Mark of the Whip 2
Directed by "Roman Nowicki", © 2010, 2:03:00
First things first: There has been much debate about the Fantom Kiler films, Abducted by the Daleks (perhaps the most widely known of this bunch), Mark of the Whip and the half dozen or so other home-grown titles distributed by Trevor Barley's Sinerama (formerly Media Publications) company. Early releases have Polish dialogue with English subs, all feature East European actresses, and many have clearly foreign props and locations. Many think that Trevor is in fact Roman Nowicki and that he shoots in the UK (home of Sinerama), disguising it as Eastern Europe to avoid legal hassles in Great Britain. Though all may not be as it seems, I won't dwell on this issue as it has no real bearing on the review.
That said, anyone who has seen other Teraz films will feel right at home with MOW2. Like FK4
and other recent titles, this one forgoes the subtitles of the earlier Kiler flicks and goes for broke: English dialogue all around whether or not the actors speak the language. The male characters do okay, despite having oddly synthesized voices, but virtually all the actresses speak in stilted monotones, as if reading their lines phonetically. To be fair, it's clear these girls were not hired to deliver Oscar-worthy performances; what they lack in thespian skills, they make up for with their prodigious physical attributes. This film is brimming with tight, toned, absurdly pneumatic female bodies, most all of which are displayed stripped and glistening at every opportunity.
Surprisingly, the producer of MOW2 told me that much of the film was cobbled together with unused footage from the original. If so, it still has a remarkably coherent story line, and carries on more or less seamlessly from its predecessor. Hana Liska, who played the lead role of Sylvia Novak in MOW1
has been replaced by Tiffany Love (or Tiffany Lust, depending on whether you believe the credits on the DVD box or the film itself), and Kate Blond (or Blonde) returns as Sylvia's sexy friend Kasia. The "addicted to the whip" theme unfortunately remains, but it often is hard to imagine the GIMP scenes in MOW2 being consensual. In fact, (Spoiler >>> ) this time around, some of the luscious babes are flogged to death!
As for the story, it exists solely as a frame from which to hang a variety of GIMP set pieces. The film opens with the abduction of Stella Diamond (played by Stacy Silver, arguably the most stunning of a consistently gorgeous female cast) by two Gestapo type secret police from the "Securitate". Like all the film's male characters, the Gestapo guys wear latex fright masks, leaving their lips motionless when they speak. They also move somewhat robotically, as if they are impersonating the puppets on Thunderbirds. No matter… they still seem rather menacing, and manage to molest poor Stella, who is apprehended as a suspected member of the "Outlaw Democratic Party" (why is it always the Democrats who are the outlaws?).
Just as we expect to see Stella being interrogated by the Securitate, we cut instead to (wait for it) a bucolic scene of nuns raking leaves in front of their convent. WTF? Didn't see that coming. Apparently, Sylvia Novak (heroine of MOW1) has checked into God-rehab to cure her "addiction to the whip". She receives a letter from her friend Kasia, who still longs to be flogged to orgasm and can't escape her vile desires.
At some deserted East European factory, Kasia is seen making off with a briefcase full of cash, inconspicuously dressed in heels, white shorts and matching shirt tied under her ample jugs. Two more Securitate officers, both wearing funky balaclavas, jump Kasia and spirit her off to presumably the same place Stella was taken in the first scene. Securitate: 2. Outlaw Democrats: 0.
Back at the convent, the pious sisterhood is doing what nuns apparently do in their leisure hours: watch Videodrome-like torture porn on TV. In fact, they are watching out-takes from one of the Fantom Kiler flicks, and this leads to the first real GIMP scene in the film. There's no bondage, but we do get to see a curly-haired brunette repeatedly perforated with a power drill until the whirling bit is buried to the hilt in her right eye. Fun times, and the nuns eat it up. Then, on to the news.
