(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

(2005) The Call of Cthulhu

I wanted to hate this because just the idea of a silent film being made in 2005 seems ridiculous. I enjoy silent films like Vampyr and Nosferatu genuinely but also out of an appreciation for the level of creativity established within the confines of the time periods technological limitations.

With The Call of Cthulhu, I actually kept forgetting that I was watching a modern silent film. It’s a true homage to that era. The visuals were great, loved the dated animation and set pieces. The acting was on point, you know, over the top expressionism and such.

It’s a simple and brief journey back in time. With that being said, if no one could make another silent film, that would be great.

7/10

(2015) Darling

I’m really starting to enjoy Lauren Ashley Carter, her acting is wonderfully restrained. Unfortunately this film, albeit quite good, felt too much like a Polanski imitation rather than a respectable nod to his style.

The first time you see some of Polanski’s techniques, especially with his innovative sound design, it’s invigorating. The second time you see them, especially from someone other than the man himself, it feels kind of stale.

I can’t praise this movie for its innovation. It really felt like an incredibly well done film school project. Watch Polanski’s Repulsion back to back with this and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

5/10

(2010) Beyond the Black Rainbow

Beyond the Black Rainbow is the most heartbreaking movie not to enjoy because it’s truly stunning visually. Unfortunately the plot is completely nonsensical and dizzyingly confusing.

I recommend checking this one out but maybe mute the volume, smoke as much dope as possible and listen to some doom metal.

4/10

(1979) The Driller Killer

This is ended up being way better than I could have ever expected. At first glance it seems like a typical popcorn slasher indicative of this era but it’s more than that. I wouldn’t even bother reading the premise because I don’t even think it really explains the main motives in this film.

It’s less of a flipped switch that turns on our killers instincts and more of an intense downward spiral. That’s really what separates this from any generic slasher, it’s about the decaying sanity of the protagonist and not about the body count.

There’s some minor bullshit like victims putting up little to no resistance but beyond that, Abel Ferrara crafts an excellent horror film. Even more important, his performance in the movie is commendable

If you’re up for some dirty, violent arthouse horror then definitely give this one a shot. It seems to far okay among horror fans but I believe it’s pretty underrated in general.

7/10

(1995) The Addiction

I always beat my meat for the short and sweet. The Addiction gets straight to the point while delivering a powerful message about addiction.

I’m not sure why film history has glorified New York City as a beacon for crime and sin but it serves as an excellent backdrop for this arthouse style horror. It’s gritty, dirty and coincides with a lot of the darker human aspects that are being exposed.

“To face what we are in the end, we stand before the light and our true nature is revealed. Self-revelation is annihilation of self.”

On it’s surface, this is an excellent vampire film. It’s not a bloodbath per say but every scene of violence pops well. Lot of themes come with a movie about addiction of course. Addictions are really only ever overcome by redemption and sacrifice. the main character Kathleen has to come to some pretty fate affirming revelations to be able to be at peace.

This is an excellent film. It borders on pretentious occasionally but I believe all the grandiose points being made, end up being validated.

8.5/10

(2015) Evolution

I was too tired to write up this review last night, partially because I didn’t want to rave about it and come off as pretentious. To me, it’s a really effective arthouse horror that’s more visually driven then story driven.

Well Ben, why not both? That’s a good question and I respect the people that can’t appreciate the vagueness of this. So there’s the main complaint, if you watched this and didn’t think it made any sense, you’re not alone. I don’t personally share in that sentiment but these type of films, being arthouse style, tend to either work for someone or not.

Whether you like or dislike the film, it’s absolutely gorgeous. The cinematography is masterful and that alone makes this worth a watch.

I’m not sure what else to say, I really love this movie and maybe you will to.

8.5/10