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(1983) Drama, Horror, Thriller

Directed by Gerald Kargl
Written by Gerald Kargl and Zbigniew Rybczynski
Starring Erwin Leder and Robert Hunger-Buhler

So, this new video store that I've recently switched to is really kicking butt! At the front of the store is a caged section and some shelves of movies for sale of the horror/thriller/violent/exploitation varieties. I noticed a while ago that they had Alice Sweet Alice, but I held off on it, and the next week it was gone. Apparently it's out of print too. So I was a bit disappointed, but I browsed their selection to buy something else instead. This movie, Angst, caught my eye with it's striking cover. When I asked to have a look at it the clerk was really excited. His enthusiasm alone sold me on the movie, and so I asked him to stop talking about it because I wanted to go into it relatively blind. He had already told me that it was arthouse, and based on the true story of a serial killer. It also happened to be my friend's birthday coming up. He also likes arthouse and especially likes horror movies, so I thought it would be perfect for him. We watched it together on his birthday, and I could not believe how excited I was after watching it. Fortunately my friend passed out within the first ten minutes of the movie, so I got to watch it again with him the next day, and he definitely shared my enthusiasm. Well, it was the perfect gift. I just wish that I'd kept it for myself instead.

This is one of my new favorite movies. I guarantee when I redo my top 100 Angst is going to be in the top 50, maybe even top 25. I'm tempted to give it 5 stars and put it in my top 5, that's how much I loved it. Quality-wise it's a flawless masterpiece, there's no doubt about that. I noticed how good the cinematography was the first watch, but I was really enthralled by it on the second watch. The composition of the cinematography and the sets is incredible. You could pretty much take a screenshot at any point in the film and it would be supreme source material for a painting. Only the main character, played by Erwin Leder has any particular attention paid to as a character. Every other actor in the movie is merely an extra with little to no dialogue. The voice over representing the character's inner thoughts, which sound like their revisiting the events of the film in retrospective, is done by a different actor, Robert Hunger-Buhler. The voice over was another thing that really captivated me with this movie. It was very thoughtful and thought provoking. It wasn't just a device to explain the situation, but it also contributed essentially to the atmosphere and made you think about things at particular times to get an extraordinary psychological effect. Like for example when he was strangling an old woman; the voice over talked about his childhood, how he hated his grandmother and how he got kicked out of a convent for killing a pig. It didn't just delve into his mind and reveal why he had turned out to be a psycopath, it also made you think about that while he was strangling an old woman.

When I watched this movie I felt like a primordial desire of mine was satisfied. I felt relieved that I'd finally come across a movie like this. I felt like I'd been waiting my whole life to see it. There is nothing else I've seen that contends as a better psycho-killer movie. There is no boring filler content just to get to the violent bits, every single element of the movie is done with creative genius and artistic mastery. The movie is perfectly structured with it's buildup of anticipation, gloriously explosive peak, and final wrap up. My only regret is that it's going to be so hard to find anything else that gives me the same sensation, the same sadistic thrill and simultaneous gut wrenching heartbreak.

Because I can't contain my excitement, I need to talk about what excited me the most about the movie. But it's going to contain major spoilers, so don't read it if you haven't seen the movie yet. I just can't stress enough how glorious the bildup in this movie is. When even thinking of how I'm going to talk about what excited me I feel the need to be very careful about how I build it up. But I can't do as good a job as the movie itself did. That's why I say watch it before you read this.

WARNING: spoilers below
Well I really have two favorite parts in the movie. The first and lesser favorite part of mine is when the psychopath attacks the family in their home, and while he's terrorising them. The "part" itself is the attractive young daughter. It's just so amazing to me how they did her character. For one thing she isn't a developed character. She has no name Oh yeah, she does have a name that is mentioned by another character. Most of her screen time is in the background or off to the side. She's almost like an extra, and yet at the same time she's the second most important character in the movie. My second favorite part is the pivotal apex of the movie's plot.

There are several particular shots of the daughter that stand out to me during this part of the movie. One is when she's tied up. The killer ties one of her feet to the handle of a door, stands her up, and ties her hands behind her back. So she's left stuck there with one foot bent upwards behind her, her hands behind her back, and trying to balance on one foot. The image of her tied up like that is so fascinating. It leaves me full of wonder, excitement, and curiosity. Will she escape? What's going to happen to her? It's such an interesting way to tie someone up. It's so haphazard. And it defenitely left me hopeful that she could escape, because she wasn't tied up very well. She was so attractive too. I found myself simultaneously excited at the prospect of her dying and dreading it, hoping that she'd escape.

While the killer is busy elsewhere she reaches the knife on the ground and picks it up with her mouth. There's a few shots of her on the ground, foot tied up at the door handle, with the knife in her mouth. And those images pierced me deeply as just wonderful to behold. The hopeful moments where she just might escape.. But honestly it didn't even look very promising. I think that deep down it was obvious she wouldn't escape. I remember the feeling that I had when I saw her with the knife in her mouth. It was like a hope that I knew would fail, a fleeting glimmer that was too good to be true. She looked so vulnerable, desperate, and beautiful.

There are a couple more particularly interesting shots of her before the apex. The psycho dragging her awkwardly into the kitchen while she tries to make out with him in a desperate attempt to save herself by seducing him. I love the way he talks about his plans for her and how what she's doing won't save her. Then he leaves her in the kitchen and as she's falling over there's a shot of her catching herself on the counter with her teeth before slipping off. And then there's an interesting shot of her hiding in the closet while the killer looks for her.

If you actually did watch the movie before reading this, then my favorite part will undoubtedly be your favorite part too. The attractive young woman's cataclysmic death scene. It was perfection. The setting of the dark tunnel couldn't be any better. I loved the nice little touch of the children's ball that she accidentally kicks when she runs away from the killer, and how it sits there off to the side of the shot when she's dead. It's haunting at that point, and creepy. It makes me quiver just thinking about it. I love the way he talks about his "plans" when he really doesn't do anything according to his so-called plans. He says he's going to kill her in the most precise manner, but in the end he kills her in a spontaneous uncontrolable outburst. As he's chasing her down the tunnel he just starts stabbing her and exploads into a violent orgasm. I've never seen such a compelling death scene. The way her eyes widened as she gargled up blood while he just kept stabbing her. The shot of her weak legs twisting under his with torn stockings and fleeting life. The look of sadistic glee on the killer's blood splashed face as he contorts in murderous ecstacy.

It was hard to stomach, but it was also something I've wanted to see for a very long time. I've often wondered why I haven't seen this type of sadistic violence done so well and so realistically before. I've often wondered if I ever would see something like this on film. Now that I have, I just want to see more, but I have no idea how I'll find more of the sensation this movie gave me. I think the best thing to do is savor it, cherish it, and just be thankful that I have found it, and that it does exist. Maybe one day I'll find another movie that gives me the sensation that this movie made me feel. A sensation that almost makes me afraid of becoming a sadist myself one day, or a murderer. A sensation that completely combines excitement and terror.

Screw it, I rate it five primordial urges out of five.