Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Cult Epics - ANGST on Blu-ray ""

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cult Epics - ANGST on Blu-ray

ANGST (1983; Gerald Kargl)
This was a movie that I had been hearing about for years now. It showed up on some of the underrated horror lists that I've run here at Rupert Pupkin Speaks and it certainly intrigued me. The fact that filmmaker Gasper Noe is a fan of it intrigued me as well. Right out of the gate, the stylish way that the movie was put together got my attention. There were low angle tracking shots, overhead shots and where the camera itself is harnessed to the main actor. If you've ever seen the opening of John Frankeneheimer's movie SECONDS or Aronofsky's PI you'd perhaps recognize the harness stuff. It's that look you get when you put the camera on some kind of rig and attach it to the actor you're filming. It gives that delightfully shaky POV type shot where you're about a foot or so away from the actor. Very effective and very cool. This unique visual approach immediately puts the viewer off balance and almost simulates what it must be like ti inhabit the mind of a lunatic. The filmmakers used mirrors and several interesting contraptions to capture the odd angles and frenetic chaos that is ANGST. The harness rig is particularly effective in that it allows the camera to swivel (with some unseen assistance from the DP) around the actor as they move, giving a crazy 360 degree perspective at times.
Apparently this movie is based very loosely on a real event that is highly disturbing enough but to see it depicted in this raw and manic way makes it all the more powerful as a portrait of insanity. Actor Erwin Leder (who has a naturally frightening face) plays the psychpath who, upon his release from prison goes right down the block and breaks into a house and begins to terrorize its occupants. The home is inhabited by a wheelchair-bound man, a younger woman and her elderly mother. He dashes about the residence, dealing with each of them one at at time. First he attempts to immobilize them and soon he does worse. In one unforgettable scene, he tackles the older woman and strangles her. The way that this goes down is so awkward and unsettling and when he finally sets her nearly unconscious body down in a wheelchair, both are exhausted and shaken (as is the viewer).
The camerawork and the the performances (especially by Leder) are really the highlights of this movie, which to me is the more chilling entries in the home invasion genre. It really is a stunning cinematic achievement and as tough as it is to watch at time, you get the sense that it is an important movie while you are watching it. Watching it for the first time, I as reminded of how I felt when I saw Raimi's EVIL DEAD as a high schooler. It leaves an indelible impression. Hats off to Cult Epics for bringing this film out in the U.S. as it is deserving of more attention. Genre fans should really seek it ou
t. 

Special Features:
Cult Epics has gone all out with an excellent batch of supplements here. Beyond the newew High-definition Transfer, they've also included:
-An Audio Commentary with Director Gerald Kargl conducted by film critic Marcus Stiglegger
-Optional playback with or without Prologue.
-An Introduction by director Gaspar NoƩ (2012).
-Featurette: Erwin Leder in Fear (2015)
-Interview with Gerald Kargl by Jorg Buttgeriet (2003)
-Interview with cinematographer Zbigniew Rybzcynski (2004). This interview is neat in that Rybzcynski goes into detail about the fantastic techniques that they used to give the movie it's remarkably stylish yet unbalanced atmosphere. He even has diagrams of the rigs they used and such:

Also as a Blu-ray Exclusive there is a bound 40 page booklet includes Interviews with Gerald Kargl, Erwin Leder, Silvia Rabenreither, with Essay by Carl Andersen, Illustrated with rare photos and Werner Kniesek original Kurier articles. 

ANGST can be purchased on Blu-ray here:

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