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Der Wixxer

The Trixxer

Germany 2004
produced by
Christian Becker, David Groenewold, Anita Schneider, Oliver Kalkofe (creative) for Rat Pack Filmproduktion, Medienfonds GFP, SevenPictures Film, B.A. Produktion, Novamedia
directed by Tobi Baumann
starring Oliver Kalkofe, Bastian Pastewka, Tanja Wenzel, Olli Dittrich, Thomas Heinze, Anke Engelke, Thomas Fritsch, Christoph Maria Herbst, Wolfgang Völz, Antoine Monot jr, Lars Rudolph, Eva Ebner, Oliver Welke, André Meyer, Daniel Steiner, Grit Boettcher, Klaus Neumann, Holger Speckhahn, die Wildecker Herzbuben, André Dietz, Zdenek Tomes, Carl Heinz Choynski, Michal Gulyás, Václav Krejcí, Hanus Bor, Ivan Urbánek, Ales Vrzal, Catharina van Veen, Sylvia Kube (as Sylvia Schäffler), Achim Mentzel, Matthias Müsse, Nina Sollich, No Angels, Günther Jauch
written by Oliver Kalkofe, Oliver Welke, Bastian Pastewka, gag overwrite by Andreas Gaw, based on characters created by Edgar Wallace, music by Andreas Grimm

Der Wixxer, Edgar Wallace made in Germany

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Tourists Dieter (Olli Dittrich) and Doris (Anke Engelke) pass by Blackwhite Castle - to see the Monk with the Whip run over by a car, and while Dieter reports this to Scotland Yard, Doris is kidnapped and forced to train as a singer, because a white slavery ring operates out of Blackwhite Castle that ships girlbands to all four corners of the earth (which conveniently leads to a cameo appearance by then current German girl band No Angels). Soon the case lands with Scotland Yard, where Sir John (Wolfgang Völz) assigns maverick chief inspector Even Longer (Oliver Kalkofe) to the case - and partners him with by-the-book inspector Very Long (Bastian Pastewka), much to Longer's dismay. The two soon make it to Blackwhite Castle to meet its owner Earl of Cockwood (Thomas Fritsch), who's much to sly to not be evil. Even Longer soon falls for the Earl's maid Miss Pennymarket (Tanja Wenzel), who of course soon enough turns out to be the rightful heir to Blackwhite Castle, but not even she knows it yet. Now the Earl of Cockwood of course is secretly the head of a crime syndicate made up from the more colourful villains of Edgar Wallace's rogue gallery (and several made up ones as well), but they're killed off one by one by a supervillain called the Wixxer, and of course, the baddies want to find out who the Wixxer is, as does the police, especially Even Longer, because the Wixxer also killed his partner Rather Short (Thomas Heinze). Now soon enough several attempts are made on Longer's life, Long and Dieter are kidnapped and caught up in a death trap in Blackwhite Castle, Cockwood learns about Miss Pennymarket's true identity and wants to marry her, then the Wixxer wants to marry her as well, and a few fights, chases and deaths later, Cockwood gets his just desserts while Even Longer gets to unmask the Wixxer - who against all odds is someone even he wouldn't have expected, his deceased partner Rather Short.

 

Of course,on paper, the German Edgar Wallace cycle was ripe for parody, what with its over-reliance on genre mainstays, on grotesque villains, gruesome murders, its weird version of "Britishness", and its slightly old-fashioned overall appearance. And at least partly, Der Wixxer really hits the mark, it mostly manages to recreate the atmosphere of the movies of old (including locations that are shot exclusively in black and white), its plot is about as convoluted as Edgar Wallace flicks (and German krimis in general) used to be back when, the rogue gallery is mostly hilarious, and at least some of the characters are pretty spot on (like Bastian Pastewka as an Eddi Arent parody) or are at least spirited in idea (like Christoph Maria Herbst as the Hitler-look-alike butler). By and large though, the film's pretty hit-or-miss: Basically, a good portion of the film's humour is very blunt, even to the point of being unfunny, and/or veers off topic a bit too much (like the Matrix-style fight in the finale), and/or erlies too much on tired slapstick. Plus, in some instances the film's humour isn't even half as amusing as in the later Edgar Wallace films directed by Alfred Vohrer, which sometimes felt more like a parody themselves - especially the Horst Tappert starrers Gorilla Gang and The Man with the Glass Eye come to mind here - films that were actually also bolder as Der Wixxer.

That all said, there are still some pretty good laughs in this movie, but as a proper parody it just seems like a missed opportunity.

 

By the way, "Wixxer" means "wanker" in German (if slightly differently spelled) - just one example of the less subtle humour that permeates much of the movie.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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We're more than happy to announce that our film
There's No Such Thing as Zombies
will premiere at the IndieScream (online) Film Festival on October 28th 6:30 Pacific Time - click here - and frankly, we'd all be happy to see you there.

There's No Such Thing as Zombies is directed by Eddie Bammeke, written by Michael Haberfelner, and stars Eirian Cohen, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi, with special appearances by horror icons Lynn Lowry and Debra Lamb.

See you all there I hope, and if you can't make it, you can rent the movie for the fest's entire run until November 3rd 2021!