Film Review: Melancholie der Engel (2009)

Up until a month ago Melancholie der Engel was the most fucked up movie I had never seen. So many horror fans often find themselves asking the question, What is the most disturbing film of all time? Many of these fans find their answer to that question in this very film. Among other regulars on peoples’ lists are A Serbian Film, Mordum, Salo, Martyrs, and even Slow Torture Puke Chamber.

Now that I have finally seen this film, I can see where many of the other films on the list have taken taken influence. Salo, of course, is much older, taking influence from an era of exploitation cinema. This film, however, could be responsible for our most modern era of exploitation in the genre of Extreme Horror. If you havent seen Melancholie yet, you will know what I’m talking about soon enough. This film may have borrowed from Neromantik and Ilsa; but, it directly influenced everything that we categorize as extreme today.

In watching this film, I saw the works of Lucifer Valentine, Fred Vogel, Kasper Juhl, Dustin Mills, James Bell, and all of the other names associated with modern underground horror. It focuses on an epic journey through the underbelly of society. The protagonists walk the viewer through drugs, sex, violence, and death…sometimes all at the same time. If you haven’t seen it already, this cinematic journey will surely become one of the darkest and most horrific ventures in your viewing history. It is a film that you will remember for a lifetime. I think it has easily become the most disturbing film I have ever seen. We often give tons of credit to the establishment of underground extreme cinema to The August Underground Trilogy. Marian Dora’s film, however, came out in 2009. This obviously cements it in modern extreme horror history, responsible for bringing much of the European sickness to the states, surely influencing all of the previously mentioned underground icons.

On top of all of the praise, there was still one issue I had with this movie. I believe that many of the most extreme films today stay around the seventy minute mark due to the fact that fans may not be able to stomach an extended marathon of twisted cinema. This film, however, is two and half hours long! This alone, makes it incredibly difficult to sit through. It has so many long unsettling sequences that it is hard to tell if Dora is purposely messing with his viewers. Its documentary-esque feel makes you wonder if it’s too long, or too real. Either way, it will take much longer to remove the vomit, decay, and sexual depravity from your mind than the two and half hours you spent watching it.

On a side note, for the readers that already know about this film, there is a documentary about the making of the film that was just recently released. It explained the borderline illegal nature of the filming of this movie. It sheds a little light on why this movie feels so dirty. It is also memorable in the most disgusting of ways. It explains how Melancholie became the darkest thing ever put on film. So whether you are here for the film, the documentary, or both, I challenge you to watch them both. I especially challenge you to sit through the feature in one sitting. Only then you will know if you are extreme enough to add such a piece of horrific art to your collection.

Author: Steven Paul

Born and raised in Michigan, slowly dying in Florida. I’m here to keep you informed about everything in the world of indie horror. I also specialize in all genres of exploitation, cult, and extreme cinema. As part owner and Editor of Film and Television for Beneath the Underground, it is my responsibility to provide vast amounts of information for the horror fan and an outlet for the filmmaker.

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