Cremator (Spalovac Mrtvol)

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Average Rating: 4.2/5

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Movie Info

A Czechoslovakian man who loves working at his crematorium begins to take the advice of an old war buddy concerning the importance of his German heritage and the issue of his half Jewish wife.


Critic Reviews for Cremator (Spalovac Mrtvol)

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

Kopfrkingl himself, played by Rudolf Hrusinky, with the face of a gently demonic Charles Laughton and the manner of a malevolent Herbert Marshall, is a creation of considerable interest.

Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

While it's a bit programmatic for my taste, this 1968 black comedy in black and white is undeniably creepy -- once director Juraj Herz enters the fractured mind of his protagonist, he refuses to budge.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Not only is it an immensely entertaining movie, it's a work of art that should be on the list of anyone looking to understand filmmaking and cinematography.

Dec 14, 2017 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Assustador estudo sobre a moralidade humana, este clássico tcheco conta com uma montagem fascinante e com uma atuação impecavelmente sombria de Hrusinský.

Jun 21, 2006 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Cremator (Spalovac Mrtvol)


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.

Joey Shapiro
Joey Shapiro

Super Reviewer


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.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


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.

Marion Ravenwood
Marion Ravenwood

Super Reviewer

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