It’s not hard to find banned horror films of the past. Many people around the world apparently had a stick up their ass when it came to the genre. When I look at the past and the list of films that were seen as controversial, it’s amazing the genre of horror continued to thrive within a small minded society. Strangely though, horror is also be a genre where it’s socially acceptable to discuss the obscene. A horror movie is far more profitable than a dark comedy or drama.
After watching Angst and looking back on the year it was released, I guess it’s easy to see why it was banned. Angst was released in 1983 when the slasher genre was still in its infancy and not the over the top lucrative cash cow it was at the end of the decade. I don’t’ really consider Angst a slasher but I would assume the average moviegoer at the time would easily label a horror film where the main character is the killer and multiple victims are slain a slasher.
The body count really has to be higher than three for true fans of the genre to consider it a slasher but keep in mind you need to kill only three to be considered a serial killer.
For most nowadays it would probably be hard to watch Angst and see what made this film so controversial and banned but keep in mind this film came out a year before A Nightmare On Elm Street, which means this film came out five years before child molester Freddy Krueger was turned into a comedic serial killer who had his on television show and hotline number.
Angst isn’t a slasher or extreme horror but a well done character study on the psychopath. Throughout the movie we listen to narration where the unnamed psychopath goes through why he does what he does. I assume author and cinefile saw this film before writing American Psycho since Patrick Bateman’s narcissistic ranting is very similar to the killer in Angst.
For serious horror fans, the influence of this film is easy to notice. Angst came out three years before Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and features much of the same theme and plot, although Henry by far is more of a brutal mental mindfuck. Some might ask why these two films have been more controversial than any of the Friday The 13th films. The easy explanation is that mindless slasher films not only have a sense of fantasy due to their immortal villains but oddly a sense of morality. If you think about the most generic slasher films the victims are typically asshole teenagers.
Henry and Angst aren’t morality films. The main characters are based on psychopaths who sliced and diced in real life. We know nothing about the victims and their misdeeds of the past. All we know about are the bloodthirsty psychopaths who want nothing more in this world than to see these people they know nothing about dead. The main character of Angst isn’t some immortal boogieman rising from his grave, he’s a human being whose hobby happens to be killing people and dictating their final breaths.
Besides being a seed that led to Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and American Psycho, I also believe there are aspects of Angst that were very influential to the film Funny Games. Like Angst, Funny Games is an Austrian psychological horror film that was seen as controversial. Funny Games is known for being an intelligent parody of the American slasher genre and whether or not he was aware of what he was doing or if this was his subconscious, I feel like the director of Angst, Gerald Kargl also played upon the audience’s thirst for blood and a massive pile up.
The film begins with the main character going into a restaurant and eyeing two beautiful girls, drooling over how great it would be to end their lives. Later on in the film he returns to this same restaurant, eyes the women once more but never is able to do as he pleases with them. After the first time he enters the restaurant, the main character is picked up in a taxi by a female driver and as he sits in the back is undoing a shoe lace in order to strangle her. Instead of killing her, he panics and runs out of the taxi. I feel like both of these moments are meant to tense up the blood thirsty viewer and perhaps make them feel anger like a Roman watching over a gladiator spectacle not seeing the participant being feasted upon by tigers.
Like Christmas Evil, Angst has been poorly marketed by those who don’t understand what psychological horror. While Christmas Evil has been marketed as yet another holiday slasher like Black Christmas and Silent Night Deadly Night, Angst is seen as just another extreme horror film due to its controversy and being banned in multiple countries. Because of this, Angst is likely to be dropped into the same group as Cannibal Holocaust, which in my personal opinion might be one of the poorly made films of all time and a bigger waste of film than just tossing it into a bonfire.
The result of idiots attempting to market a film above their intelligence.
Angst is not only a classic psychological horror film on the level of Psycho and Peeping Tom but a film that takes the psychological horror torch these films carried and went on, passing it along to future filmmakers of the genre. Its controversy in a way helps this film live on outside of Austria, but if only interested in a mindless bloodbath that can only be appreciated by those with the similar mindset of an edgy teen that pats themselves on the back for watching Human Centipede of A Serbian Film, you’ll be disappointed.
If you’re looking for an essential film of the genre, give Angst a view.