A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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Only just discovered this thread. I watched a German film called 'The Golden Glove' recently. It's not 100% horror - more grimy. The critics more or less hated it but I thought it was directed really well. I could almost smell my TV.

Fatih Akin's*The Golden Glove is the rawest, most real, and most brutal serial killer movie since*Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Unflinchingly gruesome, and covered in a thick layer of grime, Akin's film tells the true story of*Fritz Honka, a murderer who stalked*1970s Hamburg, preying on the weak, the old, and the destitute



Only just discovered this thread. I watched a German film called 'The Golden Glove' recently. It's not 100% horror - more grimy. The critics more or less hated it but I thought it was directed really well. I could almost smell my TV.
I watched and reviewed it a little while back.

https://www.movieforums.com/communit...82#post2244682

I liked it, generally speaking.



The Golden Glove is pretty great. I've watched very few movies where I felt uncomfortable for almost the entire run of the film. And while I think there may be some good reasons to disregard the intent of the film, its nihilism, its ugliness, its seeming hatred towards humanity, as a piece of film it burrows itself deep. It has a deep understands of the space it exists in and the sad characters that populate it. And while its central focus is very much on a serial killer (who it is almost agonizing to be in the company of), I think a lot of the critics of the film are wrong who have said we need to stop making films about the perpetrators of violence and start focusing on the victims. First of all, no, we need both. Second of all, this movie very much focuses on the women this man torments. They aren't necessarily played as cannon fodder. Even those who only have a short screen time, create an indelible impression of who they are. The troubles they've seen. The squalid world they've tumbled into. Yes, they are only sketches of women. But they are profound sketches of the sort of people who can end up as prey to these kinds of monsters. Our sympathies are always with them and never with the killer. And just because the film focuses so directly on violence and what it looks like, does not mean it revels in it or fetishizes it. It's just an elemental force that exists in this place. It happens and no one cares (except those in the audience watching).



I think a lot of the critics of the film are wrong who have said we need to stop making films about the perpetrators of violence and start focusing on the victims. First of all, no, we need both. Second of all, this movie very much focuses on the women this man torments. They aren't necessarily played as cannon fodder. Even those who only have a short screen time, create an indelible impression of who they are. The troubles they've seen. The squalid world they've tumbled into. Yes, they are only sketches of women. But they are profound sketches of the sort of people who can end up as prey to these kinds of monsters. Our sympathies are always with them and never with the killer. And just because the film focuses so directly on violence and what it looks like, does not mean it revels in it or fetishizes it. It's just an elemental force that exists in this place. It happens and no one cares (except those in the audience watching).
I am of two minds on this.

First, I agree with you that the sympathy of the film is with the victims, and it's not interested in making excuses for the man who commits violence against them.

But I think there's also something in saying that we only care about these women because of the violent acts perpetrated against them. Would people take time to watch a movie that was just about these women dealing with addition and the occasionally aggressive client? Absolutely not. The interest in them derives from the ways that they and their bodies will be degraded/violated/damaged.

Like I wrote in my review, I appreciated that the film highlighted the kind of environment and social attitudes that made these women so vulnerable to the person who hurt them, and allowed him to carry on hurting people. But I think that there's a fine line between exposing and condemning this kind of gender-based violence and rubbernecking at the grisly details of how women are abused/assaulted/killed. It's ultimately up to each viewer to decide which side of the line a film falls on for them.



I am of two minds on this.

First, I agree with you that the sympathy of the film is with the victims, and it's not interested in making excuses for the man who commits violence against them.

But I think there's also something in saying that we only care about these women because of the violent acts perpetrated against them. Would people take time to watch a movie that was just about these women dealing with addition and the occasionally aggressive client? Absolutely not. The interest in them derives from the ways that they and their bodies will be degraded/violated/damaged.

Like I wrote in my review, I appreciated that the film highlighted the kind of environment and social attitudes that made these women so vulnerable to the person who hurt them, and allowed him to carry on hurting people. But I think that there's a fine line between exposing and condemning this kind of gender-based violence and rubbernecking at the grisly details of how women are abused/assaulted/killed. It's ultimately up to each viewer to decide which side of the line a film falls on for them.

It's a movie that absolutely creates a queasy relationship between the audience and these women. And, yes, we only understand them through the violence inflicted upon them, which does seem to reduce them to a kind of function for the plot (and, as a result, can't help but seem to strip them of some humanity). So it's not like a movie like this should be able to float freely above any kind of criticsm on these matters. I spent most of my time watching it, not really knowing exactly how I felt about what I was seeing.



