Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

fredag 9 mars 2018


Directed by: Marian Dora
Written by: Marian Dora
Stars: Carsten Frank, Victor Brandl, Tobias Sickert... read more

Country: Germany
Style: Crime | Drama | Thriller
Runtime: 1h 29min

Für Linda – my “twin” that I’ve never met, but who still has a valuable and irreplaceable place in my everyday life. Vielen Dank.

In the early 2000’s Lions Gate asked German director Ulli Lommel (1944 - 2017) (Tenderness of the Wolves (1973) and The Boogey Man (1980))to make a movie based on the German cannibal case that took place in 2003. Armin Meiwes ate his fellow man Bernd Brandes, whom willingly offered his body – his flesh – to be consumed by the soon to be cannibal. They met on an internet forum called The Cannibal Café where most people only fantasized with each other about what was about to go down in Meiwes house in Rothenburg, Germany.

Lommel, who already had made a bunch of movies based on real life killers and cases, agreed to do the movie. But he wouldn’t do it himself, the subject made him sick to his stomach. He would let his second unit director and executive producer, Marian Dora, make the movie.

To fans of extreme underground cinema Doras name is already familiar and that is probably thanks to movies like the one he was about to make – Cannibal (2006). Dora is perhaps most famous (or maybe infamous) for the nihilistic epic Melancholie der Engel (2009). And its production history actually ties in with Cannibal. Not only was some scenes in Melancholie shot in the same house in which Cannibal takes place, but Dora made Cannibal for Lommel in hopes that Lommel would fund the film Dora really wanted to make – namely Melancholie der Engel, or MdE for short. The problem with the finished product was that Cannibal wasn't what Lommel (and in extension Lions Gate that never even saw the movie) had had in mind.. I don’t know what Doras vision was. But we got a hauntingly beautiful slow paced character piece based on the transcript of the actual tape that Meiwes made during the hours the two men spent together – from “Hello” to “Bon appétit”.

Since Cannibal wasn't the movie Lommel had hoped for (even if he himself called it a masterpiece) he made his own version (for which Dora shot the more brutal scenes for, some scenes even taken from one of his own shorts) by the name Diary of a Cannibal (2007) – a movie that only took inspiration from the Meiwes case and did not follow the true story of the two men. It’s not the worst of Lommels shot on video crime movies, but it pales in comparison to the unforgiving and uncompromising Cannibal.

The interesting part is that Cannibal itself was a low budget shot-on-video production. Shot between May the 1th and May 7th (according to Manoush – the actress that is the voice of “Mother”) and only with Dora as lone crew and shot without sound and dubbed afterwards (as with all Doras features). One of the most breathtaking (for better or for worse) things with Cannibal is its haunting effects, and here it gets really interesting. Dora isn’t keen on effects or rather “fake effects” (that might seem redundant, but trust me) and some of the things we witness just cannot be fake in the way of latex or silicon. It's impossible, and we don’t know what he actually used – or who (he didn’t kill anyone for the film, just to set the record straight with that rumor). But the fat, the skin, the flesh looks incredibly real and it probably is to some extent, but probably not human – but I can’t guarantee it to a hundred percent. It just looks that good.

When The Man, played by Carsten Frank, is disemboweling The Flesh, played by Victor Brandl, and he pulls the intestines out he gags and vomits a couple of times – for real obviously – because they had started to smell pretty bad. And the blood? The blood is real (once again according to Manoush), collected from the people involved in the production, except Manoush. Even she has been asking herself what some of the effects are and that says a lot! According to her the sex in Cannibal is for real and I believe it – the sexual tension is quite thick through the movie and yes, Frank bites down on Brandls penis. Quite hard I might add, even if I think the blood isn’t from a wound on the penis itself.

Marian Dora’s known for killing animals in his movies, using real corpses and pushing his actors beyond the limits of comprehension and safety – breaking new ground with every film. Doras art isn’t for an comfortable audience looking for a quick funny gory fix. His work demands the attention of the viewer. Sometimes you'll flinch or just want to look away - don't! It might be nihilistic and horrific stories and images on display - but they come from reality and reality is brutal, beautiful in its rawness. There's a reason he's anonymous and uses multiple pseudonyms. I'm glad he is because this is one of the directors I really admire of what he does. Most people won't understand that admiration, but some will. I don't want Dora to become a public figure and compromise on his art, it wouldn't be the same and this kind of art is needed – even if some people can’t understand it. The depiction of humanity in some of its worst and most naked states is refreshing. An important look at ourselves as human beings - thinking and feeling creatures that have climbed our way to the top of the food chain, for better or worse.

Finally – would I recommend Cannibal? Yes. Yes I would. But it's not for everyone. But it is an amazing feat of low budget moviemaking. It really shows what you can do with a video camera and two people in a room with just one resourceful man behind the camera.

Of all the movie adaptations of the Meiwes/Brandes case Doras version comes the closest to reality and tries to show these men as whom they were in the most important moments of both of their lives. It feels human, it feels real, and it’s scary for the right reasons. Not because of any typical horror tropes. But because they both were humans with very unusual wishes and they got their wishes granted – something most of us just can dream of having. It’s actually quite romantic in a way. Definitely a better love story than Twilight (2008)…

I’ll leave you with a little fun trivia: In the kitchen when The Man is preparing the meat he’s also working on a skin suit alá Ed Gein. A nice little homage to our favorite momma’s boy that have inspired cinematic villains such as Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's (1974) Leatherface and, of course, Psycho’s (1960) Norman Bates.


Produced by: Marian Dora, Frank Oliver
Cinematography by: Marian Dora
Editing by: Marian Dora
Special Effects by: Marian Dora
Music by: Marian Dora
Language: German
Color: Color

Distributor: Black Lava Entertainment


Writer for Twisted Minds. Indie-filmmaker based in (but not exclusive to) Gothenburg, Sweden. Has been acting since the age of ten and has writing for even longer time. He likes all sorts of movies and are doing his best to find the good parts in the worst ones. Writer of articles and reviews in both English and Swedish. Lover of the indie film-scene where he believe true creativity and freedom happens today - To express the wonderful words of Troma; "Let's make some art!".