Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
My Best Fiend (1999)
Anchor Bay | Review by Dan Taylor

In the history of filmmaking, no director-star combo has had a more fascinating, combustible and productive relationship than Werner Herzog and the one, the only Klaus Kinski. The duo made five films together over the course of two decades, starting with the hypnotic AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (1972) and ending with the psychotic COBRA VERDE (1988). But let's not forget the stops along the way to redefine Dracula and torture themselves – and everybody else – in the Amazon (1982's FITZCARRALDO).

However, for two artists that seemed to feed off each other, their public feuding was the stuff of legend. Both accused the other of attempted murder while Kinski used his infamous autobiography to wish "the murderer Herzog" would have ants "piss in his eyes, eat his balls, penetrate his asshole, and eat his guts."

Watch MY BEST FIEND – Herzog's sometimes dull as dishwater, sometimes totally fascinating look at his relationship with Kinski – and I guarantee you'll be left scratching your head, not only about their relationship but about the two men at its core.

Over the course of 100 minutes, the director manages to float the idea that he and Klaus collaborated on the venomous anti-Herzog passages in the autobiography, while also confessing that he stopped short of firebombing the German Olivier's house.

There's also plenty of on-set footage that portrays the spirited actor as a raving lunatic, but the flick ends with a shot of a calm, at peace Kinski playing with a butterfly. So, which portrayal of the actor is right? Probably a bit of both, but one wishes that he were still around to stick up for himself.

Oh, for another director's view of the always-volatile Kinski, check out the short PLEASE KILL MR. KINSKI on the BEST OF TROMADANCE VOL. 1 DVD. It's only eight minutes long, but goes a long way towards supporting every crazy story you've ever heard about K2.

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