The world's worst anchorwoman stumbles through a story about the body of a woman found in a nearby warehouse. She (the body, not the anchorwoman) "had been stripped naked, bound, and apparently whipped to death". She also "endured multiple orgasms before dying". That last fact is easy for the CSI team to establish because they can look for… er… test for… um… well, you know. Along with the orgasm-riddled body, the police also found a video camera which had been used to film the woman's torturous demise. Why? To make a snuff film, dummy. How do they know this? Someone had a senior's moment and forgot to remove the tape from the camera. Yep, that's believable.
In any case, the EE newscasters (god bless 'em) decide to show the snuff footage so viewers can help identify the victim. Cue the second GIMP scene: a naked and ball-gagged Kasia is shown straddling a wooden horse, with a massive dildo mounted at its apex thrust about a foot up her snatch. She is bound AOH and being whipped vigorously from behind. This is a great little scene, but sadly is far too brief. It also is annoyingly intercut with reaction shots of the nuns, Sylvia among them, who of course are watching all this on the tube.
The segment ends with a few shots of Kasia being forced to fellate the dildo, then cuts to a horrified Sylvia, who somehow deduces that the Fantom Whipper (the master-flogger in MOW1
) is behind all this. Sylvia vows to avenge her friend, quits the convent in an amusing little exchange with the Mother Superior, then journeys through the EE countryside like Maria Von Trapp before checking into a seedy hotel in the nearest big smoke.
And what became of the delectable Stella Diamond you ask? Deep in the dungeons of Securitate HQ, the big-boobed blonde has been stripped of her skimpy suspender suit and "tied" spread-eagle to a giant wheel. One of the Gestapo guys who captured her proceeds to interrogate her in order to get the names of other Outlaw Democrats. The interrogation consists of about 3 minutes of whipping with a cat-o'-nine-tails until Stella collapses in her bonds, apparently dead.
This could have been an amazing scene. The victim is a knock-out, she's splayed wide and wearing nothing but stilettos, the villain is a veritable modern-day Nazi, and the classical music on the soundtrack is suitably dire. But so much goes off the rails here that I just about cried in frustration. Stella's restraints, especially those around her ankles, are so loose that the actress would have had trouble not slipping free by accident. Her reactions to the whipping are almost comical ("oh, ow, ooh, agh"), and small wonder: the strokes wouldn't harm a hamster. There is no way on earth the punishment meted out could have killed Stella, though I've been assured by the producer that that was his intent. Finally, the scene is so dark you'll reach for your night-vision goggles. I still enjoyed watching it, but man… this was a huge waste of potential!
Back at the seedy hotel, ex-nun Sylvia doffs her habit and proves she is quite a fetching gal in mufti. A quick call to Randy the gunrunner, and he shows up at her room as if delivering fresh pizza. Sylvia, who likes the heavy ordinance, relieves him of a .38, and a 44 Magnum before channeling Travis Bickle and offing Randy with a 380. At this point, I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for the Fantom Whipper.
If you think we've left the convent behind when Sylvia skipped out, you thinked wrong. It seems Mother Superior has secrets of her own, not the least of which is her own allegiance to the Outlaw Democrats. With Kasia and Stella dearly departed, Gestapo guy needs a another victim, and thanks to treacherous Sister Amanda, a new suspect is his for the taking. A brief milk-run to the convent later, and Mother Superior is naked, ball-gagged and kneeling in the Securitate dungeon. Played by Maria Vaslova (star of Nina's Nightmares), she's quite a babe once divested of her penguin suit, but not quite in the league of the first two victims. Imagine fetish actress Reyja Wood with bolt-ons.
Anyway, unless I've lost count, this is GIMP scene #4… and again we fall a bit short (sigh). Gestapo guy administers yet another mild whipping with the cat, but this time Maria sells the scene much better than Stacy did when it was her turn. The lighting is an improvement as well. Though dark and smoky, the dungeon now seems atmospheric rather than lit by a single match.
The problem? Mother Superior endures the lash, the repeated mauling of her oversized udders, and an explicitly shown rape with a ginormous dildo while completely unrestrained! She's on her knees throughout the torture, leaning back on her arms, but apparently unfettered. Given this, one would think the woman would at least make a token attempt to move away from all the abuse. But no, she doesn't budge an inch, obediently posing for her tormentor. Maybe she's enjoying her punishment, but that would make this a consensual scene and just as disappointing. Another close one, but no cigar yet.
