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Film / Amsterdamned

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"Somewhere, somewhere in the black night
Shining, eyes that follow your stride
You can't hide
From the monster reptile"
— "Amsterdamned" by Lois Lane, the end credits theme

Amsterdamned is a Dutch horror thriller movie from 1988 by Dick Maas (De Lift, Flodder).

The film is set in the eponymous (damned!) capital, where a Serial Killer wearing scuba gear is prowling in the city canals and uses them to get to his victims.

Amsterdam was damned by:

  • '80s Hair: Everyone, except perhaps the killer.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Eric chases the killer into one.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Happens multiple times, such as John squaring off against him inside the sunken boat and when Eric chasing him into the sewers. It usually ends badly for the receiving party.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: From a cat, during the raft attack.
  • Ankle Drag: After his partner's demise, the second environmentalist swims to the shore to call for help. Just after a truck driver notices him and comes in for a closer look, he is grabbed by the killer and is dragged off into the water.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Eric's daughter Anneke is introduced by trying to scare her father with his gun, which he just left lying around, apparently loaded.
  • Ate His Gun: Just before the police reach the killer in the end, he puts his harpoon gun into his mouth and kills himself.
  • Attempted Rape: A taxi driver tries to force the prostitute he's accompanying to perform oral sex on him. Unfortunately for him, she bites.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just as Laura is about to be dragged under by the killer, Eric and Vermeer arrive and chase him away.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Anybody anyone ever dies in this movie, blood will trickle into the water somewhere.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: The prostitute's body is hung from a bridge, and ends up entering a tour boat filled with (among others) young children and nuns.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: Appear throughout the boat chase.
  • Butt-Monkey: Vermeer, the geeky cop who fails horribly at absolutely everything badass Eric manages with ease.
  • Carry a Big Stick: After bein convinced that Martin is the killer, Laura ambushes him from behind and beats him with a boat oar.
  • Chase Scene: Two; the first one has the police chasing a suspect on a motorcycle, and the second one has Eric chase the actual killer on boats they commandeer.
  • City of Canals: The film is all about Amsterdam's canals, including a speedboat chase. (Incidentally, it was shot in Utrecht, not Amsterdam.)
  • The Coroner: Sam the morgue director.
  • Covers Always Lie: One makes it look kind of like an alien invasion film.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The bag lady. It didn't exactly add any credibility to witness testimony about the "canal monster".
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The first victim is a prostitute. Perhaps reflecting the country's open attitude (prostitution being legal and regulated), it's treated as seriously by the police as the killer's subsequent murders.
  • Disturbed Doves: Or ducks, in this case.
  • Driven to Suicide: The killer, per harpoon gun.
  • The Drunken Sailor: One of the victims goes down with his sabotaged boat because he's too sozzled not to.
  • Epic Fail: The main suspect tries to jump an opening bridge on his motorcycle, and fails rather badly.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: And the first two of them are a Red Herring.
  • Eye Scream: "Her eyes were already fish food." There's also something wrong with one of the sailor victim's eye.
  • Facial Horror: When the killer's face is finally revealed, it's pretty fucked up.
  • Fan Disservice: The prostitute's naked, mutilated body on the coroner's slab.
  • Fight Scene: An underwater one, between John and the killer.
  • Friend to Psychos: Martin, though rather unknowingly.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The killer's gear is black, and he steals a black speedboat, while John's gear is yellow, and Eric chases after the killer's boat with a yellow one.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Geeky Vermeer and Badass Eric, respectively.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The killer committing suicide. The result is shown later, however.
  • Gratuitous English: It's the Netherlands, so it's more of a given than normally.
  • Grimy Water: 1980s Amsterdam canals were far from the cleanest waterways, which makes hiding in them much easier.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The main suspect lost his job when he attacked someone with a broken bottle in a drunken rage.
  • Groin Attack: The taxi driver gets bit by the prostitute when he tries to force her to perform oral sex on him, and the raft victim gets knifed between her legs.
  • Harpoon Gun: Vermeer gets shot in the arm with one, while Eric sustains a shot to the shoulder a bit later. The killer also commits suicide with one.
  • Hazardous Water: The killer operates from inside the Grachten and drags his victims inside before finishing them off.
  • Homage: The boat chase scene homages the film Puppet on a Chain, which was also set in Amsterdam.
