Written and directed by: John Niflheim
Starring: Peter Grouse, Karma Jean, Allison Quick & Jack Krebbs
Reviewed by: Brett H.
ďIím not religious, per se. I believe there is some truth to all faiths. But, theyíre not like mine.Ē
Itís very tough to draw the line without sounding hypocritical when viewing some of the more disturbing horror films out there. On one hand, horror films in generally excite the audience using fear, murder and exploitation of everything inclusive and in between. The fine line between disgust and going along with the ride is close to invisible. I have no interest at all in Guinea Pig or Faces of Death, but I find merit in greats like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and not so greats as in The New York Ripper. I had a slight interest in Diary of a Sex Offender due to it sounding like every other low budget schlockfest on the market put out there to kill an hour or two. But, this time, I met my match. This Diary is incredibly fucked up and the synopsis on the back of the box isnít just to catch your eye.
Artist Michael Regardie (Peter Grouse) is a man of faithÖ in his own way. To him, ritualistic murder, rape and torture are all part of a dayís work; sacrificing nubile and troubled young women he meets for a God that he has created solely in his own mind. His parents died when he was a child and he claims to have been raised by a whore of an aunt, so itís no shocker that Michael grows up to be a lonely, depressed man with a heart of stone. That is, until he meets the woman of his dreams, a kindred soul that just might save Michaelís life and change his ways.
Diary of a Sex Offender is in a similar league to Cannibal Holocaust, Maniac and Donít Go in the House in terms of its relentless exposťs of all things that disgust in human nature and the world in general. While misogyny and violence are present in each of those films, they donít come close to the explicit sexual nature that goes down in Diary. Completely naked women cover the screen for at least half of the short 68 minute running time and it isnít uncommon to see full frontal flashes of vagina in each murder scene. Normally, Iíd have no problem with that, but in a repulsive film such as Diary of a Sex Offender, there is no pleasure to be taken in the beautiful actresses. The women are merely meat and are treated as such for three quarters of the 68-minute running time.
As a film, the script is often sarcastic, definitely not insipid and the visuals of paintings in Michaelís apartment are second to none. Acting is a bit questionable at times, as are the actions of some of the victims themselves. The problem may well rest in the fact that the film needed another 20 minutes of narrative to delve further into Michaelís brain, goals, motives and insanity. True, it offers up as much (if not more) exposition as the next cheap horror on the shelf, but the rate of which the dildos, anal rape and constant groping come at the viewer is a bit nauseous, repetitive and gets thrust too far into the forefront to not seem gratuitous. The act becomes the focal point instead of the character and psyche behind it. Towards the end, there is a sudden twist involving a victim falling in love with Michael during the act that makes scenes of women enjoying acts of sexual violence in Night Train Murders and New York Ripper seem wholesome.
Technically, Diary of a Sex Offender is a nice production for a film shot totally on the cheap and Independent Entertainment/Alternative Cinemaís DVD reflects that with a nice looking 16 x 9 transfer that offers plenty of detail, nice colors and a clean soundtrack. Extras are nil besides a trailer reel, but I donít think the almost snuff nature of the film warrants any (as in films from the old days, minute amounts of credits are placed at the opening and none at the ending, which adds to the overall realism). I can honestly say that I will never watch Diary of a Sex Offender again, but all things considered, it is a better made film than most taking up precious rental space at video stores across the world. The bordering pornographic nature of the film pushes limits far, but also restricts it because while itís despicable to any normal human being, itís tame compared to what Michael is thinking, and it is his perspective the story comes from in the first place. And, no, thatís not myself wanting it to be portrayed any greasier than it was. I donít know who the audience for this type of movie might be, but if youíre in it you probably will enjoy it. Everyone else had might want to play it safe and Trash it!
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