Cobweb draped secret passages. Shadowy churchyards. Decrepit mansions. Hooded killers. Mod girls in mini-skirts. And most terrifying of all, lurking around every corner and behind every false bookcase…Klaus Kinski. The works of mystery writer Edgar Wallace conjured up a netherworld of insane criminal masterminds being pursued by dogged Scotland Yard inspectors that struck a chord with, well, Germans in the 1920s. Perhaps recognizing something of Weimar-era decadence and doom in the stories, Germany voraciously devoured Wallace’s works up until they were declared verboten by the ascending Nazi party.Germany produced a couple Wallace adaptations before the war, and the author’s own England made several adaptations during 1930s. Wallace’s stories even made their way to US screens, though admittedly he was better known in the US for some obscure movie about a largish gorilla climbing buildings in New York.

Years later, in 1959, Danish film studio Rialto decided to see if there was bankable nostalgia for the Wallace mysteries of old. Their first production, The Fellowship of the Frog, sparked a trend that resulted in dozens of new Wallace adaptations, as well as plenty of imitators — including companies adapting the work of Edgar’s mimic son, Bryan.

This month, the B-Masters pay tribute the sinister, strange, and often surreal blend of serial adventure, old dark house mysteries, and swingin’ sixties pop-art spy films that became known collectively as “krimi.” Look out! The man walking toward you could be Klaus Kinski in a skull mask!



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