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Film / The Burning Moon

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The Burning Moon is a 1992 German horror film, directed by Olaf Ittenbach. Ittenbach himself plays Peter, an unemployed junkie scumbag, who is forced to babysit his little sister against his own wishes. To cope with the situation, he treats himself to a fat load of smack. Then he decides to read his sister a few bedtime stories - filled with the most sickening gore and depravity imaginable. The stories are:

  • Julia's love: Cliff Parker has everything. He's handsome, funny, smart and sophisticated. He's also a paranoid schizophrenic serial killer on the run from a nearby mental institution. Julia figures this out on their date, but also leaves her wallet on the seat of his car. The rest of the story follows Cliff as he wreaks bloody vengeance on Julia and her family.

  • The Purity: A small town in 1950's Germany is rocked by a series of murders and rapes. Suspicions all lie on the village idiot Justuz, and the only man who will defend him is the local priest - who also happens to be the man responsible. Contains an infamous depiction of a man being tortured in hell, including being split in two lengthwise like a wishbone.
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The Burning Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Yes, by all means, go ahead and leave your young daughter all alone with her]] Ax-Crazy junkie brother who just stabbed a man in a gang fight and assaulted you both. Nothing bad could come of that, right?
  • Asshole Victim: Cliff and Frank.
  • Bad Habits: Ralf, the priest in "The Purity". Setting aside the fact that he's a murderer and rapist, he's also a devil worshipper. So yeah, he's as poor a representation of the cloth as one could possibly be.
  • Badass Longcoat: Cliff Parker wears one, and with good reason: he needs to hide his machete somewhere.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • "Julia's Love", which is a borderline Downer Ending. Julia is saved when a cop kills Cliff, but her entire family has been killed and she's very likely to be scarred for life.
    • "The Purity" has one, as well. Ralf is dead and the killings have stopped, Justuz has avenged himself from beyond the grave and — at least according to Ralf — will be spared the torments of Hell and will instead ascend to Lucifer's "heavenly kingdom". On the other hand, he's still dead, and the villagers still believe he was the killer.
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  • Black Comedy: "Julia's Love" in spades. It's gory, senselessly violent, and at times really stomach-churning, but it's just so over-the-top and even shows some intentional humor when Cliff tells Julia his desire to marry him and "absorb all his love juices".
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The man whose car Cliff threw a severed head at? He was a cop, who arrives just in time to save Julia.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Justuz curses Frank, somehow causing a crucifix in Frank's house to catch on fire.
  • Decapitation Presentation: An accidental one. Cliff throws the severed head of a prostitute at a man's car. This comes back to bite him in the ass when it turns out the guy in the car turned out to be a cop.
  • Downer Ending: The wraparound segment. Peter kills his sister after scarring her with the two stories he read, and then commits suicide out of guilt.
  • Euroshlock/Exploitation Film: All the senseless over-the-top violence, nudity, and other themes are presented in a crude, excessive manner.
  • Expy: The two demons at the end of "The Purity" are pretty obvious Cenobite clones, what with their mutilated appearances and all their talk about the "ultimate pleasure of never having to die again" and "crossing the threshold of pain".
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Cliff is given a massive one. He lived a sheltered life, only having his mother to look up to, and his grandfather killed his entire family in front of him, and was about to kill him, as well. It's never made clear why he spared him.
    • Arguably, Ralf has one as well. He personally met a demon — possibly Satan himself — at a young age, when his father told him he wanted him to become a priest.
    • Peter is also implied to have been influenced into his lifestyle by a friend that his father warned him to stay away from at a young age.
  • Gorn: Holy shit, yes.
  • Hand Cannon: The cop who manages to explode Cliff Parker's head with his standard issue pistol.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Frank is gruesomely ripped in half from the crotch.
  • Hell: One of the most minimalistic, yet disturbing depictions of it in cinema.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Some of the inhabitants of Hell are shown eating human flesh.
  • Jerkass:
    • Peter. We first see him in a job interview, where he just goofs off, even though the employer says he's willing to give him a chance, despite his poor grades. Then he and his friend go to participate in a gang fight, where Peter kills a guy, by stabbing him with a knife. The mental scarring of his baby sister would be pretty high on the list too, if it wasn't for the fact that Peter kills her in the end, then commits suicide.
    • Frank as well. Believing the village idiot Justuz is responsible for the rash of rapes and murders in the countryside, he torments the poor bastard endlessly and ultimately brutally kills him.
  • Karmic Death: Frank is killed and sent to Hell by a resurrected Justuz, the very man he was sent to kill.
  • Man on Fire: Not only does Cliff Parker kill Julia's sister, he also sets her on fire in the bathtub, turning her into a black smoking skeleton with bits of charred flesh stuck to it. Another instance of this shows up in the Hell sequence at the climax of the film.
  • Meaningful Name: Also, "Justuz" sounds vaguely like "justice". Which is what he exacts on Frank for killing him.
  • Rasputinian Death: The farmer killed by the priest in "The Purity". He takes all six bullets from the preacher's revolver to the torso, and keeps on ticking. It's only after the priest reloads and puts one between his eyes that he's done in.
  • Satan is Good/God Is Evil: At least, according to Ralf's book.
  • Serial Killer: Cliff Parker is one. Ralf is both this and a Serial Rapist.
  • Sinister Minister: Ralf, a preacher who's also a rapist and murderer who gives sermons in between his crimes.
  • Tears of Remorse: Peter, once he completely absorbs the realization that he just killed his little sister in cold blood, slices his wrists as tears fall from his eyes.
  • Tempting Fate: "I hope nothing like that happens to my family!note " Something exactly like that happens to her family.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The book that Ralf was given as a child.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The kind-hearted farmer Justuz. His only friend is a two-faced priest whose favorite pastimes include serial murder and rape. And to make matters worse, the villagers believe that he's the one responsible for these crimes. In the end, just as he's prepared to leave the village after the preacher commits suicide, he is killed by a pitchfork to the crotch. It's also implied that where he's going is even worse.
  • Welcome to Hell: Said to Frank by the red-robed demon.
    Demon: Wilkommen in der hölle!
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: It's difficult not to feel at least a little bit sorry for Cliff, considering his backstory. See Freudian Excuse above.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Peter, hopped up on heroin, stabs his little sister in the stomach, killing her.
  • Your Head Asplode: Cliff is shot in the head by a glock, which somehow causes this to happen. Also, the rifleman in the Hell sequence, who blows his own head off.
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