But to allow the movie to direct our gaze exclusively to the violence, and to let us forget what it is saying about these women who become defined by this violence (to the point that, as you stated, they can be violated and killed with complete impunity),I think it to do exactly what the movie is criticizing about society. We are allowing the shocking tabloid nature of the crime to overwhelm the small stories of humanity that exist alongside the brutality the movie depicts. As you brought attention to, the scene where the second victim cleans Fritz's apartment, says nearly everything you need to know about the film. Who she is, what she thinks she needs to be in this society, how sad it all is that after everything that has happened to her her reflex is to act like a housekeeper.



The movie has all the trappings of a geek show. And it's fair to be pushed away by that. And, I also imagine there are some who only come for the 'rubber necking'. But I also think critics of the film aren't giving it enough credit when they see the film is misogynistic or entirely empty and nihilistic and exploitative. Those descriptions apply to the main character, but not the actual film.



But to allow the movie to direct our gaze exclusively to the violence, and to let us forget what it is saying about these women who become defined by this violence (to the point that, as you stated, they can be violated and killed with complete impunity),I think it to do exactly what the movie is criticizing about society. We are allowing the shocking tabloid nature of the crime to overwhelm the small stories of humanity that exist alongside the brutality the movie depicts. As you brought attention to, the scene where the second victim cleans Fritz's apartment, says nearly everything you need to know about the film. Who she is, what she thinks she needs to be in this society, how sad it all is that after everything that has happened to her her reflex is to act like a housekeeper.
I think that there is a very personal kind of visceral response to seeing physical violence that is a different kind of response to aspects that are emotional in nature.

My disgust at his sexual assault of the woman comes from a different intersection of elements of myself than my disgust at her cleaning. I think that part of that split comes from the kinds of empathy we can have with those different acts. I imagine that everyone has an experience in their life where they were physically outmatched. I'm not talking just about a sexual assault, but some time when your body was just incapable of fighting back. (For a not-upsetting personal example, I was once in a storage unit by myself really late at night and a box fell and pinned me against the wall and even though I was able to figure it out, there were probably about 30-60 loooooong seconds where I was just full of anger and helplessness not being able to move or get free).

But to be hurt by someone and then turn around and clean their apartment? Listen, I'm sure that people have also experienced something like that, but I think that it comes from a different place. For me, I had to imagine what it would be like to have that impulse, as opposed to the body memory of what it's like to be hurt/powerless.

So while I do applaud the film for showing both of those sequences---and I think that it shows that the film is not merely after being empty and exploitative---I think that for some people the physical and sexual violence will always loom larger. And when you combine that with the fact that some viewers openly tout their interest in such films as gore-chasing and wanting to crow about watching the stuff that's "the most messed up", it can make the film feel lopsided.

The movie has all the trappings of a geek show. And it's fair to be pushed away by that. And, I also imagine there are some who only come for the 'rubber necking'. But I also think critics of the film aren't giving it enough credit when they see the film is misogynistic or entirely empty and nihilistic and exploitative. Those descriptions apply to the main character, but not the actual film.
While I mostly agree, I am perpetually torn on the use vs harm of showing this kind of violence in graphic detail. The "heart" of his character is not really in the details of how he rapes and kills these women, it's the toxic intersection between his desire for and anger against them. And you can portray that without actually showing me a man shoving a kitchen tool into a semi-conscious woman's body.



Victim of The Night
By the way The New York Times just recommended The Final Terror as an off-the-beaten path Horror that people should see.

The Final Terror (1983)

"One of my horror guilty pleasures is this summertime slasher film that was shot in the Northern California wilderness in 1981, which was almost called “The Forest PrimEvil.” The film is creepy, atmospheric and boasts a starry cast — for the ’80s, that is — that includes Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward and Adrian Zmed.
The story is pure formula: Young folks from a rural camp go to the woods to have sex, test their survival skills and share ghost stories, including one about a deranged woman who lives among the trees. The kids should have listened to their bus driver (a wild-eyed Joe Pantoliano) when he warned them not to take this trip, because a hulking sicko, camouflaged in a cloak of forest detritus, is killing their friends. The final reckoning with the maniac is so eye-poppingly directed, you’ll forgive the abrupt ending.

What makes this a terrific summer scare is how the director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”) simultaneously finds beauty and menace in the season’s natural pleasures: rushing waters, campfire camaraderie, sunlight through towering Redwoods. Much of the action takes place in the wild, giving the thrills a sweaty, survivalist edge, but Davis still pauses to paint quiet moments with artful, spectral spookiness. I’m also a fan of the interracial cast — unusual for early ’80s horror — and the 83-minute run time. Plus, it’s free to stream.