Moving the plot along, Sylvia closes in on the Fantom Whipper, though he has yet to make his first appearance. Our ex-nun vigilante knows where he lives (perhaps having been there in MOW1), and drops by his country mansion to visit… his mother? Yes indeedy, FW is out doing his thing, but Mom's home and kindly lets Sylvia know her son is working for the Securitate as chief interrogator. Mom, by the way, is a friendly old crone played by someone named "Dorothy Slime". Since the hag is wearing one of those ubiquitous masks, my guess is she's yet another anonymous male performer.
Back to the dungeons, and finally we have a GIMP scene worthy of the brand! Gestapo guy has apparently given up on Mother Superior, turning her over to our hero, who makes his entrance at last. Materializing from the shadows of a suitably dank and dreary torture chamber, Fantom Whipper has his minions bind their curvy subject's hands far overhead, pulling her up until she is all but suspended, her toes barely touching two wooden pallets positioned so she is forced to spread her legs. Fully restrained, Maria Vaslova's naked body looks absolutely stunning stretched to the limit and covered in perspiration.
And then the Fantom Whipper gets to work. No joke store cat-o'-nine for him though. To Mother Superior's horror, FW is armed with a no-nonsense Lash LaRue bullwhip which he swings with deadly accuracy. To the welcome sound of snapping leather and the victim's cries, he repeatedly curls the lash around the girl's torso, slicing into her breasts, ass, thighs, and yes, down there too. This scene is outstanding, and goes on for a good five minutes. Maria Vaslova's pain tolerance must be quite high, as her whipping isn't faked; we clearly see the lash dig into her flesh, and her skin reddens noticeably.
Wanting a change of scenery, FW has the exhausted, sweat-soaked Mother Superior cut down and dragged face-forward against a stone pillar from which a wicked looking metal hook protrudes at waist level. Hands tied behind her back, the girl is lifted up until her legs straddle the hook, it's open end at crotch level. Before you can think "that's gotta hurt", Mother Superior is dropped onto the hook, which penetrates her pussy and again, forces her to stand on tip-toe. But not for long. Unbelievably, the guards kick her legs out from under her, leaving our impaled victim supported solely by her cunt.
What follows of course, is more punishment for Mother Superior. Sadly, this time FW chooses to paddle her lightly across the ass with a riding crop, but watching his captive arch backwards while writhing on the hook makes up for the rather lame rump slapping. Next, it's over to the big wheel for Mother Superior. Unfortunately, the restraints are as poorly tied as ever, and FW decides to borrow not only Gestapo guy's wimpy cat, but also his slap-and-tickle technique. How this is supposed to loosen Mother Superior's tongue when the bullwhip and crotch hook have failed is anyone's guess.
Of course, all pretense of an interrogation has long been dropped in favor of getting the girl "addicted to the whip", whatever purpose that's supposed to serve. At the end of Mother Superior's lengthy ordeal, she's still alive, and as FW proudly points out to Gestapo guy, she is refusing to speak in order to prolong her pleasure. It's too bad this scene ends on a consensual note because the victim's suffering, especially in the early stages of her interrogation, is hot as blazes.
Later, Fantom Whipper finally meets up with Sylvia, who has been lying in wait for him. Though it seems she could easily have shot FW on the spot, Sylvia chooses instead to pay her nemesis for a sound thrashing later that night. FW looks forward to reliving the good old times with his former victim, unaware that she is only pretending to still crave the whip.
Or is she? While awaiting her rendezvous with FW, Sylvia strips naked, finally revealing her sweaty, buxom bod in all its glory. She masturbates, imagining first the tortures of poor Kasia, then substituting herself into the scene. The GIMP shots here are brief, but when intercut with Sylvia's orgasmic writhing, things get pretty exciting… even more so when Sylvia ups the ante by pushing the barrel of the .38 up her snatch to "help satiate (her) desire".
