(1990) Der Todeskin: The Death King

While often wavering between the blunt, literal message and depressive expressionism, Der Todesking manages to feel all too real. It’s one of the best arthouse style horror films I’ve seen to date.

Jörg Buttgereit is definitely a director that doesn’t hold back visually. If you’ve seen his more well known film Nekromantik, you can expect some of that visual style in this film as well. It definitely feels more in place in the confines of this films topics.

Dealing with depression and death are almost always messages that will be received more intensely by those directly affected by it. I’ve personally dealt with anxiety and depression all my life and the overarching theme of just rotting hits close to home. It’s definitely comforting to feel that connection to, well, people in general who understand but also specifically filmmakers who are opening up these outlets for us. Seeing a film like this definitely doesn’t make life worse for me, I’m happy to really kind of remind myself that our individual conditions are really just shitty human conditions that anyone could wind up with. 

The soundtrack is also wonderful. It’s simple but beautiful. I’m really blown away that the same filmmaker who did Nekromantik, did this. I felt like that one was really over exploitive and ultra-graphic for shock purposes. I’m happy he was able to reel it in and find something meaningful to build around.

9/10

(1989) Santa Sangre

This is definitely one of those films that will stick with me for a while, despite how many movies I watch on a weekly basis. It successfully pulls off a not so easy surrealist horror tale that’s balanced perfectly with a decent level of dark humor.

I should mention that in regards to some controversial but coveted surrealist films, this one does indeed, have a plot. The first 30 minutes or so are rightfully bewildering but it does start to come together after that. The content without a clear narrative can seem super r4nd0m so that initial period might lose some people.

Easily the most impressive aspect of this film is the ventriloquism inspired acting. It starts out as a goofy aspect of the plot, something that doesn’t really necessarily grab you. However, by the end of the film, it’s molded into this beautiful, creepy display of possession.

Highly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, stick with it and it pays off.

8.5/10

(2014) Dark Was the Night

Another annoying shitty grey/blue filter that I’m not going to rant about because regular readers know how much I hate it. It’s there though and it’s shitty.

The film as a whole is I guess, upon conclusion, not as terrible as it builds itself up to be. The on screen relationships are all incredibly shallow and cliche. The dialogue is annoying and the acting is pretty shitty to boot. It’s also pretty fucking boring which is an easy blanket complaint.

The conclusion however, was actually pretty exciting. I realized that the director did a fine job not revealing too much of our monster and despite my frustration, I did admittedly just want to get a good look at the cocksucker. The monsters depiction through the film is a mix of practical and CGI effects. The practical effects are pretty dope and the CGI ones are low-budget shit.

I don’t know, it’s on Netflix. It’s not a garbage fire or anything but I don’t see a reason to watch it unless you’re incredibly bored, very run of the mill horror.

5/10

(1933) King Kong

This film is a complete journey and a fantastic feat of filmmaking. I’m not one to jerk an old film off for nothing and this one does have its faults which I’ll mention. As a whole though, it’s marvelous.

Let’s get the bad out of the way and then we’ll rehash compliments that a million people have given this over time. King kong himself, while looking okay in certain moments, is dated and goofy as fuck. He looks legitimately retarded. It really doesn’t take away from the movie a ton but I’m just surprised they managed to do such a fantastic job with the other creatures. The one that comes to mind is the lockness monster looking cocksucker. I mean, the mist and all that shit, it worked out to be a great series of shots.

If you’re critiquing how the film looks though it’s mostly going to be filled with praise. Sure, it does cut between claymation, miniature set pieces and old school effects constantly. The thing is, it’s just so immersive and impressive that all I could think about was how much work went into creating this world.

It’s a great film, it really gives perspective to Peter Jackson’s version and while I found the latest Kong iteration to stray from the pack, that was great too. By great, I mean John C. Reilly is hilarious and makes the film.

All in all, don’t shit on any Kong movies until you watch the original. It’s 1933, a lot of my technical criticisms really pale in comparison to everything this film does right.

7/10

(2017) Clinical

I was totally surprised by this one and it’s 100% being slept on. Netflix always comes through with solid production, whether or not the story itself is hit or miss.

Given the psychiatrist plot and the placing in the horror category, I think anyone who’s seen enough movies will assume the same predictability I did. The story however, is original and engaging throughout. I haven’t been this enthralled by a slow burn horror in a while. It managed to trick me at multiple points and that brief comfortability with suspicious characters is admirable.

The opening scene is definitely something to note and its intensity really sets the tone for the rest of the film. I felt constantly on edge, just waiting for that big twist.

My only complaint and this is a very small one, is the slight unmatched skin tones of the make up prosthetics. It wouldn’t even be something most people notice but it was consistent enough to mention. The special makeup effects are limited in use and something the filmmakers should have been able to manage.

With all that being said, I won’t ruin anything but this film is very high quality horror. It’s a dark, deceptive story about loss and abuse.

7.5/10

(1967) Viy

This, as far as I know, is the first and possibly only Soviet Union horror film! How fucking cool is that? Well saddle up boys, because it gets even cooler. *grabs a jacket* The movie itself is so goddamn cool.

Usually with older films I enjoy working out how certain effects were done but there were a few here that puzzled me. For the resources they had, everything looks amazing. It’s an incredibly fluid experience that takes zero time before jumping straight into the scares.

The acting is also surprisingly fluid and expressive which to me, isn’t always the case for 1960’s horror films in general. Our main character is nervous but not on a comically cautious level which really brings life to what is essentially a great haunted house movie.

The film is on the shorter side and definitely speaks for itself better than I can. This is another one to add to the horror movie fan handbook, it shouldn’t be missed.

8/10