We here at Horror Bound are big fans of horror. Duh. We are also big believers that any fun loving cinephile ought to be. Some people find it hard to get past their fears and some are overwhelmed at the sheer volume of horror out there. Including indie horror, which is wonderful, dozens of genre flicks come out every month. So, where does one start?
Well, we got you covered. This recurring article will be dolling out the 100 essential flicks from horror and will give you a heaping tablespoon of the various eras and sub genres. It also just so happens that this list was created by the great minds behind the Shock Waves podcast, including Charlotte’s adoptive mother, Rebekah McKendry, so it’s basically a family list.
These are not ranked, but, rather, in alphabetical order. Today we talk about the traumatic event that is Angst.
Ok, kids, confession time. I had not only not seen this movie before reading this list, I had never heard of it. Given I’ve loved for 100% of my life and have dug deep into the genre and have never heard of it, I must say I was curious. I was especially curious considering the good folks at Shock Waves consider it essential viewing. So, let’s dig in, shall we?
Angst (or Fear in the US and Schizophrenia in France) profiles a sadistic killer just released from prison. He has hungered to kill since he went in and is eager to get going again. He makes one failed attempt after another until finally strikes gold when he stumbles upon a mentally disabled, wheelchair bound old man in a house. He breaks in and one by one kills the whole family.
If you think they went about this in the traditional ‘camera pulls away’ approach to 80’s slashers, you’d be wrong. If you think you’ll watch him beat the daughter to death, drink her blood, vomit on her and pass out on her dead body mid-rape, then you’re more on target. Damn this movie was rough. I think I’ve had my fill of watching people drown kids in bathtubs for at least a few days, m’kay?
The psycho then takes the bodies, puts them in the trunk and heads to a diner. There he calls the cops and basks in the terror of cops and onlookers alike during the reveal of what’s in the trunk.
And that’s it. The director’s cut of this movie is just 75 minutes long. The cast is just six people and none have names. It was written, produced, directed, edited and shot by just two people. The movie ends up being a tight, efficient look at the extremes of bloodlust. This movie influenced a whole generation of flicks with this view that serial killers simply can’t contain their urge to kill. In 1983, serial killers were not terribly well known and this movie definitely helped set the narrative.
If I can say nothing else about this movie, it’s this - the imagery is not just brutal, but it’s iconic in its look. The cinematography and production design are so simple and well done that it is almost jarringly effective. It, well, just sucks you in and refuses to let you go. And why not? One of the two filmmakers behind it was Zbigniew Rybczyński, one of the pioneers of digital cinematography and winner of a few Oscars. The man knows what he’s doing.
So, long story short. If you like some brutal shit that’s incredibly well shot, this is for you. If you’d rather not, well, maybe just do some image searches or something. One last thing, why the heck isn’t Erwin Leder in more movies? Seriously.
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