Today, we go back to the very heart of what this blog is about: extreme cinema! And what I have found for you, today, dear readers, is something so repellant, so mentally-scarring, so utterly brutal, this will push you well-and-truly over the edge, once-and-for-all!
There's a new, ultra-sickening piece of cinema currently being promoted and touted across various horror film sites and blogs right now, that will be of interest to many of my readers. Marian Dora's latest arthouse shocker MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL, or THE ANGEL'S MELANCHOLY is absolutely not for the easily-offended, and that is why I'm mentioning it here. (Dora's previous work was CANNIBAL from 2006.)
Considering all of the shocking films that have been released in the past few years, from A SERBIAN FILM, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE, to a revised edit of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, via SNUFF 102, PHILOSOPHY OF A KNIFE, and the likes of SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS, MORDUM and many others, you wouldn't think there'd be many taboos left to break, or many more forms of extreme cinema left to depict.
Well, Dora has proved there is!
MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL was filmed in 2009, and released a year later. With a running time of 159 minutes, this is not going to be a short-and-sweet viewing. The fact that the only official releases, are from Germany and Austria, from "Shock DVD", and said releases not being English friendly, this is definitely not a film for many. (Both releases have the film in its original, native German language only, and no other audio/subtitle options, so purchasers be aware of this.)
In fact, I would probably safely argue that straight away, this is not going to be a film many will even contemplate at all, because of the afore-mentioned issues, let alone the graphic and unrelentingly repellant content that the film details and revels in.
At the minute, you can still import the film from Amazon Germany at this link here At about 19 Euros, (equivalent to approximately $25 US dollars, or £16 Pounds Sterling), it's not cheap by any means, and then you also have the additional cost of postage to your country on top, and you soon start to realise the odds are stacked against this film right from the get-go. I should also warn my readers, that some people have had their orders cancelled by Amazon Germany, as - technically - the film isn't meant to be sold out of its native country. The reason being, that the film is considered an extreme film, and with it not being officially classified by the German FSK Censor Board, Amazon have chosen to not allow some orders to non-German countries to pass through their system. Whilst your order may go through initially, and even get to the "Despatching" stage, you may still get an e-mail later on, saying that your order cannot be fulfilled, even though Amazon has copies available for purchase. If your order fails, you will have to either try again and cross your fingers it makes it through, or try having the film sent to an alternative address in another country, via friends, family or relatives - though you do this last option at your own risk. If this gets stopped at your local Customs department, and they take one viewing of it, you're going to need a strong legal defence team at the ready!
However, this is a trial-and-error scenario. I placed an order, and although it was in the "Despatching" stage for a couple of days, it did eventually get sent out to me, and arrived a couple of days later at my home address, unhindered by Customs.
But other purchasers have reported problems, so just be aware. Also, the film comes with an official, red, FSK 18 sticker attached to it. It's bogus! The film is absolutely NOT FSK-approved, and to be frank, would be banned or heavily cut in most countries around the globe, especially in Germany! Considering the FSK board doesn't really like mainstream horror films at the best of times, they'd balk at this one being approved for classification! And once I explain why, you'll soon understand what you're getting yourself into.
The DVD comes with four artcard postcards, housed inside a standard Amaray DVD case, which is housed inside a cosy cardboard sleeve. There are three short-films as extras, ranging from five minutes to half-an-hour in length, but they too, are in German only, or in some cases, dialogue-free and still as confusing and twisted as the main feature.
If, after all of the above, you are still wanting to get a copy of this film, or are contemplating purchasing it, hang-tight for one more moment. Read the rest of this blog post, before clicking on that Purchase button!
If you've got this far, and are still itching to get your hands on this grubby and repugnant little flick, you really do need to prepare yourself. Firstly, the film is not a true narrative film. That is, to say, the plot doesn't have a regular linear structure, like most ordinary films do. It's distinctly arthouse shocker: clever, pretentious, shocking photography first, narrative and plot, a distinct second. So trying to even describe this film to you, is going to be tough. I don't speak or read German, so I am using my own viewpoint and those of others I have read or spoken with, to form an approximate description. As such, my description of what I think happens, may not be wholly accurate. I apologise for this, and hope you will forgive me.
Essentially, the film appears to be about a couple of men, who kidnap a couple of women and another man, take them all to a forest, and then indulge themselves in a drugs and sex-fuelled orgy! The film then follows the two kidnappers as they play with, torture and then debase, mutilate and murder the victims!
That's roughly the plot.
Unfortunately, the film is dialogue-heavy. Some of it is muffled, some of it is unclear. All of it, however, is in German, in heavy accents, and to non-German viewers, it's going to be meaningless. Thus trying to work out what the hell is going-on, whilst they spout some pseduo cod-psychology mumbo-jumbo is going to grate heavily on your nerves. The dialogue may well explain the plot in great detail. It may in fact add a lot to your "enjoyment" and "understanding" of the film, but like I say, I don't understand German, so have to take the film at face-value - which is never the best way to experience a film. Moreso a film that entices viewers with some pretty far-out and fucked-up imagery, as this one does!