That could've ended the film right there, but no, Sylvia's climax is not as earth-shaking as it might have been. Though her resolve begins to waver, she arrives at FW manor promptly at midnight and, in a truly off-putting scene, FW's Mom forces Sylvia to strip and inspects her orifices for god-knows-what. Somehow, Mom overlooks the girl's handbag, sending her to the dungeon with nothing but her heels and purse.
Virtually naked, Sylvia confronts FW, who cracks his bullwhip ferociously, causing her to become a quivering, pissing, masochistic wretch. He demands payment before proceeding, and Sylvia complies, ignoring the gun in her purse for a stack of bills which FW happily accepts. But, at the last minute, our heroine has a change of heart and finally pulls her weapon on him. For approximately two seconds, she has the upper hand, but she is distracted by Mom and easily disarmed by FW.
At this point, Sylvia's fate is sealed. Not only has she pissed off FW, her "addiction" has been rekindled, and what follows is a panoply of scenes showing the girl enduring a variety of ordeals. Always nude and covered in whip marks and perspiration, Sylvia is shown being beaten while standing, bit-gagged with arms tied behind her, bullwhipped with arms overhead, thrashed while tied face-down on a bondage frame, caned while bent over, switched across the ass while teetering on a rocking horse, and lashed while strung up in a crux pose. In between beatings, she's imprisoned in a foot-locker sized cage or terrorized by the least believable fake spider in the history of fake spiders. Supposedly, Sylvia's masochism has made her a willing party to all this abuse, but thankfully, there are no pleadings of "more master" or "don't stop" - nor does she ever look like any of this is part of a special Club Med package for pain sluts. All in all, this segment is quite well done, and Tiffany Love sells it with conviction… well, except when she speaks.
Okay… our hapless heroine fails to avenge her friend, is captured and forever at the mercy of the sadistic Fantom Whipper. The end, right? Wrongo-dongo. First, things have to get really weird. After who-knows-how-long in FW's private dungeon, Sylvia's credit runs out and she'll need to barter for more whip-induced orgasms. What can she offer in return? Sex? Housecleaning? Gourmet meals? Nope… the whipper wants her to steal a painting from her former convent. Interesting idea. And hey, why not?
Cut to Sylvia stealthily breaking into the nunnery while fashionably dressed in a black-mesh cat suit and armed with a flashlight, handgun and AK47. She grabs the painting, but is caught by one of her former cloister-mates, a sumptuous, blonde lesbian. Thinking fast, Sylvia distracts the girl by stripping off her clothes and performing a seduction scene so unbearably awful it will make you want to jump out of your skin. Soon both Sylvia and the blonde beauty are in the buff and groping each others' bodies with wild abandon.
It's a very brief affair, though. Before her lover is allowed to climax, Sylvia has a rope around her neck and strangles the life out of the naked nun. If you're an asphyx fan, this scene might provide a frisson or two, but it's far too short and a bit murky. Nonetheless, the victim is very easy on the eyes and makes a great looking corpse. I've had worse mileage.
What happens next is difficult to describe without leaving readers wondering if I'm just making all this up. So I'll just toss it out, much as it is tossed out in the film. Proving herself to be among the world's worst cat burglars, Sylvia is caught by three more nuns, and tiring of the garroting shtick, just shoots them all dead with her trusty .38. Another sister witnesses the killings, so Sylvia figures she may as well cover her tracks by, erm… massacring all the nuns in the convent!! Out comes the automatic weaponry, and our disgruntled heroine goes on a tear, blasting away all her former workmates. This sequence is not nearly as much fun as it sounds (it's all implied, not shown), and I'm guessing it's meant to add some chuckles and no more.
Finally, things begin to draw to a close. Sylvia proudly presents FW with the painting and licks her lips in anticipation of claiming her reward, yet another sound thrashing with the bullwhip. But a call from the Securitate inspector leads to a change of plans. The massacre at the convent has drawn the attention of the authorities (what a surprise) and FW is asked to "get rid of" his extracurricular plaything so as not to lead the investigation to his employers.
