Viva la France! Even though America is my home, France is in my blood. Apparently, N.G. Mount took a statement like that to heart. Then, he drained it out of his head through trepanning, covered it up with a freaky leather mask, and splattered it all over a camera lens in the wonder that is Ogroff.
Ogroff—the movie you love to hate. Hate the French? Ogroff will make you love them. Ogroff—the classic that should never be attempted again for fear of, shall we say, butchering a refined art.
I don’t want to say I speak French fluently because I still have a lot of questions to ask (or should I say, axe! Ha, ha, couldn’t resist). But I do speak it rather well. With the sound quality of Ogroff, though, bilingualism is irrelevant. There are roughly five lines of dialogue in this film, spoken by a girl and a weird goggled frog-leaping driver. I can’t understand what they’re saying, but it probably isn’t too important. Modern films, in this writer’s humble opinion, have to tell and not show. Ogroff shows but never tells. It’s a puzzle box of the highest quality.
Ogroff is an old weirdo who was tortured during the War. He still gets a little sentimental about his duties as a soldier when he’s not kidnapping people, chopping them up, frying them, eating them, and feeding them to the growling monstrosities that lives under his filthy shack. I remember when I first watched this I took out a note-card and had to write down all of his eccentricities, along with those of the movie. All I remember is that there’s always some character endlessly gassing up his car, the implication that there are monkeys in the jungles of France, and that Ogroff really hates ‘80s French pop music, chess, and cars. He also chops up his own chainsaw to turn it off, giggles like Barney the Dinosaur, and has posters of a woman who I swear is an alternate universe version of Farrah Fawcett (of course).
But that’s not all! Think that Ogroff is the villain of this picture? Well, guess again! Although he is a filthy murderous cannibal, he actually gets the girl! Plus, he saves her from an army of zombies (apparently his reanimated victims) while riding on the Ogroff-Cycle (think Adam West but French and retarded). It gets pretty awesome. Mount knows no bounds and that is the genius of his film. Just as he is unfettered by the expectations of film society, Ogroff is not hindered by his innate madness but is unshackled by it, no longer forced to shamble with the rest of the world. He is free to do as he pleases, and he chooses to giggle, kill, eat, and sometimes even fight zombies.
It’s a strange mix. We are so swift to condemn murder that of course Ogroff is evil—at first. Yet there are many things that dwarf even him. The zombies are the villains, actually. From what I can tell, Ogroff kills people to feed himself and the zombies, so that the zombies don’t break out and kill people. There is also a vampire. The vampire is never explained, but he kills without question. Does he kill to feed, as Ogroff does? It is never discovered. But I suspect he was inserted at the last second to give a coherent villain to the blend.
Like Violent Shit (Andreas Schnaas saw Ogroff. I can tell.), this movie really is exempt from most laws of movie-making, just as Ogroff himself is free from society, as I mentioned earlier.
To say “It’s a strange mix” doesn’t quite define properly. Words are being sought but they’re not coming. There is depth but I can’t swim. There is only…Ogroff. Mindless violence is backed up by viewer implication. Detective work replaces storyline. Hilarity replaces logic. Insanity replaces everything. The painting is being painted as we watch the artist, and the painter is crazy. We see each madcap segment pop as it is being birthed, even after we watch it several times to make sure the whole thing is real. And, the entire thing is definitively French.
People tend to get mad about France because of politics. I mean, heck, they’ve got that thar socialized medicine, the dirty commies. And all they do is sip coffee, eat baguettes, and wear berets. Right? Well, not all the time. Sometimes they like to be crazy in a way we square Americans don’t know how. And when they party, they party hard. Ogroff brings the appetizers. They may look nasty, but oh man, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Take a bite and let the sweet flavor carry you to a land where there is no right and wrong…there is only…Ogroff.