• Unrated, 1 hr. 30 min.
  • Drama, Horror, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Juraj Herz
    In Theaters:
    Jan 1, 1969 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 31, 2009
  • Criterion Collection

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Spalovac Mrtvol (The Cremator) Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

March 5, 2012
Good manners, tidiness, or healthy abstinence are perfect, at first, to conceal a growing psychopathy. From Kafka's land comes this bizarre and engaging study of man obsessed with death, mainly because he works as a funeral director and passionately reads the tibetan book of the dead. With all that strange things rambling in his mind, the rise of nazism presents itself as the perfect oportunity for him to unleash his fantasies. The most attractive element of the picture is the mise en scene, the constant use of deep focus, hand held camera and dutch tilt succesfully materializes an unnerving and nightmarish atmosphere reminiscent of Welles' The Trial or Bergman's Hour of the wolf.
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2009
A Czechoslovakian funeral director, obsessed with cremation, adopts a warped sense of purpose when his German ancestry becomes a topic of interest in his community. Director Juraj Herz manages to take his main character from "merely distasteful" to "completely repulsive" in the span of 95 minutes, completing an arc that is as riveting as it is macabre. A dark and distinctly unnerving film.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2013
A bleak Czechoslovakian drama, The Cremator is atmospheric and creepy, although it seems like a stretch to call it a horror film. It's about Karl Kopfrkingl (good luck pronouncing that), a death-obsessed sociopath who cremates dead bodies for a living in 1930s Czechoslovakia, just as the Nazis begin to take over the country. After a Nazi convinces Kopfrkingl that he is German and it's his duty to aid in "purifying" Czechoslovakia, Kopfrkingl takes the Nazi philosophy as his own and becomes increasingly delusional as he inches towards the edge of sanity. Its eerie atmosphere stems largely from the lead actor's performance (which I'm omitting because I can only spell so many Czech names in one paragraph) and the very unique cinematography full of close-up shots and quick cuts. The camera work lets you into the mind of the very impressionable and unstable protagonist, and it definitely makes the entire movie much more entertaining. That said, the movie is more or less a drama up until the last twenty or thirty minutes, so those expecting a scary movie in the traditional sense are in for a let down. Still, it's a strange and interesting foreign movie with a hefty amount of commentary on Nazism (if you're into that sort of thing) and the fantastic cinematography and acting make it well-made, if not entirely engaging all the time.
Marion R

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2009
This movie is fucked up. Getting in to the film was difficult for me, because I had no idea where the film was going, but it just turns into something great. The excuses the cremator uses to justify what he is doing is chilling and it was an intensely, neat watch.
August 3, 2010
While a little difficult to get into at first, The Cremator is really a standout film. Amazing actors (how easy it is to hate the 'protagonist'), cinematography, editing and story culminate into a frighteningly realistic portrayal of a madman.
February 20, 2007
A blend of horror and political allegory, with plenty of black humor. Rudolf Hrusínský gives a fantastic performance playing the demented lead role. Everything in the film is filtered through him, and the use of fish eye lens, close-up POV montages, and these weird invisible cut (where a new scene begins with what appears to be a close up of the previous scene, and zooms out to reveal the new scene) all characterizes his his twisted perspective. The film draw a connection between cremation/death and the Nazi racial cleansing. It's interesting how Herz makes the lead into a Tibet/Dali Lama nutcase, since the Nazis perverted (or were inspired by?) the Buddhist swastika.
July 23, 2014
Totally creeped out! Hours later I still can't get Rudolf Hrusínský image out of my head!
May 1, 2014
As good as anything you would expect from Vera Chytilova or Jan Svankmajer. I mean, Criterion would have included this one as a part of the 'pearls of czech new wave' box set. Truly amazing.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2013
A bleak Czechoslovakian drama, The Cremator is atmospheric and creepy, although it seems like a stretch to call it a horror film. It's about Karl Kopfrkingl (good luck pronouncing that), a death-obsessed sociopath who cremates dead bodies for a living in 1930s Czechoslovakia, just as the Nazis begin to take over the country. After a Nazi convinces Kopfrkingl that he is German and it's his duty to aid in "purifying" Czechoslovakia, Kopfrkingl takes the Nazi philosophy as his own and becomes increasingly delusional as he inches towards the edge of sanity. Its eerie atmosphere stems largely from the lead actor's performance (which I'm omitting because I can only spell so many Czech names in one paragraph) and the very unique cinematography full of close-up shots and quick cuts. The camera work lets you into the mind of the very impressionable and unstable protagonist, and it definitely makes the entire movie much more entertaining. That said, the movie is more or less a drama up until the last twenty or thirty minutes, so those expecting a scary movie in the traditional sense are in for a let down. Still, it's a strange and interesting foreign movie with a hefty amount of commentary on Nazism (if you're into that sort of thing) and the fantastic cinematography and acting make it well-made, if not entirely engaging all the time.
November 6, 2012
This is a really bizarre film with dream-like sequences straight out of an LSD trip. However, not the normal LSD trip... more like taking acid at a funeral home. Kopfrkingl is the strange and creepy creamtor, who rapidly goes off the deep end when his friend, who is involved with an active Nazi party, convinces him to adopt the party's radical viewpoints. Leave it up to Czechoslovakia to produce a real freak show of a film!
March 19, 2012
One of the best czech film!!!
September 27, 2011
A revolting story with a character that should be considered a top 5 villain in cinematic history mixed with some incredibly innovating and unconventional film making.
david-man
May 1, 2011
the film about anti-autocracy of autocracy. Horrible music and creepy person. The woman in black dress and the man likes Adolf Hitler totally freaked me out.
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