Rixflix A to Z: Anatomie [Anatomy] (2000)

Director/Writer : Stefan Ruzowitzky // Deutsche Columbia TriStar; 1:43; Color
Cast Notables: Franka Potente (Paula Henning), Benno Fürmann (Hein), Anna Loos (Gretchen/also song on soundtrack), Sebastian Blomberg (Caspar), Traugott Buhre (Prof. Grombek)
Cinema 4 Rating: 6

Despite the fact that I am called "The Boogieman" by my friends and seem to have a predilection for horror movies, I do not like the vast majority of horror films released in the last 25 years or so. Despite the fact that my favorite magazine in that entire time has been Fangoria (really, I get it for the articles), about 80% of the films that have been described within its pages are films for which I really have little use or patience.

"But, aren't you a horror movie fan", you might ask? Well, I would say that what I am is a movie fan, and outside of that, I am a fan of many genres, and the films that I like in any particular genre are the good ones. Just because I like Star Trek doesn't mean that I have to immediately like every single Star Trek series that comes along, nor even every single episode of one of those series. Likewise with horror movies: I know people who are fairly undiscerning and like to watch (and end up loving) every single horror movie that crosses their path. Not so for me, though; as part of my "movie code", I will watch any movie once, but that doesn't mean that I have to like all of them.

And lately, it has become even harder to do with the advent of "torture porn", MTV-style editing, and unnecessarily muddy cinematography. Actually, sometimes all three of these elements mistakenly come together to help me get through a film: I don't get a kick out of seeing people tortured onscreen, but if it is slammed together in nano-second snippets and its too dark or muddy to actually see anything that is happening, then all the better for me. Of course, I am being snarky. These elements are fine if used by the proper hands, but most often they are not, and so many films end up being a torture in and of themselves to get through.

But, there is something in me that actively seeks out films of the darker genre, and thus it was on one particular Saturday night about three years ago, I ran across a film called Anatomy on cable. I knew the star, Franka Potente, from the wild Run Lola Run, but here she was running about a medical school in Heidelberg, being chased by mysterious figures that wanted to plasticize her blood and turn her into a display mannequin in their medical museum. I know, good clean family fun, right? The truth of the matter is that, while the film was attractively filmed and pretty creepy and gory (all pluses), the film was tough to get through because of the American dubbing that threatened to turn the film into a goofy comedy. I am talking terrible dubbing, in the manner that is usually attributed to Japanese monster movies. While the film attracted me visually, I pretty much wrote it off, not thinking that I would care to take the trip (nor get the opportunity) back to that school, not as long as bad American actors were making a mockery of the film via audio.

And then, a couple months later, I was with my friends Erin, Petra and Krissy while they purchased some costuming supplies at Wal-Mart for out theatrical company. Actually just along for the ride and the lunch that was to follow, I took some time to check out the cheapie DVD bins and there I saw it: Anatomy, and priced at only $5.00. The deal was actually 2 for $10, and since I found five other films (all from MGM's Midnight Matinee series, and mostly Corman Poe flicks), I figured "what the hell!" It was not only in widescreen (the cable version was fullscreen), but also came with the original German soundtrack. And so it was that I did end up with Anatomy after all, and could finally see it in the way it was meant to be seen.

This didn't reveal that much, for it is merely a fun little horror flick, though it gets a lot of mileage out of a creepy secret society that is far more believable than the ones in The Da Vinci Code, and also brings up a lot of memories, good and bad, of other "evil deeds in the hospital" flicks such as Coma and its ilk. And while I still suspect that the subtitles are playing with the English version a little bit (there are a couple moments where what was being said made little or no sense at all with what was being talked about), it is still light-years better than watching that atrociously dubbed cut.

So, I consider it be one of "the good ones", if mainly on points for style and atmosphere. But, this also points out how subjective such views are... I will often, in the course of getting Jen to watch a horror movie, ask her why she doesn't like horror films. Her answer is the same as mine about genres: it's not that she doesn't like horror movies overall, she just likes the good ones. And thus there lies the difference between her idea of a "good" horror movie and mine: for her, that means only about seven or eight movies, and she certainly won't sit still for the likes of Anatomy, unless I try hard to talk her into it. If I did get her to watch it, most likely she would find the mystery that lies at the heart of the plot to be way too obvious, the gore, murders and torture (while she does not shun these things) would really not interest her, and she would probably consider the film a waste of her time. Thus, I will probably never even try to get her to watch it. Such an act of torture would put me on the same level as the fiends in this movie.

On second thought...

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