Thursday, October 10, 2013

Angst (Gerald Kargl, 1983)

Does anyone know which actress plays the brunette "Guest at the Café" with the tantalizing thighs? I know it's either Claudia Schinko or Beate Jurkowitsch, but I'm having a difficult time figuring out which one is which. You think you're having a difficult time, try transporting two dead bodies from the house you just broke into to the car you're about to steal. I don't know, that doesn't sound all that difficult. Oh, yeah. Well, what if I told you the dead bodies you had to transport formally belonged to two heavy-set Austrians who have spend a better part of the twentieth century eating nothing but bratwurst? Bratwurst, eh? That changes everything. Is it weird that I let out a sheepish cheer (it might have sounded like, "yay!") when "The Psychopath" at the centre of Angst (a.k.a. Schizophrenia) finally managed to get the dead bodies of all his victims into the trunk of his newly acquired Mercedes-Benz? What's that? You're saying it is weird? Right, I thought it might be. I have to admit, there are a number instances throughout this film where I found myself, now, I don't want to say, "rooting," as that's not quite the right word. Let's just say, I found myself hoping that he would succeed in getting the help he so desperately needs. Yeah, sure. No, seriously, I wanted The Psychopath and his newly acquired Daschund to get to a place that would allow the former to receive proper counseling and the latter (who's a cute little wiener dog? you are! you are!) to find a home with a loving family. While I agree that the Angst-Daschund deserves to be adopted by a loving family, I'm afraid The Psychopath is beyond counseling, proper or otherwise. He's too far gone. In other words, there's no turning back for The Psychopath.

Maybe if you stopped calling him "The Psychopath," he wouldn't feel the need to act out in such a transgressive manner. Oh, that's not a value judgment on my part, that's name he's given in the credits. And besides, "Misunderstood Miscreant With Mommy Issues" is too much of a mouthful.

Now, it should be noted that while Erwin Leder is the physical manifestation of The Psychopath, Robert Hunger-Bühler provides the voice of The Psychopath's inner most thoughts, which are sometimes our only companion in this stark and brutal character study.

A couple of quick questions: Do you like the SnorriCam? Now and then, huh? Yeah, it can be overused at times. Do you like the music of Klaus Schulze? Yeah, baby! Synths! I'll take that as a yes. The only reason I ask is because we get a heavy dose of both in Angst, the synthiest slasher film to employ the SnorriCam in existence. In case you're not familiar with the SnorriCam, it's a camera that an actor wears on their body. It's usually attached, like it is in this film, to the actor's chest, which creates this oddly disquieting effect on the viewer.

It's almost as if we're a baby looking at their mother from the comfort of a chest-mounted harness. Except, instead of peering up at our mother, we're looking up at a deranged madman. I know, "deranged madman" sounds a little judgmental on my part; I prefer to view film characters from an objective point-of-view. But I think I can safely state that The Psychopath in Angst is not hooked up right.

When I first saw the Daschund in Angst, I thought to myself: Cute dog. Eyeballed by The Psychopath during their initial encounter, I thought it was curtains for the little wiener dog. But then something miraculous occurs, not only did the Daschund manage to stay alive, it actually started to steal scenes.

Opening with the repetitive sound of a faucet dripping, we quickly learn that The Psychopath is being released from jail after serving ten years for murdering a seventy year-old woman; he also did four years previously for attempted murder (he tried to kill his mother). Having spent half his life behind bars, what are the odds that The Psychopath is going to have a difficult time adjusting to life on the outside? Not to bud in, but I think the odds are pretty high. I mean, look at him. He can't even walk down the street without looking like he's up to no good. And thanks to the ubiquitous narration that details his every thought, we know he's planning something.

Stand back, we have thick, pantyhose ensnared, Austrian thighs dangling from a cafe bar stool. I repeat, we have...Hey, whoa. Don't repeat that. Show some self-respect. But they're dangling. Be cool, man. Tearing into his sausage like a down on his luck Rottweiler, The Psychopath stares a couple of young women, a blonde and a brunette (Claudia Schinko und Beate Jurkowitsch), sitting in a gas station cafe with the intensity of a thousand Fun Fun videos. When the staring (complete with close-up shots of lips and eyes) eventually subsides, The Psychopath decides to change his plans. Oh, don't get me wrong, he desperately wants to kill these two young women. It's just that there are too many people around.

After his attempt to strangle a female taxi driver with one of his shoelaces is thwarted, The Psychopath runs aimlessly through the woods. Now, that sounds like pretty basic stuff; I can think of countless movies that feature psychopaths running through the woods (chchch ahahah). However, there's nothing basic about Gerald Kargl, as he throws every camera trick in the book at us. The aforementioned SnorriCam is employed to great effect during this sequence, as is the music of Klaus Schulze.

Itching to kill another human being, The Psychopath stumbles upon a relatively secluded home surrounded by bushes and an artificial pond of some kind. As The Psychopath cases the joint, Gerald Kargl temporarily puts away the SnorriCam and gives us a series of crane shots that would cause SCTV's crane shot obsessed Johnny LaRue to involuntarily expel seminal fluid in his pants. After circling the house several times, The Psychopath, via narration, declares it to be the perfect location, and enters the residence by breaking a window.

Of course, The Psychopath doesn't mean it's the perfect location to raise a family, no, he's talking about its potential for staging a series of unpleasant murder sequences; the kind that would put the stylish scenarios that appear in most giallos to shame.

I'm curious, how are you're going to handle the whole Silvia Rabenreither with her foot tied a doorknob situation? Whatever do you mean? Are going to perv out or what? I haven't decided yet. Anyway, when the family, including Silvia Rabenreither, who is wearing a denim skirt with a slit in the back for added mobility, her elderly mother (Edith Rosset), her retarded, wheelchair-bound brother (Rudolf Götz), and their dog "Kuba," finally meet The Psychopath, let's just say, things spiral out of control.

