31 Days of Horror: ‘Angst’ demonstrates why cinematic killers have personas

- Advertisement -



Angst (Fear)
Written by Gerald Kargl and Zbigniew Rybczynski
Directed by Gerald Kargl
Austria, 1983

When it comes to cinematic portraits of killers, there is a tendency towards the mythic. Because, as a society, we like to keep a safe distance from those who consciously choose to kill others (whether for visceral enjoyment or personal gain), and the process of mythmaking buttresses that distance, making it clear that these people are not only not like us, but they probably couldn’t have existed in the first place. Give them a mask. Give them supernatural abilities. Give them immortality; it’s all ultimately part of the same process of distanciation.

There is no such process afoot in Angst, an Austrian chiller that strips the slasher film of any mythic barriers, but unfortunately robs it of its ability to evoke anything beyond base disgustin the process. Filmed in a style that oscillates between highly subjective and practically omniscient, Angst is narrated by the man who occupies some portion of nearly every frame, named only “The Psychopath,” played by Erwin Leder. When the film opens, on a spooky crane shot that foreshadows muuch of the film’s shooting style, The Psychopath has just been released from prison, where he served a 10-year term for slaughtering a 70-year-old woman. (Previous to that, he made an attempt on his own mother’s life.) Once free, he immediately sets about killing anew, only he is a stickler about the conditions. Eventually, he settles on a household containing a near-catatonic man, an elderly woman, her daughter, and a dog who doesn’t seem to comprehend the weight of what he’s due to witness.


Angst illustrates why slasher archetypes exist, beyond the issue of distanciation: real-life killers tend towards the cinematically dull. Angst employs the real-life testimony of a murderer in its voice-over naration (which constitutes almost all of the film’s spoken dialogue), but the sad reality is that, onscreen, The Psychopath’s motives are unfortunately pedestrian. A grim childhood, a secual excitement from the misery and shock of others. For all of its virtuosic camerawork, Angst proffers the psychological depth of the average episode of CSI: Miami.

That’s doubly unfortunate since Angst seems to predict a dozen forthcoming trends in horror filmmaking. Its single-minded subjectivity and depraved psychological landscape share a clear connection with Gaspar Noé’s I Stand Alone. Its subject-dependent camerawork feels plainly ahead of its time, with its fixed-camera perspectives still a visual staple of any contemporary filmmaker attempting to conjure “intensity” (not to mention the TV series Breaking Bad). Unfortunately, the film’s forward-thinking aesthetic devices can’t make up for the stulifying psychological profile of its killer; it’s not enough to smear our faces in the dirt – as the early works of Wes Craven and George Romero tell us, horror filmmaking is at its apex when it turns on its audience to reveal hidden uglinesses.

Simon Howell






10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
Business man watching business go bankrupt
25 Iconic Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy
A Saxophonist with a Saxophone in His Hands
12 Different Types of Saxophones
genre titles mash up
The 13 Types of Movies You Can Choose From (Genres)
Crowd enjoying a concert
19 Types of Entertainment – What Do You Like Doing?
Jennifer Lopez Wearing a Black Dress
25 Celebrities Who Don’t Age – What’s Their Secret?
29 Different Types of Food
Zucchini on a Cutting Board
14 Different Types of Zucchini for All Kinds of Dishes
different ice cream
12 Types of Ice Cream (All Forms, Shapes and Options with Examples)
Powdered Sugar in a Bowl and Scoop
10 Different Types of Sugar – I Bet You Don’t Know Them All
Several semi trucks on the highway
19 Different Types of Trucks – Do You Know Them All?
Airplane soaring through the air
19 Different Types of Airplanes that Dominate the Skies
Cars lined up on the road
26 Types of Cars You Can Choose From for Your Ride
Man Riding Bicycle
11 Types of Bicycles – Do You Know Them All?
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
Baseball player hitting ball
10 Types of Baseball Bats that Rip the Leather Off the Ball
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Photography and Camera Stores
>