Watch 1979’s Estonian Thriller, Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel (Hukkunud Alpinisti), with a fantastic score from Sven Grünberg

I’d been trying to find a streaming version of this film for the better part of a year, and finally someone put it up on youtube! Based on a story by the Russian born Strugartsky brothers (highly respected, and often adapted, Sci-Fi authors), Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel is a slow burning thriller, taking place in a hotel at the foot of an avalanche prone mountain. Though some use is made of it’s beautiful snow covered setting, most of DMH could have been performed as a theatrical production, confined as it is, to a set of rooms. Director, Grigori Kromanov, uses the precarious, chilling, setting of the hotel, and it’s dark set design to continually build dramatic tension. The acting, across the board, is compelling, creating shifting allegiances towards characters, leaving one wondering who can be trusted. Also of significance in establishing the mood is synthesizer pioneer, Sven Grünberg’s original score, which combines ambient synthscapes, with melodic themes, occasionally haunting vocals and even a bombastic rocker (Grunberg was, after all, a member of Prog Rock band, Mess). Without wishing to further increase your knowledge of the plot, I’ll leave you with that vague exposition. Watch it before it gets pulled!

Some cuts from the OST

And a little more Grunberg, for those interested

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