August Underground is a 2001 film written and directed by Fred Vogel, and co-written by Allen Peters. The first release of Toetag Pictures, the film follows the exploits of a serial killer named Peter, as filmed by his unnamed and unseen accomplice. The film was followed by two sequels, August Underground's Mordum in 2003, and August Underground's Penance in 2007.
Presented as a severely degraded home movie, the film opens with a man named Peter inviting his camera-wielding friend into his basement, where he is holding a woman named Laura captive. Having already killed her boyfriend (whose castrated body has been left in a bathtub to rot), Peter is keeping Laura alive so he and his accomplice can torture her at their leisure, committing sadistic acts such as slicing one of her nipples off, and covering her in feces and urine.
Next, the two are shown picking up a female hitchhiker, whom Peter coerces into performing oral sex on him. After climaxing, Peter beats the hitchhiker, and leaves her for dead on the side of the road. After returning to Laura, to whom they force-feed one of her now dismembered boyfriend's toes, the duo attend a concert (which they are kicked out of for rowdy behavior) and visit a farm, returning to the house afterward to find Laura has died.
After some mundane outings, such as touring a slaughterhouse and visiting a cemetery, Peter murders an old woman in her home, which he and the cameraman ransack. Later, the two harass and stab a convenience store clerk, and torment a pair of shoppers. The two try to take the wounded clerk or one of the bystanders with them, but abandon those plans when they hear police sirens approaching. The two then proceed to tour Roadside America, and visit a tattoo parlor. When the tattoo artist finishes giving Peter a tattoo, he and his twin brother are captured by Peter and the cameraman. The tattoo artist has a leg cut off with a meat cleaver, and is finished off by being bludgeoned with a hammer, his brother sharing his fate moments later.
The two are next shown at home doing drugs with a pair of prostitutes, with the cameraman going upstairs to have sex with one. When finished, the cameraman finds Peter in the basement, sodomizing the other prostitute while beating her with a hammer. Upon discovering the fate of her companion, the remaining prostitute tries to escape. In the chaotic chase that ensues, the camera is dropped and cuts off. There's dead silence as the credits roll.Fred Vogel as Peter
Allen Peters as Man Behind the Camera
Alexa Iris as Hitchhiker
Victoria Jones as Old Woman
Aaron LaBonte as Younger Twin
Ben LaBonte as Older Twin
AnnMarie Reveruzzi as Laura (Girl in Cellar)
Erika Risovich as Erika (Blond Prostitute)
Russel A. Sagona
Randi Stubbs as Black Prostitute
Stephen Vogel as Boy in Supermarket
John A. Wisniewski as Michael (Dead Man in Bathtub)
Nick Yatso as Bouncer at Concert
Gregory S. Burkart of Bloody Disgusting included August Underground on his list "20 Landmarks of Found-Footage Horror!", writing, "I'm not a big fan of this series, but I admire Vogel's fearless audacity in serving up the ultimate in onscreen sadism".
While traveling to Canada to attend the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear in Toronto, director and co-writer Fred Vogel was arrested, pending charges of transporting obscene materials into Canada, when copies of August Underground and its sequel were found by customs officials among the merchandise he had intended to bring to the convention. The charges were eventually dropped, after Vogel had spent roughly ten hours in customs prison, and his films were sent to Ottawa for further observation.