ANGUISH (1987)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Bigas Luna

Zelda Rubinstein ... Alice Pressman, the Mother
(old movie)
Michael Lerner ... John Pressman (old movie)
Talia Paul ... Patty (new movie)
Àngel Jové ... The Killer (new movie)

Country: Spain
Runtime: 86 min
Original title: Angustia

This is one of the most underrated slasher films of all time. Most people would stay away from a movie with creepy Zelda Rubenstein on the cover, but it would be the gravest mistake a film fan could make. A slasher movie that plays as if the makers actually put some thought into it? Wow, what a crazy idea.

Tensely written and directed by Bigas Luna (yeah, yeah, he has a funny name); the film begins as the character study of a big, fat momma's boy played by Michael Lerner. He's an ophthalmologist by day and a psycho killer by night. Spurred on by his crazy, bird-loving mom (Rubenstein in her outrageously bizarre best), he goes out and rips people's eyes out for fun. But are you ready for the twist?

Suddenly, we're in a movie theater and we meet Patty and Linda, who are watching the movie we've just been watching!!! This twist in the plot takes the film to another level, and doesn't restart it like you'd think it would. Patty is increasingly getting disturbed by the film about the mama's boy killer, but her friend Linda won't leave the theater. To distract herself, Patty starts looking at the people in the audience, and her paranoia starts to get the best of her as she spots a man who just might be a real psycho killer.

Well, he is. The man, apparently a fan of the psycho film on screen, is entranced by the images until he can't take it anymore and walks to the bathroom. There he takes out a gun and begins to kill as many theater patrons as possible. Realizing she was right from the beginning, Patty tries her best to warn the rest of the theater while trying to survive the screening herself.

Shot in Argentina, but filmed in English, this slickly-produced and incredibly suspenseful movie is one of the reasons this website exists. Jorge and I want to shed light on the great forgotten horror films and raise them out of their premature tombs for the world to devour. Here, Luna crafts a powerful scare film where the dread and suspense is palpable. I found myself scrunching down in my seat along with Patty and feeling every moment of her anguish. I had the chance to rewatch this film on the big screen, which is the ideal setting for it, but its just as effective in your home theater...go track it down!

  - Jose Prendes


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