I have to state up front that DER SAMURAI is one of the strangest films I’ve seen in a while. It is wildly entertaining and has some great gore…but it also defies classification. Part horror, part fantasy, and part surrealistic fever-dream, this is one movie you won’t forget after you watch it.
If you are not familiar with DER SAMURAI, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
A shape-shifting, cross-dressing psychopath wielding a samurai sword cuts a bloody swath of carnage through a small German village in this surreal mix of violence, sexual desire and dark comedy that recalls early David Lynch. The only person to confront this decapitating murderer is an uptight young policeman whose pursuit soon becomes a deadly game of cat-and-mouse as an odd bond forms between the two men. Completely bizarre yet wildly entertaining, DER SAMURAI is a horror must-see for the adventurous!
Now, don’t get me wrong: I really enjoyed the film, and I plan on revisiting it sometime soon. But if you’re looking for a movie with explanations as to what’s going on or why, do not expect anything like that from this one. But if you’re searching for hardcore bizarreness with a lot of lopped-off heads and craziness, then you’ve come to the right place.
DER SAMURAI is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears fairly high, and the result is a great-looking film that appeals to the eyes.
The acting is very good, with Michael Diercks in the lead role as Jakob, and Pit Bukowski playing Der Samurai. Both do a superb job with their portrayals, although I think Bukowski deserves special recognition for his role. Pulling off a cross-dressing psycho is probably not an easy task, but he certainly makes the character an icy individual I would hate to meet in a dark alley.
The special effects in DER SAMURAI are excellent, and there’s plenty of carnage to go around. Der Samurai takes pride in lopping off his victim’s heads and then displaying them on sticks with psychotic abandon. This nonsensical violence is part of what makes the film so much fun.
The other aspect is the storyline. Not much is explained, but it doesn’t really have to be. We have a simple cat-and-mouse thriller that keeps the audience enthralled. It’s pretty cut and dry. A discussion about who Der Samurai is and why he does what he does would have been nice, but the lack of it doesn’t really detract from the film overall.
DER SAMURAI is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for something different. I’m pretty sure the film won’t appeal to everyone, as it has a bit of an artistic flair, but it’s entertaining and weird, a violent trip into insanity. If you can stomach it, give it a look.