Stripped nude yet again, Sylvia is ball gagged, cuffed and dumped in the back of a panel truck to be driven into the East European countryside. Expecting a night-time whipping in the deep, dark woods, she is pulled from the van and led by FW and his mom to a nice secluded spot. Even when a burlap sack is placed over her head, the gormless gal doesn't seem to realize that maybe --just maybe-- she's in for a little more than a few welts to add to her collection. Oh well, ignorance is bliss.
As Mom cackles with sadistic glee, she places the barrel of a gun against Sylvia's skull. She pulls the trigger, and our luscious heroine drops like the proverbial bag of wet cement. Is Sylvia dead? Well if not, Mom assures FW that she soon will be. Mom wonders whether they should bury the evidence, but FW is happy to let the wolves dispose of the girl's corpse. The scene cuts to Sylvia's naked body lying motionless on the forest floor. There is a barely audible female moan, before a very quick shot of the first wolf lunging from the shadows to claim his dinner.
Despite the Debbie-downer ending, the producer of this series has confirmed plans for MOW3. It may even feature the long-suffering Sylvia Novak as the heroine once again, though it's hard to imagine how she could have survived the climax of MOW2. Personally, I'd love to see another of these vids, though I realize they are not to all GIMPers tastes. In fact, those who enjoyed the original, may take issue with the sequel, and vice versa. The second one has a distinctly harder edge, killing off many of the female characters, though not as overtly as is the case in the Fantom Kiler films.
For those who can overlook some of the glaring foibles of MOW2, there is much to enjoy here. The photography is remarkably atmospheric and professional, even if some scenes are somewhat under lit. The editing is equally competent, and there are no over-long stretches which drag on forever as one often finds in low budget productions. In fact, on purely technical terms, both MOW videos eclipse almost all other fetish productions to the point that some have called them "mainstream" films.
They decidedly are not. Teraz productions are not released to cinemas or video rental outlets, and are primarily marketed as DVDs through Sinerama and a few American cult outlets. Like Red Feline and ZFX films, they are first and foremost produced for a BDSM-appreciative audience. They are not horror movies that just happen to have a few good peril scenes. The peril scenes are their entire raison-d'être.
MOW2 is a video for people who enjoy seeing beautiful, naked females, bound, gagged and otherwise rendered helpless, then whipped in a most erotic fashion. On that count, it delivers in spades - as well or better than much of the competition. The girls are gorgeous (if you don't mind a few man-made bosoms and the EE stripper aesthetic) and the nudity is abundant. The bondage and whipping scenes are widely inconsistent, but there is enough high quality material to make up for the misfires.
So what's not to like? Well, if you can't get past the limited acting abilities of the female cast, this flick might warp your brain. Unlike Red Feline and ZFX videos, MOW2 sets the action amidst a rather ambitious plot, a plot which requires a lot of dialogue to be understood. The guys are (just barely) able to sell their scenes, but the girls mutilate their lines in ways that will make you gasp in disbelief. For me, it's part of the fun, and I find it somewhat endearing. For others, it may be a deal-breaker. Then again, if you've seen any of the English-language Teraz titles, you'll know what to expect.
Other faults? As already mentioned, in some segments the victim's restraints are downright pitiful. A few of the peril scenes fall short as well, resembling fetish games a consensual couple might play at home. Unlike the original MOW, there is no centerpiece scene in which the girl's clothing is progressively whipped from her body before she is allowed to endure ten minutes of welt-raising thrashes to her bare flesh. But some of the bullwhippings in MOW2 come quite close.
Finally, the quirky elements which make Teraz productions so delightful for some of us may tax the tolerance of others. The decidedly surreal presentation of the male characters, FW's annoying mother, the J&B product placements, the WTF plot tangents, and in this case, the obvious religious acrimony will not sit well with everyone. Also, though not as apparent as in the first film, there's the consensual nature of many of the punishments. Most of the victims, especially the heroine, become whip addicts and supposedly get off on their tortures. But at the same time, they try to resist their sexual urges, so there is a non-consensual element to their suffering, too.
All that said, I knew what I was in for when I bought MOW2, and was able to overlook the shortcomings and revel in the many impressive aspects of the production. So… as a GIMP film (and for the many GIMP scenes therein), this vid rates an A- in my book.