In 1930s Czechoslovakia, Karl Kopfrkingl (Hrusinsky) is a small-town cremator dedicated to job and family. Fervent in his belief that cremation is an avenue towards purification of the soul, he constantly invents new schemes to promote his work and drum up business. As German forces amass on the Czech border, he meets his old friend Reinke (Prachar), who encourages Karl to claim a place within Hitler's New World Order. Seeing that the Nazi philosophy offers parallels to his own views and vocation, he warms to the idea, even though this might lead to dire consequences for his half-Jewish wife and children.
This trippy black comedy/horror film is one of the more unheralded gems of the Czech New Wave. Director Herz uses various ghoulish characters, vaguely unsettling set pieces and off-kilter camerawork to create a uniquely bizarre, surreal experience; a sort of fun-house nightmare. As central character Karl, Hrusinsky is sublimely creepy, a man whose civilized, controlled veneer hides a cold and deadly malice... in short, the ideal Nazi. Though not for all tastes, if you're in for something disturbingly different, visit "The Cremator."