Spalovac Mrtvol (The Cremator) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spalovac Mrtvol (The Cremator) Reviews

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July 23, 2014
Totally creeped out! Hours later I still can't get Rudolf HrusÝnskř image out of my head!
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2014
The Cremator is a two-layered experience of immense depth, let alone one of the counted films in history that can be called "ahead of its time".

With a staggering cinematography, the most memorable male character in the Czech New Wave, a neo-noir ambience, an hypnotic directing, a terrifying score, and probably a leading performance that deserves to be held as one of the best in cinema history, The Cremator is an unapologetic downward spiral to delusional madness of a man that strongly believes in the purifying power of cremation and the metaphysical advantages provided by premature death in order to stop human suffering. The presence of this intellectual personage is so imposing, that the rest of the characters around him seem like defenseless puppets, including JirÝ Menzel himself. His physiognomy correlates in a shocking way with his indecipherable intentions. The scenarios, paintings and architecture dance around his macabre deeds and communicate ominous statements waiting to be revealed. His whole fictional trademark personality precedes an important number of antagonists in cinema, especially those having "intellectual" and "artistic" inclinations to politics and artforms to disguise their own existential banalities addressed with fundamentalisms. Think of him as the grandfather of many, including Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000), but infinitely more ambbitious.

On the other hand, you have a tremendous political subtext as the German troops have arrived to the Czech border. With the advice of his friend, Kopfrkingl is now considering the importance of his possible German heritage and the issue of his partial Jewish life. This was the volatile component in the cremator's mentality to unleash a paranoiac divine mission that pushes him to execute a permanent task during his stay on this earth while proclaiming the upcoming new order that he felt was about to be established by the FŘhrer. Far from clichÚd, this is extremely original and quite horrifying, even as a subtext.

With a Svankmajer editing, the film uses landscapes, attrezzos, mansions, horror stories told with wax figures, images of suffering and in-house locations to conduct an unprecedented operatic nightmare of unspeakable psychological proportions. With nothing left to say, the status of this film is of the highest quality among international cinema, of any decade, of any place.

June 14, 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.
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 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!!!
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
March 2, 2012
a very strange movie about a sick and twisted mind...interesting fur sure
½ December 16, 2011
has some deficiencies, yet has stayed very fresh throughout the years
October 2, 2011
Exceptional film that depicts the raise of the Nazis but since the point of view of a Czech man obsess with cremation and the reincarnation, along the purification of the world. Definitely a film with a great photography, great script and acting.
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.
August 28, 2011
Eddig is az egyik kedvenc ├ (C)vem volt 1968 ├ (C)s most m├ (C)g egy zseni├ílis alkot├íssal b┼'v├ 1/4lt a lista. A hulla├ (C)get┼' kihagyhatatlan ├ (C)s m├ (C)g komolyabban is foglalkozom vele a j├Âv┼'ben.
May 8, 2011
Karel Kopfrkingl has the perfect life: a beautiful and faithful wife and two lovely children. His income allows him to surround his family with art and beauty. And more importantly he LOVES his job as a crematorium operator or the title character The Cremator. He finds the idea of burning people every day in the crematorium very much practical as he believes that cremation relieves earthly suffering and sends the soul to Heaven much faster than a standard burial. But as you peel back the layers of this weirdly uncanny character, you will find there is a lot more going on than just Kopfrkingl's desperate attempt to raise his position in life.
Kopfrkingl got the full camera attention every second of the film. The film shares his sadistic thoughts, reveals his gradually developing madness along with his tainted logic through a time to time monologue from him from the beginning to end. This is one of those rare psychological horror features where the audience senses it all the way with a hallucinatory & morbid touch in its every reel.
Though billed as partly a black comedy, this creepy Czech classic is just a bit too uncomfortable and surreal to truly meet that label. Made in the golden decade of Psycho, Repulsion and Carnival of Souls, The Cremator remains unlike any movie you have ever seen before. It's slow, deliberate and genuinely horrifying where the black and white cinematography is haunting but beautiful; musical score is enthralling and aesthetically intriguing.
The Cremator brilliantly captures the political horror of 1930s Europe & the Holocaust as it takes over from within and makes monsters of the most boringly normal of men. This is a brutally real pure horror and along with the director Juraj Herz, all the credit also goes to the actor (Rudolf Hrusinsky) who magnificently played the lead role...a performance that accurately and metaphorically fills the screen, an upsetting portrayal of a deceiving and psychotic character that steadily become occupied with Nazi political dogma.
½ 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.
December 6, 2010
5/5- Brrrr... Niepokoj─, przera┼ 1/4aj─ Dawno nie ogl─...da┼,em filmu, na kt├│rym bym si─(TM) tak wzdryga┼,.
½ August 8, 2010
The first 40 minutes are so atmospheric I almost fell asleep and then HOLY CRAP, NAZIS! I HATE THOSE GUYS! I need to watch something happy now.
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.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2010
Damn, this movie is fucking creepy as hell.. and the lead actor really scared the shit out of me. Totally underrated.
March 25, 2010
gothic musterpiece!! brain horror!!
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