Let me give you a hint, Kuba, the world's cutest Daschund, is currently gnawing on Silvia's mother's dentures like they were a chew toy. In fact, the following scenes are so disturbing, that they managed to dampen my appreciation of Silvia's mother's therapeutic pantyhose. And while the slit on the back of Silvia's denim skirt does give her that added mobility I alluded to earlier, the slit eventually fails her in the end. Hey, don't blame the slit. It's The Psychopath's fault Silvia was put in this situation in the first place. You're absolutely right. I'm sorry about that.

After an extended body dragging sequence (where lumpy bodies are dragged across broken glass and down a flight of stairs), the spry film culminates with the sight of a deranged Austrian wearing a woman's coat feeding a Daschund a half-eaten sausage outside a nondescript gas station. Beautifully mundane with a hint of the absurd, Angst is visceral, uncompromising and bleak. In other words...No, wait, those words are fine. I'll end by saying that you're not going to find a more straightforward examination of the mind of a psychopath than Angst.


  1. Great post and Blog, congratulations from:

  2. Glad you got around to this. I'm pretty sure those girls in the cafe live inside of the Radioactive Lingerie tumblr, so you might want to ask around over there.

  3. You know, I think you might be right. I'll make sure to ask around the next time I'm over there.

  4. Lydia has been hanging out there a lot lately, too.

    In Vancouver they have annual wiener dog races at one of the horses tracks in the city. I've seen the eye witness photos to confirm this amazing Canadian sporting event. Anyway, did the credits give the name of the Teutonic canine thespian who played Kuba the Accomplice Dachshund?

  5. Tell me about it, it's almost as if Lydia is a permanent resident or something.

    Wiener dog races, eh? There must be a youtube video of this somewhere... I'll get back to you.

    I think Kuba is uncredited. I'm not entirely sure.

  6. Three comments, Yums:

    1) I love dachshunds. One of my best ever pieces of ass was a Russian broad who looked after her Dachshund as if it were her baby.

    2) The chick in the fourth picture down looks just like an ex of mine. This unsettles me.

    3) You're a girl, right? I mean, I can tell by the number of beta film geeks you seem to have kissing your ass in your comment threads. For some reason, up until now, I'd been assuming you were some snarky gay dude or something.

  7. The fact you think I'm a girl pleases me. The fact you used to think I was a snarky gay dude pleases me even more. No, I'm just your average pervert who likes irregular porn, industrial music and Miami Vice.

    1. Yeah. Who was I kidding, anyway? There's girls you'd like to make a cock-mitten out of and girls who can sit through a Lucio Fulci double-feature in a sticky-floored revival theater full of hygienically-challenged Harry Knowles look-alikes -- and that's it. Rarely do the twain meet. Although I almost got to within cervix-jabbing distance of a young lass who claimed that she masturbated to the rape scenes in I Spit on Your Grave .

      "Irregular porn": is that like rimjob videos on XHamster featuring perilously-close-to-underage-looking Latinas? I had a couple of reviews of that stuff planned but I abandoned ship when I couldn't squeeze a nifty metaphor for the decline of Western manhood out of 'em. Someday, though...

  8. "Hygienically-challenged Harry Knowles look-alikes."

    Ha! Well-put. I was in orbit of one of those things last Tuesday; his unruly, soiled diaper-esque stench made my nostrils cry.

    I don't know about "perilously-close-to-underage-looking Latinas" but I do enjoy Party Doll A Go-Go! The Patron Saint of Irregular Porn.

    I couldn't but help notice you're a Sam Peckinpah fan. I watched Bring the Head of Alfredo Garcia for the first time the other week. I'm not planning on doing a review for it, but let's just say the film kicked my ass.

  9. Peckinpah is my favorite director and Alfredo Garcia is tied with Taxi Driver as my favorite film, although on most days if you asked me... I'd probably give Alfredo the nod. (Shhh, don't tell Scorsese.)

    I hold it as a point of hipster pride that I have seen Alfredo Garcia twice in 35mm on the big screen thus far. And both times, the audience was totally with it, getting the humor and everything. Which is great for a film that was greeted with pretty much universal revulsion and derision for the first 20 years or so.

    And crazy thing: I have found that Alfredo Garcia works as a kind of date film. In a way.

  10. @Scott is NOT: yeah, I've been reading these reviews and posting comments for almost two years because I thought Yum-yum was a girl, in the hopes that I could somehow fuck him through the computer. Even though his identity as a dude was obvious the whole time. Had nothing to do with liking the reviews or his writing. Your logic is flawless.

  11. @ido:

    You know, you're mighty prickly for someone who wasn't even being directly addressed.

    'S okay, bro. I like when people take ridiculous comments to heart. You could almost say it's... sort of entertaining, you know?

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  13. Some more fun facts on this movie:

    If the little dachshund Kuba, besides being cute, looks familiar, it's because Rybczynski used him again in his music videos for Art of Noise's "Close (to the Edit)" and Belfegore's "All That I Wanted". Also, Zbig must love sausage, because Kuba gets tempted by a sausage by the punkette in "Close (to the Edit)", and in his video for Polish band Lady Pank's "Minus Zero," three people are shown devouring sausage as messily as our antihero in this film.

    Also, Silvia Rabenreither, who plays the blonde daughter of the doomed family, later anglicized her name to Silvia Ryder and formed the dream pop band Sugarplum Fairies.

    1. So... what you're saying is, the dog from this movie is the same one from the Art of Noise music video? If so, you just blew my mind.