Stick to “Friday the 13th” for summer horror you know. For an unexpected alternative, this sleeper is worth your time."

Exactly.



I think that there is a very personal kind of visceral response to seeing physical violence that is a different kind of response to aspects that are emotional in nature.

And those responses are valid. And they should be articulated. And being someone who pushes the idea of allowing our personal experiences to shape how we experience art, I don't blame anyone for turning away from anything, or not wanting to see certain things, or having their view of what else might be happening blocked by such emotional and personal reactions.


But if a critic goes into print claiming a film does one thing and not another, and I see clear evidence to the contrary, I'm going to disagree with their assessment, even if they have every reason in the world to emotionally come to those conclusions.



I of course have my own blinders that I have on where I can't see what else might be going on due to whatever overwhelming emotional reaction I might have from certain scenes. But I would also always encourage anyway to try and reach out and pull them off. To show why such things might have a reason, or might be doing more than I think they are. I wouldn't consider it invalidating my feelings for someone to disagree with me and articulate that disagreement.


And when you combine that with the fact that some viewers openly tout their interest in such films as gore-chasing and wanting to crow about watching the stuff that's "the most messed up", it can make the film feel lopsided.

I'm on board the idea that mindless consumption of violence is a problem. And sometimes these more belligerent sorts can make things hard as we might not want to be associated with the vicarious thrills they get out of such movies. But I also don't like people who have no thoughts in their own minds take up too much space in my own, or limit how I experience something. At least I try not to.


I am perpetually torn on the use vs harm of showing this kind of violence in graphic detail.

My attitude is everything is there for an artist to grapple with. To show or not to show. To go over the line or not go over the line. And the more you show or the more over the line you take your audience, the more scrutiny you will rightfully receive. But if every movie can prove to me that showing was the right decision, that it had an effect that leaves me with something and wasn't just cynically employed to cause a cheap emotional reaction, I've got no issues with it. Sometimes a film needs to put us through the grinder to make its point. Sometimes we need a film like Golden Glove as the opposite of a pallet cleanser, something that will put the foul taste back in our mouth in regards to what violence is. Especially when we pay money to sit and watch it on our television.



But if a critic goes into print claiming a film does one thing and not another, and I see clear evidence to the contrary, I'm going to disagree with their assessment, even if they have every reason in the world to emotionally come to those conclusions.
Absolutely. And I've had similar responses to movies that have been dismissed as just being exploitation when I think there's a lot more going on.

I wouldn't consider it invalidating my feelings for someone to disagree with me and articulate that disagreement.
I don't think that anyone's feelings are being invalidated. I'm just saying that I understand where someone would come from in finding the film problematic because for me it just landed on the "right" side of that line. I think that sometimes moviemakers can have empathy for victims and be aware of troublesome elements . . . but still kind of fall into some of the traps of exploitation.

For example, at times I really grappled with how the film portrayed the bodies of the victims. I had a hard time parsing whether or not the fact that he was attracted to these (older, not conventionally attractive, not skinny) women and wanting to have sex with them was meant to be a signal to the audience like "Whoa, this guy is so messed up he'll have sex with this woman!" I mean . . . that's really gross if that was the intent, and I had a hard time figuring out if that was part of the film's perspective.

I'm on board the idea that mindless consumption of violence is a problem. And sometimes these more belligerent sorts can make things hard as we might not want to be associated with the vicarious thrills they get out of such movies. But I also don't like people who have no thoughts in their own minds take up too much space in my own, or limit how I experience something. At least I try not to.
I guess part of it is wondering to what degree the film/filmmakers are possibly pandering to that audience.

My attitude is everything is there for an artist to grapple with. To show or not to show. To go over the line or not go over the line. And the more you show or the more over the line you take your audience, the more scrutiny you will rightfully receive. But if every movie can prove to me that showing was the right decision, that it had an effect that leaves me with something and wasn't just cynically employed to cause a cheap emotional reaction, I've got no issues with it.
Agreed. I'm just not 100% convinced that the graphic scenes were "the right decision." I'm mostly convinced, but not all the way.




For example, at times I really grappled with how the film portrayed the bodies of the victims. I had a hard time parsing whether or not the fact that he was attracted to these (older, not conventionally attractive, not skinny) women and wanting to have sex with them was meant to be a signal to the audience like "Whoa, this guy is so messed up he'll have sex with this woman!" I mean . . . that's really gross if that was the intent, and I had a hard time figuring out if that was part of the film's perspective.

