Tuesday, April 30, 2013

REVIEW: Der Monch mit der Peitsche

Der Monch mit der Peitsche
Director: Alfred Vohrer
Year 1967

Der Monch mit der Peitsche, AKA The College Girl Murders, is an unabashedly fun Edgar Wallace inspired Krimi film that, like most Krimi efforts, has a tongue firmly placed in cheek attitude. Brimming with interesting characters and wildly atmospheric locations, this Alfred Vohrer directed gem packs in quite an intriguing mystery. With its abundance of exciting twists, strings of red herrings and tendency to dip into the macabre in excessive amounts, The College Girl Murders is an outstandingly funny and often engaging outing that is sure to satisfy anyone looking for murder, mystery, and of course, a plethora of manic moments.

The film centers on an all girls college where a series of grisly murders have been occurring in and around the grounds of the school. One by one, the students begin to drop like flies, by an assassin who uses various poisonous devices to accomplish his diabolical deeds. To make matters more complicated, a red hooded Monk, armed with a whip, is also on the prowl. With the bodies beginning to pile up, Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. Led by Inspector Higgins, a practical and charismatic examiner, and Sir John, the whimsical and farcical Chief Inspector, the dynamic duo must figure out a way to stop the killings while unmasking the fiend behind it all. Can the two get to the bottom of this sordid plot and foil the killer's plans, or are the remaining girls doomed to death like their fallen peers?

Joachim Fuchsberger takes on the role of Inspector Higgins while Siegfried Schurenberg plays Sir John. To those out there that are not strangers of the Krimi genre, both Fuchsberger and Schurenberg should be two familiar faces. The outstanding actors have shared the screen together in countless other Krimi films like, The Inn on the River, Room 13, and The Mysterious Magician, plus have individually attacked the genre with such outstanding entries as Dead Eyes of London, The Black Abbot, and The Indian Scarf. In the case of The College Girl Murders, Fuchsberger and Schurenberg do a fantastic job as they riff off of each other with the greatest of ease.

In the story, Schurenberg's character Sir John is the superior to Fuchsberger's character Higgins, but the true nature of their partnership would be that Higgins is the one more suitable for being in charge. Fuchsberger gives his Higgins role a sure fire cocky disposition that always seems to have each situation under control, while Fuchsberger's Sir John is left foolishly grasping at straws, ultimately providing a great deal of comedic moments that truly lift up the film into whimsical territory. The chemistry between the two is just phenomenal and it is in these wacky moments, when both characters are interacting, that the film genuinely leaps to life and brings on the fun.

As with any Krimi entry, the atmosphere and locations are a standout necessity and with The College Girl Murders we are given that in copious amounts. First and foremost, the actual college in which the film is genuinely centered around is a harbinger for outstandingly creepy visuals and iconic imagery. From the darkened corridors of the dormitories, to the strange venues of the school's swimming pool with underwater glass viewing window, to the fog shrouded grounds of the college's estate, the film has plenty of opportunity to wow its audience with something truly spectacular and fresh. This tradition also carries over into the main villain’s secret hideaway, where we are given some Bond-esque views of the madman's eccentric lair, complete with an alligator pit and an aquarium encased room.

The inventive aspects of the film's visual presentation and outlandish sets goes hand in hand with the movie's imaginative ways in which the killer dispenses with his victims. From a poison vapor spewing bible, to a silly ray gun that dispenses deadly webbing, to a few more unusually conceptualized murdering devices, the film spares no expense in entertaining the audience at every turn. There is also some ridiculous fun to be had with the red hooded Monk character, who kills his victims with a bull whip. If anything can be said about this movie, it would be that it definitely has a lot going for it. From the multiple twists and turns that the narrative takes, to the wildly over the top characters, to the visual imaginative nature of the entire production, you really can't deny that the movie keeps your attention to the very end. Ultimately, that's seemingly the main goal of this original and downright fun Krimi and in that perspective it is a job exceptionally done.

The College Girl Murders is a wild Krimi fueled ride which never hesitates in bringing out every trick in the book. Its fun filled attitude and whimsical style really adds to the enjoyability factor of the film. Joachim Fuchsberger and Siegfried Schurenberg do a bang up job as two unlikely partners caught up in the most intriguing of mysteries. As previously stated, their chemistry is top notch and the comedic timing between the two is impeccable, serving to be the main source of fun to be had from this wacky film.

As for the sets and locations of the movie, they are on par with most genuinely well done Edgar Wallace productions, but this time with an added and more visually vivid approach thanks to the use of color and panache infused style. The settings of the all girls school, the fog shrouded woods, and the villain's lair are all tremendously succinct aspects of the production that really shine on the screen. The mixture of moody locations, whimsical banter, macabre humor, inventive horror, and odd ball characters is a perfect blend, and in this motley assortment of film flavors, The College Girl Murders provides a delightful example of what this interesting genre can conjure up. If you're looking for an entertaining mystery that spares no expense in the fun department, then give this one a go. The College Girl Murders is one Krimi that is.....

The moment two scientists fall in love. Awwwww!

The new Klu Klux Klan summer fashion line. FABULOUS!

That dude behind me is really starting to creep me out.

Come Here!!!!

Pull my finger Higgins..... PULL IT!

So you old bat.... You feel like a roll in the hay?

Well that settles it girls. It's spanking train time!

You damn kids and your water pistols!

Oh shit! It's time for bedtime stories with Sir John again.

You got a staring problem buddy?

Sir John, I'd ask you kindly not to stare at me like that.

Get Over Here! Finish Him!

There's something fishy about you lady.

Why you cheeky little pervert!

A blind man could see the signals this chick is sending. Wake up Higgins!

The red cloak and matching gloves were not the best choice for date night.

Go ahead and jump you chicken shit!

What manner of wild animal is that?

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