Angst (1983 film)

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Angst (1983 film).png
Directed by Gerald Kargl
Produced by Gerald Kargl & Josef Reitinger-Laska
Written by Gerald Kargl & Zbigniew Rybczyński
Starring Erwin Leder
Music by Klaus Schulze
Cinematography Zbigniew Rybczyński
Edited by Zbigniew Rybczyński
Running time
75 min (director's cut), 83 min (international version)
Country Austria
Language German

Angst (English: "Fear") is a 1983 Austrian film. Written and directed by Gerald Kargl with cinematography by Academy Award winner Zbigniew Rybczyński, it tells the story of a psychopath recently released from prison and is loosely based on the mass murderer Werner Kniesek. Though little known, the film has been highly acclaimed for its unconventional camera work and intense acting performances, particularly from actor Erwin Leder. The film was banned all over the world for extreme violence in 1983. [1]


An anonymous serial killer gets out of prison and is almost immediately filled with the desire to kill again, to see the fear in the eyes of his victims. He stops by a diner, where he is filled with temptation of violence towards two girls sitting at the counter but can't do anything because the place is crowded. He then tries to kill a woman taxi driver but she notices his intentions too soon and makes him run away in the woods. During his escape, the serial killer finds a empty house and breaks a glass to come inside. In the house there's only a mentally impaired man on a wheelchair who thinks the killer is his father. Soon, the mother and the sister of the man arrive, and the killer is there waiting for them to fulfill his sick murder fantasy. The moment they notice the broken glass, the killer ties the daughter to a door and strangles the mother. He can't kill her right away so he ties her up too, then he drowns the mentally impaired man in the bathtub. When the mother seems to be on the verge of dying, the killer is sent by her daughter to the kitchen to fetch medicines so he can strangle her, but he kills her by putting her on a wheelchair and rolling the wheelchair towards a wall, even though she was probably already dead. Meanwhile, the daughter has ran away, but the killer tracks her down and murders her with a knife. He gets wounded too, and after the girl's death he licks her wounds and drinks her blood while lying on her bloody corpse without his pants on. The day after, the killer wakes up still on her body, covered in blood, and he puts all the corpses in the family's car's trunk. He then cleans himself and changes his clothes, moving and grunting histerically before and during his escape away from the house with the car, keeping the family's dog in the next seat. In his frenzy, the man hits the trunk of another car and there are several witnesses to his angry and crazy reaction. He keeps going on with his escape, putting on gloves while driving to hide the blood under his fingernails. In the car, he finds photographs of the people he killed but doesn't feel any pity. He comes back to the diner planning to kill the two girls, who are still there, the waitress and another client. He is dirty and suspicious so the people from the diner come out to look at him while he feeds the family's dog, and right in that moment the police arrives asking him his registration. He says he doesn't have any, and he feels excited by the dangerous situation. He opens the trunk in front of everybody and is happy that everybody now finds him scary. A voice-over of a medical record says the main issue with the killer is a sadistic tendency he had since he was a child because he never had a stable family, which is something the killer subtly explained during his stream of consciousness in his narration of the events.


Klaus Schulze's soundtrack for the film is perhaps better known than the picture itself. It contains percussive and synth-based music, similar in style to the work of Tangerine Dream, a group of which Schulze was once a member.

See: Angst (soundtrack)

Though she performed no music in the film, cast member Silvia Rabenreither would later found the band Sugarplum Fairies with her husband Benedikt Bohm.


Film director Gaspar Noé has cited Angst as an influence on his filmmaking style. He has been quoted several times talking about the film:

  • "There's another film called "Angst" or "Fear," which in France was called "Schizophrenia," but it was banned theatrically. It's got an X-rating, so it never came out. It could maybe come out today. It's Austrian. One of the masterpieces of the decade. The director never did another movie, though. He had too many debts, so he stopped directing."
  • "There is another movie that really inspired me. An Austrian movie that was never released in the states, called "Angst." It means 'fear' in German. It's the best psycho-killer movie I've ever seen. The two movies I saw most in my life are 2001: A Space Odyssey and Angst. Because it was banned all over Europe, but it came out on VHS in France."
  • "Then there's an Austrian movie, Angst. It's about a man killing a family just in order to go back to prison, where he felt better. It's like a very dark, European version of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but much more baroque in its filming. It was banned all over the world - even in France it was one of the last movies to be X-rated for extreme violence. I think it's going to be rediscovered everywhere in the next few years."

Blu-ray release[edit]

In 2012, Angst was released on Blu-ray in France under the title of Schizophrenia. The Region B disc includes two DTS-HD Master Audio tracks: German and French. However, only French subtitles are available. Cult Epics released an English subtitled version of "Angst" Uncut & Uncensored in theaters April 2015 in USA & Canada, and on Blu-ray & DVD thereafter.

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