Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 17th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: West Germany, 1991
Director: Jörg Buttgereit
Writers: Jörg Buttgereit, Franz Rodenkirchen
Cast: Monika M., Mark Reeder, Bernd Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski, Harald Lundt, Colloseo Schulzendorf, Jörg Buttgereit
BluRay released: December 7th, 2015
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Stereo German
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2
Retail Price: OOP (UK)
Synopsis: A young woman named Monika gives into her necrophilia urges and digs up the corpse of another like-minded person. At first her world revolves around her obsession that is until one day when she meets a young man named Mark, who does voice over work for Porno films. As time goes by her relationship with Mark grows stronger and not wanting to lose her new found happiness. So she goes out of her way to hide her necrophilia from Mark. Unfortunately all good things eventually come to an end. Will Monika remain with Mark or will she return to obsession for all things dead?
Sequels have long had a reputation for not living up to their predecessors. And in the case of Nekromantik 2 is yet another film that continues a series, but lacks some of the elements which made its predecessor so shocking and more importantly utterly original. And though upon a quick glance these two films do feature man similarities in their plot. Ultimately it is the way in which said subject matter is portrayed in each where they are drastically different.
The plot starts off strong as we are introduced to this film’s protagonists Monika, who is in a graveyard and she is digging up the grave of Rob the protagonist from Nekromantik. This opening set up has a tremendous amount of atmosphere as it is filled with eerie imagery and devoid of any dialog. It is once the dialog starts to flow that things take a slight detour. From there the film spend almost half of its running time focusing on Monika and Mark’s love affair. And it is not until this film finale that things get back to where one would expect them to be considering the subject matter at hand.
From a production stand point this film is way more polished than its predecessor which had a rough around the edges look to it. And at just over one hundred minutes there are several stretches where the film tends to drag. Besides the aforementioned opening set up, another stand out moment visually includes the finale where Monika is forced to choose between Mark and necrophilia? Ironically this is the scene that comes closest to capturing the essence of what makes Nekromantik so special.
Nekromantik 2 comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This film has been given a brand new HD transfer sourced from the original negatives and the end result is comparable to Cult Epics recent Blu-Ray release.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM stereo mix in German and also included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too. The main difference between this releases audio mix and the aforementioned Cult Epics release, is that the audio mix on the Arrow Video release is an uncompressed audio tracks.
Extras for this release include, an introduction to the film with Jörg Buttgereit, Mark Reeder, Monika M. and Manfred Jelinski, an image gallery, trailers for Nekromantik (2 minutes 1 second – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), Der Todesking (2 minutes 21 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), Nekromantik 2 (1 minute 5 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive) and Schramm (1 minute 31 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), outtakes (11 minutes 4 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), 20th Anniversary Live Concert performance of the film score performed by Monika M. and Friends (11 minutes 44 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), two music videos – Die Krupps ‘Rise Up’ (4 minutes 2 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive) and Stereo Total ‘Die Frau in der Musik’ (2 minutes 17 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), two shot films also directed by Jörg Buttgereit, ‘A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein’ (2 minutes 4 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and ‘Bloody Excess in the Leaders Bunker’ (7 minutes 59 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in German with English subtitles) with optional audio commentary with Jörg Buttgereit, a featurette titled ‘The Making of Nekromantik 2’ (27 minutes 45 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive, in English and German with English subtitles) and an audio commentary with director / co-screenwriter Jörg Buttgereit, co-screenwriter Franz Rodenkirchen and actors Monika M. and Mark Reeder.
Topics discussed in the ‘Making of’ featurette include, what he likes most about Nekromantik 2, why he wanted to make a sequel and why he chose a woman as its lead character, how Nekromantik 2 is a warmer experience than its predecessor, designing the corpse used in the film and cast reflections on the role they played in the film. The German audio track is compiled from radio interviews with Buttgereit and Rodenkirchen.
Topics discussed in this lively audio commentary include, they joke about how people complained that on their commentary track for Schramm that they had too thick of German accents, the reason why Bernd Daktari Lorenz did not return for the sequel, the film’s score, casting decisions and the difficulty they had in finding an actress for the lead role, how this film was banned in Germany and its subsequent court battles and this film’s ending. Also everyone speaks in English and all the participants are obviously having a lot of fun as they are constantly laughing as reminiscent about the roles they played in this film.
Extras exclusive to this release include, an interview with actor / musician Mark Reeder titled ‘Nerco Waltz’ (5 minutes 8 seconds – 1080 progressive, in English), a featurette with film scholar Dr. Marcus Stiglegger titled ‘Necropolis: Jörg Buttgereit’s Berlin’ (9 minute 1 second – 1080 progressive, in English), a featurette titled ‘City of the Living Dead’ (9 minutes 13 seconds – 1080 progressive, in English) and a brand new documentary titled ‘Masters of Life and Death’ (36 minutes 58 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen, in English) with comments from Jörg Buttgereit, Manfred Jelinski, Monika M. and Mark Reeder.
Topics discussed in the interview with Mark Reeder include, how he got involved in the German music scene, how the theme for Nerkromantik 2 is a stylized version of the main theme featured in Nekromantik, he reveals his favorite moment from the score and other unused ideas that he had for the score.
Topics discussed in ‘Necropolis: Jörg Buttgereit’s Berlin’ include, the significance of the German capital as the backdrop for Nekromantik 2. And for the extra titled ‘City of the Living Dead’ Mark Reeder and producer / cameraman Manfred Jelinski revisit the various locations featured in the film.
Topics discussed in the extra titled ‘Masters of Life and Death’ include, why there was a hesitation to make a sequel for Nekromantik, trying with each new film to be different then the last one, shooting on 16mm, the difficulty finding the lead actress, working with inexperienced actors and how to get the most out their performances, on set memories, filming in East Berlin during a significant time in its history, censorship in Germany at the time and the court case brought against Nekromantik 2.
Other extras include a DVD counterpart to the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo, a 24-track CD with the film’s score, individually-numbered certificates (#1-3,000), a set of 5 Exclusive Limited Edition Nekromantik ‘polaroid’ postcards, limited edition packaging featuring new artwork by Gilles Vranckx and a 100-page Book with cast & crew credits, an essay titled ‘Jörg Buttgereits Nekromantik’s, or Sadean Shock of the Body’ written by David Kerekes, ‘Report Regarding the Feature Film Nekromantik 2’ an academic article submitted on the filmmakers behalf in regards to German courts persecution of the film, an essay titled ‘I Love the Dead: A Half Century of Necrophilc Cinema’ written by Kier-La Janisse, an essay about the film titled ‘Truly Shocking: The Real Life Inspiration Behind Jörg Buttgereit’s Nekromantik’s’ written by Dr. Charlie Oughton, Nekromantik 2 Soundtrack track listing and Nekromantik 2 Livekonzert track listing and information about the transfers. Rounding out the extra is Nekromantik 2 Livekonzert – the complete 20-track audio recording of the concert (BD/DVD-ROM content). Overall Nekromantik 2 gets an definitive release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.