If this sounds like your kind of film, there's one more thing I need to discuss: the sick-factor!
This may well be the sickest, nastiest, most foul celluloid creation in cinema history! If you think you've seen it all, you probably haven't! Not by a long shot! Maybe if you've sat through every single piece of extreme cinema ever created, then perhaps this will not be remotely new to you. For the rest of us, I guarantee there will be something in this film to offend and upset you, without hesitation! In fact, some people have switched it off in disgust!
I cannot stress this enough! This film is utterly brutal, and depressing, and bleak, and nihilistic, and grubby! You may choose to watch this film in parts, of say, 30-45 minutes each. Watching the whole thing in one go, is likely to get to you, in a way that many other extreme cinema films don't. And as silly as it sounds, don't watch this before bedtime! You. Will. Regret. It.
The first troubling issue with this film's content, is the animal cruelty. Right from the outset, Dora includes sceens of live worms and maggots being cut into pieces; of roadkill being splattered everywhere; and to a very unpleasant scene involving the killing of cat, with its throat being sliced wide open! What worries me, is that the animal cruelty looks real. I hope to God it's been staged and is wholly fake, but I can't guarantee that. Worse still, Dora has gone on record saying that the animal killings were real, and that he enjoyed seeing them killed (and didn't have a problem with killing animals for entertainment purposes), and he's also gone on record vehemently denying the animal cruelty as being anything other than clever special effects.
I couldn't tell.
The cruelty all looked real. It all sounded real. It all felt real.
The second troubling issue, is the rest of the film's extreme nature. There's graphic and explicit sexual scenes, that are nothing short of pornographic in detail. I'm talking shots of male and female ejaculation; urination onto other people's bodies - both living and dead; defecation - again, onto living and dead bodies; the consumption of urine and excretia; a man fingering a woman's colostomy hole; sexual desecration of burning corpses, the consumption of semen and then vomiting it back up; intimate relations with a goat. Pretty much every extreme thing that can be done, you see it here!
The violent content is no less stomach-churning: masturbating nuns; sex with a burning corpse; snuff videos featuring women aborting their babies, and then doing horrendous things to the fetuses; entrails being removed from stomachs and played with; a woman has her ovaries removed; masturbation over snuff footage!
Now, I don't write this to excite or entice you to view this film, though I know some of you will use this movie as an endurance test: "Can I sit through it?" "Do I have a strong-enough stomach?" "Will the film really be as sick and depraved as the author claims?" Well, you may well make it through all 159 minutes. Then again, you may not. And if you don't, I wouldn't hold it against you. Quite simply, it's a litany of depravity, so if anyone can sit through it all - in one go, or in sections - then, I think that's pretty impressive by any standards! Just be warned of what you are letting yourself in for!
Is the film any good, though, I hear you ask? There's no easy answer. Some people have loved this film, because it is so debased and sickening. Others have admired what Dora was doing. I admire the work, in many ways. Some of the imagery is hauntingly beautiful. There is beauty to view, within the film. But, by God, the violence and the sexual stuff is unrelentingly cruel and vicious. This is not a film I would watch regularly, by any means. I may watch it once in a blue-moon, if that. It is that affecting, and troubling, I'm not sure I could handle watching it again, even for reviewing purposes.
Dora has some talent. He also has some balls! To pull this film off, get people involved, and get it financed, made, completed and ready for distribution, takes a gigantic set of cajones. But is it all worth it? In parts, yes. For the rest, no. If you want a film that tears you up and scatters you all over, then watch this, as you'll be feeling suicidal for the rest of the week. The shots and imagery will scar themselves into your brain, and you won't be able to forget what you've seen. Even if you want to forget them, you won't be able too!
And to be honest, you will want to forget some of what you've seen. There will be parts of you, begging to wipe away some of Dora's grotesquerie out of your soul forever, to be banished into some dark confine of your brain, where it needs to be locked-up tight, never to be accessed again! But it will linger in you, for a very, very long time after. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dora has succeeded in producing a film, that I don't think can be topped. Do I want a film to top this, however? No, absolutely not! I think I've reached my limits! Short of watching a mix of real snuff film, complete and unedited animal slaughterhouse footage, or child porn, I don't think I can be scared or challenged any further!
This is it, folks! This is the the one that really does go too far! Watch it at your peril! Just have something or someone else close by to reassure you afterwards, because this is akin to bathing your brain in hydrochloric acid! And it isn't fun, and it isn't pleasant! On the DVD cover, it cries out: "The most controversial film ever!" Dora was NOT joking!
Sweet dreams, everyone! You're going to need them!
ADDENDUM: Thank You to Dave at the Melon-Farmers website for linking this article on their excellent website! Much appreciated!