I never got any sense that he was attracted to these women, more that he preyed on vulnerability.



As for whether or not the film was going 'whoah gross', that is kind of impossible to parse, as everything about this characters identity we are meant to be saying 'whoah gross' to. His physicality, his personality, his behavior, his home, his sexual behavior are all deeply unpleasant and suspect and, because of this, it's hard not to suspect that maybe even the women he chooses are outgrowth of how outside of the system he is.



But then there is also what we imagine the reaction of an audience to be. Because films almost never sexualize older women, especially those which have been deliberately made to look beaten up and depressed and even unhealthy, I think many can't help but find themselves shocked when the film goes there. Rightly or wrongly, there is something that feels even more wrong and invasive because of this.



So this is part of what I mean when I say the film builds a queasy relationship between these women and the audience. Now does this mean the film is saying 'oh, gross' to these women directly. Or is it a comment on their non-traditional physicality? I don't think so...but I also don't think it's possible to present this story in this way where that isn't going to raise itself as a bit of a thing for the audience to wrestle with.



I never got any sense that he was attracted to these women, more that he preyed on vulnerability.
I think that he's after sexual satisfaction, but to say the least he has a horribly unhealthy relationship with sex. My impression was that he picked these women because he felt he would be able to dominate them.

it's hard not to suspect that maybe even the women he chooses are outgrowth of how outside of the system he is.

But then there is also what we imagine the reaction of an audience to be. Because films almost never sexualize older women, especially those which have been deliberately made to look beaten up and depressed and even unhealthy, I think many can't help but find themselves shocked when the film goes there. Rightly or wrongly, there is something that feels even more wrong and invasive because of this.

So this is part of what I mean when I say the film builds a queasy relationship between these women and the audience. Now does this mean the film is saying 'oh, gross' to these women directly. Or is it a comment on their non-traditional physicality? I don't think so...but I also don't think it's possible to present this story in this way where that isn't going to raise itself as a bit of a thing for the audience to wrestle with.
And I wrestled with it a lot. Are we meant to be repulsed by the idea of this man having sex with these particular women? (Not because of who he is and what we know about him, but because of who they are and how they look). If so, then for me that compounds a sense of exploitation because we are then not only bearing witness to the graphic violence inflicted on them, but the "horror show" aspect of the movie is using their bodies as part of the revulsion. I think that such an attitude is its own kind of objectification, and it's problematic.

Like you say, however, it's something that's really hard to parse in this case. As you saw in my review, I mostly gave the film the benefit of the doubt.



And I wrestled with it a lot. Are we meant to be repulsed by the idea of this man having sex with these particular women? (Not because of who he is and what we know about him, but because of who they are and how they look). If so, then for me that compounds a sense of exploitation because we are then not only bearing witness to the graphic violence inflicted on them, but the "horror show" aspect of the movie is using their bodies as part of the revulsion. I think that such an attitude is its own kind of objectification, and it's problematic.

Like you say, however, it's something that's really hard to parse in this case. As you saw in my review, I mostly gave the film the benefit of the doubt.

To me I use the appearance of Fritz as a kind of barometer of how far the film is willing to go in order to turn a body into something that is repellent. His ugliness is otherworldly. Almost shocking in certain scenes. Wheras the women aren't pushed towards this. They are broken down and sad and bruised, but they are never anything but purely human. We understand them much more than we can ever understand him.



Now, can we control that some members of an audience may be out there groaning that he has sex with older women? Not anymore than we can if they are getting riled up in excitement from the violence. But I don't think the film itself fetishizes their appearance in a way that wants us to turn away from them. I think it wants us to see them very clearly, which to me is very much the opposite of exploitation. Even if there may be some grey areas the film is stepping into at times, simply by virtue of having to depict the sort of women he preyed upon---the forgotten, the ignored, the unloved, the broken.



To me I use the appearance of Fritz as a kind of barometer of how far the film is willing to go in order to turn a body into something that is repellent. His ugliness is otherworldly. Almost shocking in certain scenes. Wheras the women aren't pushed towards this. They are broken down and sad and bruised, but they are never anything but purely human. We understand them much more than we can ever understand him.
I suppose. Have you seen the actor who was under all of that makeup?



You're right that he's almost otherworldly, but that in a way is almost part of the problem. I'm frustrated because I can't quite find the right way to articulate this, but I feel like it veers into the grotesque in a way that doesn't match the "realistic" universe in which this is all existing. I'm not sure it works for me to play things both ways: ie, that for Fritz his body is meant to reflect his inner-self/value/etc, but that's not the case for the women.

