The Sinister Monk (1965)

THE SINISTER MONK (1965)
(a.k.a. DER UNHEIMLICHE MONCH)
Article #1610 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-11-2005
Posting Date: 1-8-2006
Directed by Harold Reinl
Featuring Karin Dor, Harald Leipnitz, Siegfried Lowitz

When an old man dies, several relatives engage in manipulative attempts to take hold of the family fortune, but things get complicated when they start to be knocked off by a whip-wielding monk.

Trying to follow the plot of a krimi is difficult at the best of times, and this one involves a bewildering assortment of elements such as a girls’ school, secret wills, whip-wielding monks, kidnapping rackets, carrier pigeons, death masks, and water guns filled with sulphuric acid to contend with. However, at least the other krimis I’ve seen have a consistent stylistic tenor to them that I can relate to. Now, despite the fact that this movie has some great moments (my favorite: a whip attack on a man in a convertible), I found this one more annoying than enjoyable. The reason is simple; I dislike the musical soundtrack, which sounds vaguely James Bondian and which I found to be profoundly at odds with the stark black and white photography and the general serious mood of the piece. As a result, I didn’t know how I was to react to most of the scenes; the whip attacks would have been a lot scarier if the monk’s organ theme wasn’t so melodramatically corny, and I found myself badly distracted from the story at times. This is probably a matter of taste; I’ve seen a number of reviews of this one from people who really enjoyed the music. They can have this one; I suspect the next time I’m in the mood for a krimi, this is not the one I’ll put on.

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