This week’s Killer POV pick of the week is the 1983 long-lost cult classic, ANGST, directed by filmmaker Gerald Kargl. It’s been on my radar since the movie got a proper restoration and limited theatrical release in 2015, backed by Gaspar Noé who credits it as one of his all time favorite movies and was present for a handful of screenings to introduce it. I mean, if the director of ENTER THE VOID and IRREVERSIBLE loves it, there’s got to be something there, right? Also, my Killer POV co-host Elric cited it as his number one film discovery of 2015. So I picked up the Blu-Ray, waited for a nice quiet night to hit off all the lights, crank the sound and let this bizarre 87 minutes of madness wash over me.
This new Blu-Ray release comes courtesy of up and coming boutique label “Cult Epics,” which has also released Jorg Buttgeriet’s NEKROMANTIK films and is just starting to delve into some of the erotic Tinto Brass stuff. If this release is any indication of the quality we can expect from future releases, then fans of cult cinema are in for a treat, because this presentation of ANGST is flawless. From what I understand, there have been two versions circulating for years. One with a lengthy prologue introduction to our main murderer character, and one that picks up immediately as he’s released from jail. Thankfully both are presented here, but I strongly recommend watching the longer cut with the intro, because it sets up so much pivotal information, as well as the tone for what you’re about to watch.
Basically, when he was a young man, Erwin Leder (credited only as “the psychopath”) randomly killed an old woman and went to jail for the crime. In the prolonged introduction, we get a flash course into his disturbing upbringing and the corrupted childhood that led him to be the way he is now. He’s released from prison at the opening of the film and his first & single thought is to immediately commit murder again. So, we voyeuristically follow along with him as he seeks out victims at a local diner, then attempts to perhaps murder a cab driver, before inevitably fleeing to a house on the countryside where he quietly waits for a family to get home so he can succumb to his desire. What follows is a bizarre and unsettling firsthand depiction of a man attempting to murder a family in their home, only none of it goes as he plans, and the whole clumsiness and awkwardness of it all is felt with every passing, suspenseful moment. We’re forever in the head of “The Psychopath” as he narrates how he’s feeling through out the whole picture, but also, the way it’s shot forces us to be unwilling participants.
It’s an ugly film, in the same way that something like HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is an unpleasant experience, but it’s shot in an almost first person perspective, à la the MANIAC remake, only not specifically from the P.O.V. of the killer. The camera (and in essence, we the audience) are always hovering just above his shoulder, or looking up from a low angle, or floating above it all to see it as an almost out of body experience. Shot by Oscar-winning Polish animator Zbig Rybcynski, it’s really unique and I found myself captivated by the way the camera was moving and forcing us to be a part of the story. The driving score was composed by Klaus Schulze, a member of Tangerine Dream, which contributes greatly to the film’s overall personality. And the performance by Leder is really one of the most daring and vulnerable I’ve ever seen an actor fully embrace. It’s one for the horror history books.
Again, it’s not a pleasant film, or even a rockin’ horror movie you throw on on a Friday night while you’re having beers with your friends, BUT it’s truly an interesting and intriguing “genre” movie and should definitely be seen if you think you’ve seen it all. You can hear us talk more about ANGST on the latest episode of Killer POV, now up on Geeknation, which features very special guest Michael Dougherty and our topic of discussion is myths, urban legends and paranormal experiences! Check it out right here! And follow Cult Epics on their official website and Facebook page!