Werner Herzog or Marvel Supervillain? Take Our Audio Quiz.

Slate's Culture Blog
April 4 2014 11:38 AM

Werner Herzog or Marvel Supervillain? Take Our Audio Quiz.

Red Skull from Captain America (2011) and Werner Herzog.
Can you tell the difference between Werner Herzog and Captain America villain Red Skull?

Red Skull courtesy Paramount Pictures. Werner Herzog by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

There’s always been something a little villainous about Werner Herzog. Where others perceive harmony, the German auteur hears only “obscenity” and “overwhelming misery.” Where others see kinship and mercy, the filmmaker sees “only the overwhelming indifference of nature.” He is frequently described as “mad” and a “genius,” and he always has an arch nemesis: before, actor Klaus Kinski (whom he claims he once tried to murder with a firebomb) and lately, chickens.

Hollywood has begun to pick up on this quality in recent years (along with the charm of his distinctive Bavarian accent), even casting Herzog opposite Tom Cruise in an action thriller. But Herzog’s first appearance as a Hollywood villain in many ways came earlier, in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, which gets a sequel this week. For that movie, actor Hugo Weaving arrived upon his characterization of the sinister Red Skull in large part by studying Herzog.

Just how closely did he capture the spirit of the auteur? We’ve assembled 12 audio clips, some from Red Skull, and some from Herzog’s screen appearances. For each question, click play to hear the clip, and try to identify: Was that the German mad genius, or was it Red Skull?

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

Chris Kirk is Slate's interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

Ayana Morali is the co-executive producer of Slate V.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 11:25 AM The GOP’s Phantom Menace The Republican Party’s new agenda is trying to solve problems that don’t exist.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 10:52 AM Bill Hader Explains Why Playing Stefon Made Him Laugh and Why LeBron James Is Funny
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.