Satan's Brew

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Year Released: 1976
Rating: 2.5

Frantic poet Walter (Kurt Raab), who is experiencing writer's block but needs money badly from his publisher, goes on a decadent rampage and kills a woman - back home, he has to put up with his dying wife (Helen Vita), his mentally-disabled brother (Volker Spengler) and the police officer (Ulli Lommel) who's investigating him.  The opening and closing quotations by Antonin Artaud are Fassbinder's hint to the audience that he's borrowing from the Theatre of Cruelty, which explains the overbearing nature of the project: everyone plays it to the absolute max (especially Spengler, who collects dead flies), and the end result is supposed to be unsettling and disorienting.  Even knowing this in advance, however, does little to prepare you for the sensation of walking into a Psych Ward: the filmmaker was never exactly known for his sense of restraint.