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August Underground’s Mordem(2003)(Review)

Twenty years after it’s initial release, “August Underground’s Mordum” – the second film in director Fred Vogel’s notorious franchise – is given the ultimate refresh and collector’s edition release that fans have been clamoring for.

The original ‘AU’ was dubbed as one of the gnarliest, most invasive horror films of all time. A few years later, the sequel emerged onto the scene and mockingly laughed at us, as we were unaware of what was still to come. ‘Mordum’ continues the story with original antagonist Fredenstein (film director Fred Vogel), who constantly wears a shirt with his own face on it to remind you of how big of an asshole he is.

However, there is something fresh happening here. We are introduced to two new characters – Crusty & Maggot. Crusty is Fredenstein’s girlfriend and they have a romantic bond over sadism and cruelty. Maggot is Crusty’s brother (and sometimes her play-thing…) and Fred’s other partner in crime. Together, the three of them continue the streak of violence, gratuitous torture, and all around debauchery that feels like the matured older bother of it’s original counterpart. However, the inclusion of a female murderer into this pack does change the overall dynamics. The story no longer feels like a tale of dominant misogyny – it’s more balanced now. In fact, an argument could be made about which of these three is actually the worst of the bunch. While Fred remains mostly the same by taking glee in the physical brutality of murder, Crusty has a fascination with vomit and sexual assault, while Maggot’s main fascination is on dismemberment and playing with bodily fluids.

It’s safe to say, you get almost an entire run-time worth of the aforementioned material throughout the film.
The story itself plays out how you’d imagine – bad things happen to random people, and the film ends where almost nobody has learned a lesson. From one side, t’s too easy to say that this is just a more hardcore retelling of the first film. However, certain things put it’s elevation into perspective. The dynamics within the group of murderers are volatile and unstable with moments of tenderness and a childlike glee cross-cutting the constant screaming, vulgarity, and masochism. This gives us actual emotional depth with these characters even if none of those emotions are of the positive-sorts. Additionally, the filmmaking techniques and the distorting amounts of gore that went into this piece are seriously next level. We have almost a dozen full scenes of maliciousness that you can almost feel and smell for yourself. The film has doubled down on the bloodshed and depravity of the first film and laughs in your face as you struggle to breathe through all of it.

When it comes to an assault on the senses, ‘August Underground’s Mordum’ is the poster child for how to dominate your audience – abusive, but just enough where they enjoy it and keep asking for more. It culminates in a few memorable scenes that will make you queasy, question your life’s decisions, and possibly trigger some deeply-buried feelings that we would rather not discuss with any other human being.

If you’ve heard of the legend of ‘August Underground’s intensity, then this is more likely to be the specific film in the series that people are usually referring to. And while I patiently wait to watch the last film in the series when Unearthed Films releases it in December, this one certainly tested my appetite and forced me to take a quick water break.

“August Underground’s Mordum” is available to purchase NOW directly from Unearthed Films here –

The brand new Limited Collector’s Edition features a gorgeous new transfer, almost a dozen brand new interviews with the cast and various other talking heads, deleted & extended scenes, a comprehensive history on the release & legacy of the film, behind-the-scenes photo galleries, and SO MUCH MORE!

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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