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Tears of Kali (2004)
11th Jan 07
Plot Tears of Kali is a grisly horror anthology telling of three stories related to the Taylor-Eriksson Group, a cult that was based in Poona, India some twenty years ago and the repercussions of their spooky old teachings in our present world.
SHAKTI – A woman ‘investigator’ with a hidden agenda gains chat time with a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Steinberg who may or may not have murdered her own husband.
DEVI – Young drug addict Robin learns to watch what he says in a rather dramatic fashion when he pays a visit to Dr Steiner, a therapist with some very unconventional methods of treatment.
KALI – A faith healer regains his belief but loses much more when helping a woman become free of the monster she has carried for sometime.
Anthologies can sometimes be a real drag wrapped up with opening / closing and in-between segments that no one really gives a toss about with terminally weak stories flapping around the gaps. Examples that spring to mind are the frankly crap Creepshow movies (both ‘Part Three’ and a remake are on the cards, shudder!) and Tales from the Darkside The Movie the latter of which’s only point of interest was seeing former Playboy bunny and pop icon Debbie Harry walking around like she was desperately trying not to pop a corker of a fart out. I yearn for the days where an anthology is actually worth a damn and fortunately Tears of Kali is one such baby.
Right from the opening scenes of writer / director Andreas Marschall’s theatrical debut, where a naked cutie takes a pair of scissors to her eyelids right through to the concluding and best of the three tales contained within the running time, there is no let up. This is grim stuff and it is all the better for it.
It is so refreshing to see a latter day horror movie that is exactly that rather than some of that toned-down nonsense the States seems so keen on shuffling out into multiplexes. There is no turning away from the horrors here. Everything is played out for the audience showing enough and then lobbing another bucket of gore in for good measure. We even get the pleasure of an eyeball piercing come the third segment that brings to mind Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 or as it was more affectionately banned in the UK Zombie Flesh Eaters.
SHAKTI – An interesting opening episode that feels a little amateur when it comes to the framing but sets the scene nicely when it comes to the blood spillage quota we can expect throughout. As mentioned above in the plot summary an alleged investigator Tansu Yilmaz (Nuran Celik) visits psychiatric patient Elisabeth Steinberg (Irena-Holiaba Jandris) to find out if she really did kill her own husband. It very quickly transpires that Tansu isn’t quite who she says she is and that perhaps someone else had actually murdered Elisabeth’s late hubby.
As the slender tale unravels it appears that it wasn’t Elisabeth that had directly killed her hubbie but instead a spirit she had called upon to do so. Forced into calling the spirit again to prove her story to Tansu, Elisabeth sets into motion some very grisly happenings all of which still come as a shock in terms of their ferocity even after seeing a girl scissor-cut her eyelids off right at the very start.
DEVI – A rather perverse tale that feels more sadomasochistic than horrific. A disciple of the Taylor-Erikkson group, Dr. Steiner (Michael Balaun) appears to get his rocks off by torturing a young patient Robin Borg (Marcel Trunsch) sent to him for his services as a psychiatrist who can rehabilitate young offenders such as himself. It all ends in a very bloody fashion which of course is always welcome but fails to feel like a proper short story as do the other two segments.
KALI – The most effective of the three stories and the most gut-wrenchingly horrific makes for a suitable closing chapter. We meet Edgar Cornelson (Mathieu Carriere) a faith healer who has lost his um, faith. Perhaps this not made clear as I had assumed that he was in fact a charlatan cashing in on people’s misfortunes. All becomes much clearer when he meets Mira (Cora Chilcott) and we realize he IS for real as he purges a spooky thing from her shoulders.
He’ll soon wish he hadn’t as the thingy he has unleashed soon brutally attacks and kills his wife and assistant Tilda (Vroni Kiefer), much to this viewer’s gory satisfaction, and appears to want to jump back into its former host Mira again… or does it? It all sounds and plays predictably enough but given the nastiness of the installment it shocks for all the right reasons, even if the tale’s ending is all a tad obvious and open-ended.
Unlike most horror scores which build up the tension through twinkling pianos or the sudden burst of volume, director Marschall’s background in rock – having made a substantial number of videos for bands such as thrash metal group Kreator as well as Hallucinative Comas a German horror-music movie – is more of the guitar thrashing / drums beaten within an inch of their lives stuff. Not my cup of tea although it somehow pays off if only to numb the viewer’s senses even more than the gore will.
There are an abundance of spelling mistakes in the subtitles that add to the entertainment value and they happen throughout examples of which are ‘nonsens’, ‘charme’, ‘abouat’ and ‘Can you fell that?’ Shocking stuff! I’m sure they did their best though. Some have quibbled that there appears to be no resolution to the movie. It doesn’t matter nor indeed does it appear to have figured in the maker’s mind. He appears keen to throw as much hard-hitting gore, violence and shocks as he can throw at the viewer all for the tidy sum of 650,000 Euros rather than spend time on such frivolous concerns and I for one am grateful that he did.