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Puppet Grave Digger, The (Puppengraeber, Der)

Puppet Grave Digger, The
Scene from "The Puppet Grave Digger" (photo © filmpool Koeln 2003)

A small, close-knit village is plagued by a series of mysterious murders and disappearances. Trude is worried about her mentally handicapped son Ben, who is 18-years-old and has the body of a grown man, but the mind of a small child. Every night, Ben takes off into the cornfields and witnesses the village’s “nightly activities”. One of Ben’s peculiarities is that he always brings back small gifts for his mother; pieces of wood, rocks, and sometimes even dead mice, which they then bury in the garden. Then one night, Ben comes home with a pair of women’s underwear, and shortly thereafter, with a severed finger. In an attempt to prevent her son from becoming the prime suspect in the string of abductions, Trude gets rid of his “evidence”. However, the village inhabitants become increasingly suspicious of Ben when his violent outbreaks start occurring more frequently. Even Ben’s own father starts to doubt his son’s innocence. Only Heinz, a lawyer and the local commissioner is on Trude’s side and helps fight to keep Ben from being sent away to a home.

But Trude knows that several others in the village have skeletons in their own closets. She sees and hears things, but keeps it all to herself. When Ben comes home one day covered in blood, even Trude starts to doubt her faith in what Ben is capable of. Are the dead bodies hidden in Ben’s hunting grounds? Is her son a murderer? Or is he just imitating the violence he is witness to every night and being used as a scapegoat to cover the identity of the real killer? When Ben’s own beloved sister and her girlfriend disappear one night, everyone is convinced that Ben has something to do with the murders…

Genre Thriller, Drama
Category TV Movie
Year of Production 2002
Directors Claudia Prietzel, Peter Henning
Screenplay Christoph Busch
Cinematography David Slama
Sabine Brose
Andreas Weiser
Frank Godt
Cast Markus Hering, Manfred Zapatka, Bernd Tauber, Sven Hoenig, Suzanne von Borsody
Producer Katrin Kuhn
Production Company Filmpool Film- & Fernsehproduktion/Cologne, in co-production with WDR
Runtime 89 min
Format Super 16, color
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Stereo
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor STUDIOCANAL/Berlin

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