Directed by Andy Milligan [Other horror films: The Naked Witch (1967), The Ghastly Ones (1968), Seeds (1968), Bloodthirsty Butchers (1970), Torture Dungeon (1970), The Body Beneath (1970), The Man with Two Heads (1972), The Rats Are Coming – The Werewolves Are Here (1972), Dragula (1973), Blood (1973), Legacy of Blood (1978), House of Seven Belles (1979), Carnage (1984), Monstrosity (1987), The Weirdo (1989), Surgikill (1989)]
There’s not really a whole lot that can be said about Guru, the Mad Monk. It’s a pretty cheap film with occasionally decent effects and a story that sort of works, but it’s also relatively unremarkable, and lasts just under an hour.
Andy Milligan is a name I know well, but unfortunately, at least up to the point of this writing, this is the only film of his I’ve seen. I know many of them are broadly panned, such as The Ghastly Ones, Legacy of Blood, the brilliantly-titled The Rats Are Coming – The Werewolves Are Here, and Carnage, but I just get the feeling if I ever took the time out to watch some of these, I might find a little something in them to enjoy, especially if Guru, the Mad Monk is any indication.
I don’t think this movie is good in a traditional sense, but it’s not a bad way to spend an hour of your time. It tries it’s best on an ultra-low budget to be a period piece à la Witchfinder General and The Bloody Judge, and it does an okay job at it. The story is okay, and while the random vampire woman is just that – random – it just gives a bit more meat to the movie.
Then there’s the special effects, which are mostly shabby, but I can certainly appreciate the attempt they make. The worst effects were probably present in a scene in which a guy got his hands cut off, but when someone else got decapitated, and another one got their eyes skewered, well, isn’t that what love is all about? Plus someone got their hands nailed to a wall, which didn’t look fun.
I’ve not heard of Neil Flanagan – it seems he’s mostly in Milligan’s movies – but I thought he did a competently good job as a priest who may not be the most mentally stable. Jaqueline Webb was probably okay, but I don’t know if her character got sufficient backstory. Neither Judith Israel nor Paul Lieber (in his first role – he’s not an actor I know, but he did appear in plenty of television episodes past this point) were that relevant to the story, surprisingly, but both did well with their limitations.
Perhaps just by hearing the title and learning that Milligan directed this, Guru, the Mad Monk might turn you off, and I’ve no problem saying it’s not a good movie. I honestly don’t think it’s all that bad, though, especially when you consider what they had to work it. It’s short, it’s sometimes fun, and while it may not be memorable, for a couple of late-night viewings, I don’t see why not give it a shot, should you be a fan of trashy horror.
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