop, but to try and locate this film within a certain kind of tradition of transgressive film that operates at least in part with artistic motivation, and not only to gross out the viewer.

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The story, as such, is about the title character seeking to kill the men who killed his wife. We see her death at the hands of a man whose black mask partially obscures what is certain to be a maimed face. The wife is burned to death for not paying money owed. Adam Chaplin walks through wreckage of a city called Heaven Valley. With incredibly rapid fists, Chaplin pummels the faces of his enemies. Egging him on his quest is some strange growth, an extra head that pops out to command him. The chief villain, the guy with the mask, keeps himself alive with a drug called Necrocril 3, a drug that also causes his body to be a distorted mass of nerves and muscles. There is some kind of symbolism involved with an upside cross, but it's explained or in any way dwelled upon.

Sure, there is going to be audience for a film featuring extreme violence, one that advertises the sheer bloodiness of this project. Again, what is most interesting to me is the effort De Santi put into trying to make a film that looks like the live action version of a comic book. One of the more interesting supplements is about the fake blood created for the film. De Santi not only wrote and directed, but played the title role, and composed the soundtrack. Giulio De Santi served as producer and also acted in this film, virtually no budget save for the what was put in to create the special effects. That Adam Chaplin somehow burst from local sales out of Italy to a number of international distribution deals has allowed Giulio De Santis to make a new film, with a bigger budget, and in English, Taeter City, released last year.

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Posted by peter at October 1, 2013 07:42 AM