Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Flim #4: M (1931)

YOU are the child murder! I can just tell by lookin’ at ya!
“POLICE! POLICE! I FOUND THEM! The person reading this blog is the KILLER!”

Oh, sorry about that. I’m sure you wouldn’t hurt an ant. Seems the RDHP still hasn’t escaped the hysteria that also engulfs Berlin in the film, “M” (1931). A serial child killer can’t stop hacking up little Ava’s, and the city goes mad with suspicion by accusing every Franz Six-pack of committing the crimes. With each murder the city folk grow more paranoid, enraged, and terrified, only heightened by the fact that the police are literally clueless (this killer is careful to leave nothing but his chilling whistling behind as evidence).

The incessant, random police raids on homeless shelters and brothels in their search for the killer eventually motivates the criminal element of the city to join in the hunt. After all, how can a guy make an honest living stealing wallets and pimpin’ hoes when the cops-filled streets keep cutting into business!
The killer knows the heat is on, but he just can’t seem to quell those juicy feelings that come with child murder. Ohhhhhhh, it feels so good!

Soon the low and high classes of society take matters into their own hands, and decide to do whatever it takes to track the insatiable maniacal killer in the 1931 classic chiller “M.”

Though he had directed a dozen silent films prior, “M” was director Fritz Lang’s first movie with sound.
This fact shows, as portions of the film take place in haunting silence, without a single note of soundtrack to distract the mind. The quiet nature of the film adds to the suspense and realism of the plot. Scenes stretch out too long, people do mundane things in blank soundscapes. It sounds boring. But this quirky element is both disengaging and compelling as a viewer. It is real life, which is not always full of whitty banter and John Williams orchestras. The realism Lang portrays makes you feel like you are one of those city folks, just waiting for that perverted killer to take your daughter.

This is a serial killer movie, but don’t expect Silence of the Lambs. There is no junk-tucking or liver eating in M. In fact, all the murder is done by innuendo (which I hear hurts even more!).
But this horror movie has a couple strange things rattling around inside it… a brain and a soul.

First, the soul. Peter Lorre, whom you probably know from old caricatures in Bugs Bunny cartoons, gives an amazing performance as the frumpy, pathetically sick killer. It is hard to believe this is his first starring role. You won’t even breathe during his speech about why he murders rugrats -- it is that purely engrossing.

Second, the brain. This is more than just a movie made to justify child-leashes. The film discusses social classes and how, when it comes to justice, there is no difference between the criminal, the beggar, and the police chief. It challenges mob mentality, and how fear leads to paranoia, which leads to rash acts (Hello, Jews anyone, this movie was shot at the beginning of the rise of the Third Reich!).
It questions whether mentally ill people – like the killer – should be pitied and treated, or admonished and eradicated.

A horror movie sparking discussions about class and mental illness!? This one is excellent, playas, but I’d have to say it is not perfect. Fellas, beware, there are no bouncing boobs in this movie. Shame on you, Fritz. Don’t you know horror?

RDHP Ratings:
C-Rating: 4
Chris Dimick declares: "See this movie if you like slow paced thrillers that make you think. Don't see this movie if you want to see a Hostel-like showcase of the seven ways to cut up children. Prefering the former, I found this a good one. It was not so much 'scary' in the classic sense of jump-shocks and gore. But it was terrifying to watch how madness can drive a man to murder, and how murder can drive a city to madness. Though some may find the slow parts soothing, I found several sections borrrrrrrrrrrring. I mean, come on, this could have been tighented a bit even for 1931. One point deducted for the turtle pace."

N-Rating: 4.8 (not a 5.0 because there were a few moments I didn't fully enjoy)
Nick Rich declares: "Powerful, simply powerful. I found M to be our best viewing thus far! I was instantly engrossed in the story from the first shot. Count me guilty as one of "those" Chris mentioned finding the slow parts "soothing"... they really let you stew in the helplessness of the situation you were watching unfold - priceless! You won't find a modern film being made in such a way, which made it feel so fresh, different and engaging to me. Speaking of fresh, I found the absence of the present day "staples" of horror (i.e. nudity, profanity, extreme violence) made this film all the more impressive. M didn't have to distract me with those flashy staples... it went straight for the jugular of true terror: one's feeling of utter and complete helplessness - especially when it comes to one's child! M is a lot like the problems you face in life... they move slowly in the beginning as you try to ignore them, only to speed up to a visceral, neck-breaking fervor once they can no longer be denied. And rest assured... M will not be denied!
Hey Chris, what's that on your shoulder?"

Quote of the Viewing:
Nick: “What kind of little girl blindly goes down the street with a stranger and lets him put his arm around her?”
Chris: “A really slutty little girl.”

Five Things We Learned from Watching "M":
- Cops carry around newspaper clippings describing crimes and reference them often during their investigations of the incident.
- German children love to sing about child killers. They think it is funny.
- If you are going to rape and murder children, don’t whistle prior to the act! The blind are always listening.
- Beggars are unionized and before the advent of cellular technology served as a means of instantaneous communication - I believe they called it the 3B Network! Take that AT&T!
- There's a reason you never see filmmakers use fully framed shots of people working at their desks from the under the desk. It produces an eye-full of man-package. Ew.


  1. The Rich Dimick Horror Project is Awesome. I'm getting my first look at it today, and after reading and loving the first entry I was glad there were 3 more for me to digest all at once. It is clear that the RHDP is not just about entertaining (and let me say what an excellent job it is doing at entertaining!) but it's also about educating. Thanks to the RDHP I am infinitely more likely to watch "Dead Alive", a movie I had never heard of until today, because, I'll be honest, I love gore. So, Thanks RDHP! and keep the posts coming.

  2. I appreciate the lessons we've learned section. Kind of a GI Joe "knowing is half the battle" moment...only about dismembered kids and unionized hobo's...really, I think Julie is right,this whole blog is SO educational! It really makes you think...are there really 7 ways to cut up a kid? can you "stew" in helplessness or do you just simmer? If you swallow gum will it ever come out? can you qualify slutty? if so please post pictures, a diagram if you will, medical purposes only I assure you...well done gentleman!

  3. We here are the Rich-Dimick Horror Project are concerned to the utmost with the education and entertainment of the masses... but mainly we just want to entertain ourselves ;). The fact that you guys gets something out what we're writing is the happiest of side effects! There's plenty more horror where these came from so keep reading!