It seems like the point is meant to be that he looks the way he looks, so he picks women who to his mind are beneath him, and then gets angry when they are more sexually experienced or he can't "perform" or whatever.

I think it wants us to see them very clearly, which to me is very much the opposite of exploitation. Even if there may be some grey areas the film is stepping into at times, simply by virtue of having to depict the sort of women he preyed upon---the forgotten, the ignored, the unloved, the broken.
Yeah, I'm like 75% in this camp, meaning that my gut is that the intent is to see these women and feel empathy for them. There were a few moments--like the assault on the semi-conscious woman--that I thought were questionable in this regard.




You're right that he's almost otherworldly, but that in a way is almost part of the problem. I'm frustrated because I can't quite find the right way to articulate this, but I feel like it veers into the grotesque in a way that doesn't match the "realistic" universe in which this is all existing. I'm not sure it works for me to play things both ways: ie, that for Fritz his body is meant to reflect his inner-self/value/etc, but that's not the case for the women.

I had moments where I felt maybe his performance did veer somewhat a little too deeply into being almost a Smegle like troll, hard to take as seriously as needed because he almost seemed like something fictional. But for the most part I liked the exaggeration. I find it hard to complain too much about it when its such a frightening and compelling performance.


As for it not matching the 'realistic' universe, I don't know if I'd ever classify this world as realistic. It is still very stylized and does its best to push all of this worlds ugliness to the surface. Everything is somewhat exaggerated, even to some extent the women. Bruised and hunched over and in torn clothing and leglessly drunk and sometimes balding, they are characactures to some degree in that they are almost exclusively defined by their hard lot in life. But they are presented to us in a way where they are at least tethered to a world where we can still understand their suffering in real terms. Whereas Fritz, who obviously has suffered in many ways as well, seems to have been transformed into something beneath humanity. His abuses and excuses recede into the distance as a result.


It's all very complicated, and I think is far from flawless, and the violence at times could be thought of as gratuitous (the scene with the half conscious woman you mentioned was a lot, arguably too much). But, as is usually the case with me, I'm okay with films not entirely working as long as they leave an effect. And there is no question that Golden Glove leaves a mark on you. It's an ugly and terrifying and deeply unpleasant experience.



I generally agree. There's something about the wilderness and the way that woods/deserts/mountains can be their own kind of antagonist that adds a bit of grit to what happens on screen.
Right, the environment can be creepy even devoid of a killer, so there's one advantage. But in addition, the overall aesthetic of the woods is preferable to me (visually). And then there's the fact that the top 5 scariest moments in my actual life have all happened in the woods, so I find it easy to relate. Plus I always feel like the (sub)urban setting gives a victim lots more potential rescuers. Nobody wants to be chased through the neighborhood by Michael Myers, obviously, but at least you're surrounded by vehicles/telephones/other humans.

And the missing canoes bit reminded me of how utterly screwed we were at any given time in the pre-cell phone era. It's a miracle any of us lived past thirty.

One more point: I know a grand total of ZERO people that are capable of building a functioning raft from nothing but tree branches and rope. I should've joined the Scouts I guess.
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Terrible things that have happened to me in the past week, ranked:

2. Battled COVID
1. Watched Hellhole (1985)

This somehow made it onto my "Slasher Watchlist", but in retrospect it really isn't one. So I don't know who to blame for its inclusion.

It hasn't been logged by any of my Letterboxd friends, so I don't know how the rest of you feel about it, but I am filing it along with Slumber Party Massacre II as a film that just cuts against every grain I've got. Every choice made here - aesthetics/wardrobe/soundtrack/plot/dialogue/casting - is the polar opposite to what mine would have been. This is not the film's fault, but it is what it is. As soon as I saw the ridiculous rhinestoned biker outfit worn by our killer, I knew this was not gonna be for me. (That was 3 minutes in).

And at the risk of encouraging others to watch it, this has to be the most absurd amount of nudity I've ever encountered. It's not hyperbole to speculate that there are pornos with fewer naked actresses.

Robert Z'Dar, Mary Woronov, etc etc so I'm sure there's a following for this one but...oof.

Is it just me?



Watching Tourist Trap for the first time and I had not realized that
WARNING: spoilers below
telekinesis
was a major part of the plot.



Watching Tourist Trap for the first time and I had not realized that
WARNING: spoilers below
telekinesis
was a major part of the plot.
Is that an issue for you, just out of curiosity?



I liked The Burning.
Is it ok to like The Burning? I can never tell with you people
It’s perfectly okay to like the Burning. It’s just objectively wrong to like it more than the Prowler.