Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 16th, 2014
BluRay released: October 7th, 2014
Approximate running time: 71 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 German, Dolby Digital Stereo German
BluRay Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95
Synopsis: A young man named Rob uses his job where he collects and disposes of corpses to help build his growing collection of body parts. Not satisfied with just collecting mere body parts, one day he brings home an intact corpse. Rob in not alone in his obsession for the dead, his girlfriend Betty is also a necrophiliac. Unfortunately there moment of bliss would be short lived and Rob’s world will be turned inside out when Betty decides to leave him for the corpse he recently brought home. Unable to cope with this great loss he seeks out new avenues in hope that he will be able to fill the void that now dominates his life.
Today’s audiences are constantly bombarded with violent imagery in films and in the news, which has led to a desensitization towards violence. And though it appears that each new film appears to be trying to outdo the last one when it comes to pushing the limits in regards to its depiction of violence. There are always going to be those films that are beyond the fringe that would shock even the most jaded cinema file. Case in point, Nekromantik a film that is just a potent today as the moment it was unleashed on audiences twenty six years ago.
On subject matter alone, there are very few films that are going to push buttons more than Nekromatik, a film that features a protagonist who obsession with necrophilia is bound to revolt the majority of perspective viewers. And if this were this film’s only objective, then it would have already faded away into obscurity.
Fortunately this film is not your run of mill shock and awe gore feast. And at the core of this film is story about love and death and how these two things are intertwined. Other subjects that this film explores include obsession and dealing with a loss of a loved one.
With that being said, this is the type of film that is bound to divide perspective viewers. It is a film that defies all genre conventions and more importantly it is a rare example of film capturing the true essence of horror. And though things that go bump in the night are bound to make most jolt, this film takes you to place where even the darkest of dreams are an afterthought compared to the events which unfold in this film.
From a production stand point there is a rawness to the visuals that add a level of authenticity to them. With the two scenes involving the corpse being fondled and the film’s brutal final being this film’s most memorable moments visually. And when it comes to moments of gore or bloodshed the film’s delivers in spades. The one area of this film that is most surprising is how well it incorporates humor into such a morbid tale.
Performance this are more than adequate as the majority of the characters within this film are mere props to further the story along. Thankfully the strongest performances come from this film’s two leads, Bernd Daktari Lorenz in the role of Robert and Beatrice Manowski (Wings of Desire) in the role of Betty. Both actors totally immerse themselves into the performances.
Since the beginning of cinema filmmakers have been forced to create within a confined area that far too often dilutes their vision. Thankfully not all filmmakers are content to just toe the line and that is why films like Nekromantik exists. Ultimately Nekromantik is a truly unique cinema experience that is best summed up as ‘cinema without boundaries’.
Nekromantik 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 easily the best this film has looked to date on home video. The film was shot on 8mm and there are many limitations to this format. Outside of few darker moments colors look very good, details generally look crisp and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in German and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in German. Both audio mixes sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout. Range wise the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in German sounds more robust of these two audio mixes. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, two postcards, a extensive stills gallery and 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), Schramm (1 minute 31 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive) and Hot Love (1 minute 10 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive).
Other extras include, a Q & A with co-screenwriter / director Jörg Buttgereit (39 minutes 56 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), a short film also directed by Buttgereit titled ‘Hot Love’ (29 minutes 5 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive, in German with English subtitles), a featurette titled ‘The Making of Nekromantik’ (12 minutes 24 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive), an interview with Buttgereit and producer Manfred O. Jelinski (9 minutes 23 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive) and a ‘Making of’ segment for Hot Love (3 minutes 27 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive).
Topics discussed in the Q & A include the difficulties faced making Nekromantik, issues with censorship, the origins of the film, the film’s distribution history, how the two Nekromantik films represent the city of Berlin which at the time the first film was made it was divided by the Berlin wall, the film’s score, how the majority of shots had to be achieved in one take including the gruesome finale, his thoughts on the Japanese version which altered many shots with mosaic, Pink Flamingo’s and John Waters influence on the way he approaches cinema and he also talks about his other films. The ‘The Making of Nekromantik’ featurette is a collection of onset footage, stills and outtakes, that have comments from Jörg Buttgereit and Franz Rodenkirchen who discuss the origins of the film, true crime books and their influence on this film, depiction of violence in horror cinema and the special effects. Topics discussed in the interview with Buttgereit and producer Manfred O. Jelinski include constructing the corpse used in the film, raising the money need to make this film, the script, finding an actress to fulfill this film’s unique requirements, how the two leads in this film did not get along, how a the film was confiscated before a theatrical showing in Norway, the various home video releases this film has received around the world and censorship that it faced in a few countries. The ‘Making of’ segment for Hot Love is essentially footage of those who have just seen the film and their thoughts on what they have just seen.
Rounding out the extras is an option to listen to the film’s soundtrack, a Grindhouse version of the film that was sourced from a 35mm print (71 minutes 9 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio 1080 Progressive, in German with English subtitles). Quality wise the Grindhouse version’s transfer is not in as good of shape as the other transfer included as part of this release. And though it has more print debris, it does give fans of this film an option to see this film the way most viewers saw during its original theatrical release. And an audio commentary with Jörg Buttgereit and screenwriter Franz Rodenkirchen, who discuss locations, special effects, the cast, the score, how they wanted to create a film that would not look dated, the difficulties on shooting on a limited budget and shooting over a prolonged period of time, the look of the film and why there are so many close-ups in this film and their thoughts on key sequences. Overall Nekromantik gets an exceptional release from Cult Epics, highly recommended.
Note: This release is a limited edition of 10000 Blu-rays and 2000 2 Disc DVDs.