Fascinating and thrilling
Sebastian Haselbeck | Germany | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Deathmaker (Der Totmacher) is one of those Films where you can't keep your eyes off the actors. Goetz George's acting is amazing. Especially if you understand German (I am German), this will amaze you.
There is an aspect to this film I can only describe with "stunning". Not many movies capture interrogations this way. It shows you what great an actor George is, and it's a pity that he hasn't made that many fine movies since then, but I'd still count them to the best german actors living today.The Deathmaker is a film you should definitely see. The DVD allows you to switch on the english subtitles, so if you don't understand German you'll at least understand it, but I am sure some of the acting gets lost of course. A good dubbing would've been nice, but still.Highest recommendation"
MOVIE ADAPTED FROM AN ACTUAL POLICE PSYCHIATRIC REPORT
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 12/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is really a pretty interesting film. OK, it not exactly an action thriller, since EVERYTHING is dialogue spoken around a table, in a single room. NOTHING ELSE. (this movie would work beautifully on stage.) I am a little surprised that when the psycho discribes his bizarre crimes, that " visual flashbacks", a common cinematic cliche, were not used in order to give more action to the film, more characters, some shocking images, etc. Instead, we have to employ our own imaginations to visualize the actions that the psycho talks about. The film also focuses on the reactions, and complicated games of mental chess, that the psychiatrist employs, to determine if this man is fit for a criminal trial, or if he is too retarded, and too mentally ill, to be treated as a reasonable, rational adult. The basic plot is this: A man in Berlin's suburbs has been seducing young teenage boys, bringing them to his room, and then after a bit of sex, killing and chowing down his victums. The slow revelation of this behavior moves the film forward. At times the killer is obviously lying, and at other times, giving out truth, as a way of reaching the doctor, reaching out for friendship, and some form of understanding, perhaps even "remission of his sin", like a long confession to a priest. A common theme in much post WWII german cinema, questions if compassion for the most sickening psychopathic behavior is appropiate. Sometimes, the question is subtle or implied. Here, you have a cannible pediphile void of remorse, or compassion. All he has, is his ability to "ACT", to decieve, to lie, in the end. Does the psychatrist, or the viewer, have compassion for this sicko by the end of the film? This is the same director who did THE HIMMLER PROJECT, where top nazis, are portrayed as a norman men, who made horrible, inhumane decisions. I suggest this dicotomy in the human soul, and especially in the German psychie, has captivated this director. Can we have compassion for those, who are unable to feel compassion? The film suggests so. Because sometimes, compassion for these people, can have a (perhaps only temporary) humanizing effect. We see this when the psychiatrist who is interviewing the psychopath, gives him a small present. It touches the serial killers heart. That is a cool moment in the film, well acted. This is an engaging film, if you are interested in excellent ACTING, very extreme behavioral PSYCHOLOGY, and historical CRIMINOLOGY. Its a true story ,and the dialouge mirrors the actual transcripts, of the original interegation from 1924 of Fritz Haarmann, a famous serial killer. I enjoyed the whole film, and have watched it more than once. Tagged onto the DVD, are a couple of small experimental studio films. One of them, shows a bunch of young drunk soldiers beating their heads against walls, to show how macho and beyond human pain these soldiers are. INSTEAD, it shows how thick headed these guys are, tho the guys seem to think they are super-cool, as their foreheads swell up and bleed from the constant banging against hard surfaces. ITs certainly an odd little film experiment, with a cinema verite TRAIN WRECH quality to it, that makes you just stare in dumb amazement. This is almost like those Jackass films, with the self-punishment these soldiers are willing to take. And perhaps that simple statement, is the core of what is obviously a "message" about military culture. In an 8 minute film, the director shows the pathetically adolescent, testosterone basis of most war. The two shorts are interesting, if you want to know. Far more interesting is DEATHMAKER, which won three German film awards in 1996 for its intense depliction of psychopathic behavior, criminology, and the actor portraying FRITZ HAARMANN. Its not a B film, in anyone's book. I can recommend this film without hesitation, if you can accept the minimalist set, verbose script, and lack of multible character deplictions."
Cuts to the bone...without a drop of blood or a blade in sig
Kirk Alex | 06/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gotz George's portrayal as serial slicer Fritz Haarmann just might give you nightmares. Horror fans like to complain about all the re-treads coming out of Hollywood, as well as anything with any originality... Well, here's one that's not a re-tread and is pretty damn original--and all of it done without any gore and/or "visible" mayhem.
The only "drawback," as someone else mentioned, is the fact the entire tale unfolds inside the interrogation room of a bug bin. Yep.
Would have gladly given it five stars--if only, IF ONLY the filmmaker of this otherwise well-made film, had taken his story out of the room for a bit, and I mean anywhere: down to the serial killer's cell, etc., anywhere would have been fine and allowed for a bit of respite--and then returned to the aforementioned room for more grilling.
Alas, that does not happen... (I do understand: the intent was to stay faithful to the actual transcripts and keep the tale within the confines of this one room.)
All in all, quite an accomplishment. As indicated, based on actual interviews with said slice-and-dice gent.
Not kidding about the nightmares, either. View at your own risk."
Fritz Haarmann's story of evil doings
schnecke21 | 01/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing Götz George years ago in a German detective series, the role he plays in this movie shows his talent from a totally different side.
Although I was quite impressed by his portraying of a deranged serial killer, the movie left me yearning for more. I was constantly waiting for the camera to veer off to show some of the gruesome things that Fritz Haarmann had done. Instead, the whole movie plays inside the interview room of the hospital and to be honest, I grew tired of the same setting. Nevertheless, the bottomline is that the two main characters in this movie are portrayed beautifully by the actors.
The DVD also has two short films on it which I found an absolute waste of thirty-odd minutes. They are strange, to say the least."