ANGST (Fear)

Year Original Format Country Producer/Director Genre Length
1983 35mm color Austria Gerald Kargl Feature Horror 91 min.


A man is released from prison after serving four years for murdering an elderly woman. He quickly begins to feel the compulsion to kill again. After failing to murder a cab driver, he flees and discovers a secluded rural home, where a young woman lives with her sick mother and retarded brother. He then begins to take out his sadistic pleasures on them, attempting to hold them hostage, while thinking of his troubled childhood with his abusive mother and grandmother...

- Summary written by Brian Patrick


" (...) Kargl's genius here is to show everything in real time, with numerous close-ups and diegetic sound. Viewers get to experience none of the pleasure (whether guilty or gleefully acknowledged) that comes from watching stylized, aestheticized killing—replete with slow-motion camerawork, overlapping edits and a meticulously composed mise-en-scene. Instead, writer-cinematographer Zbigniew Rybczynski alternates close-up point-of-view shots of the victim and her attacker and some canted overhead shots besides, constantly altering our relationship to the action."

(...) What makes Angst so interesting, even important—and what those viewers hoping for the Austrian equivalent of Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal are bound to miss—is the fact that the film's numerous "failures" are precisely what constitutes its success. Not only the failures of the killer, whose grand scheme amounts to nothing more than three chaotic and wholly undignified murders. So too the failures of the director, who satisfies none of the genre's conventions, and who eschews the popular tradition of romanticizing the serial killer, of turning him into a sort of neo-Gothic anti-hero.

(...) Even more than Michael Rooker's Henry (modeled on prolific US multiple murderer Henry Lee Lucas)—a character described by at least one commentator as a "Marlon Brando/James Dean angry young rebel, complete with pout, mumbles, short curly hair, square jaw, and white T-shirt" Rudolf Götz's Werner Kniesek-inspired sociopath comes frighteningly close to providing us with a true "portrait" of a serial killer. And if we find that portrait less than appealing, and Angst that much more difficult to take because of it, this only speaks to the film's haunting power and strikingly original construction."

- from "A different kind of killer" by Steven Jay Schneider

More about the movie:

IMDb link

An interview with director G.Kargl

Erwin Leder as a serial killer Werner Kniesek

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