  • Hope Spot: The second environmentalist swims to shore and flags down a passing truck, but is dragged underwater before help can reach him.
  • Hostile Weather: It suddenly becomes stormy during the finale.
  • I Know Karate: "No reason to be afraid, I do judo."
  • Jerkass: The taxi driver, and the suspect.
  • Kid Detective: Anneke and Willy try to find the killer on their own. Thankfully, they fail.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Anneke. Though with a slobby dad like that, it's hardly surprising.
  • Location Doubling: Large parts were filmed in Utrecht.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The killer gets one.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The killer wears a full-body neoprene suit and goggles.
  • Man Bites Man: The first victim deals with the taxi driver trying to force her to perform fellatio on him via biting.
  • Moe Greene Special: Averted. Eric manages to shoot the killer right in the diving goggles, but they stop the bullet from reaching his eye.
  • Mr. Exposition: Martin reveals the identity of the real killer, who turns out to have been a good friend, in the end.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: The opening shows a long shot of the killer emerging from the canal and spying on the people on the street.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Vermeer shares his last name with a famous 17th century Dutch painter.
  • Nerd Glasses: Willy's simply obliged to wear spectacles.
  • No Name Given: Most of the victims, and the killer.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The mayor doesn't want the romantic image of Amsterdam to suffer from the attacks, which is why he wants results asap.
  • Off with His Head!: The first environmentalist is dragged down from the boat, and when he pulls up the anchor, he finds his severed head placed on it.
  • The Place: Pun-Based Title into a Verbed Title.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: After his buddy disappears from their boat, the second environmentalist pulls in the anchor, and discovers his friend's head impaled on it. Later on, John is scared when a dead sailor pops out of a closet while he is exploring a sunken ship.
  • Perma-Stubble: Eric sports a 5 o'clock shadow that practically shouts Cowboy Cop.
  • Perp Sweating: The first Red Herring suspect gets a rather pointless session.
  • Pie in the Face: Eric stops a bakery robbery by handcuffing the robber, and slamming his face into a cake. It is evidently delicious.
  • Pipe Pain: While doing her own little investigation with Willy in a possible location of the killer, Anneke grabs a pipe to defend herself with.
  • Portmantitle: Amsterdam + damned.
  • Red Herring: The most prominent one being Martin, who's implied to be the killer when Laura investigates his mansion and finds scuba gear hidden away somewhere. He's not, though, the real killer was actually one of Martin's patients.
  • Scenery Porn: Amsterdam (and Utrecht) are very pretty places.
  • The Scourge of God: The Salvationist is dragged into a canal after stealing some money.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Used on the raft victim getting knifed between the legs.
  • Seers: Willy claims to be one, and tries to use his gift to locate the killer. Turns out that he picked the correct spot,
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: "He used a similar instrument, but the knife was another type. One important difference is it had a serrated edge."
  • Serial Killer: Our killer, naturally.
  • Shirtless Scene: Eric gets one during his hospital recovery after the killer shoots him in the shoulder with a harpoon gun.
  • The Shrink: Martin, though even he couldn't heal the killer.
  • Silent Antagonist: The killer never says a single word throughout the film.
  • Slashed Throat: The killer ambushes John in a sunken boat, stabs him several times and cuts his throat.
  • Spiteful Spit: While being interrogated, a suspect spits in Eric's face, and he almost punches the guy in retaliation.
  • Spooky Séance: Willy tries to hold one with Anneke during his introductory scene, only to be interrupted by Eric arriving home.
  • Start of Darkness: The unnamed killer was once a salvage diver whose face was disfigured when a vat of uranium hexafluoride opened underwater on him. His employers had told him the chemicals were harmless and covered up the accident, letting him go. Being betrayed by his employers, his mind deteriorating from the chemicals, and people shunning him and being horrified by his disfigurement, are why he kills people in an attempt to take revenge on society.
  • Stealing from the Till: A Salvationist pockets some of the donations she's collected.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: The killer is a random ex-diver pissed off at society because he was disfigured in a toxic waste-related incident.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The killer crashes his own boat into another, resulting in a fiery explosion.
  • Tears of Blood: When the sailor's dead body is found, blood appears to be leaking from one of his eyes.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: The killer was disfigured by the contents of a toxic waste barrel underwater, and the radiation from it affected his brain, turning him into a homicidal maniac.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Eric stops a bakery robbery and cuffs the perp, its owner only has complaints to give.
    "You used excessive force, and you ruined my cake!"
  • Vader Breath: A given since the killer is a diver.