Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NEKROMANTIK (1987) Special Edition Blu-ray

NEKROMANTIC (1987) 

Label:
Cult Epics
Duration: 75 Minutes 

Rating: Unrated 
Region Code: A
Audio: German Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p  Full Screen (1.33:1)
Director: Jørg Buttgereit 
Cast: Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice M.

Nekromantik is the story of a strange young man named Rob Schmadtke (Daktari Lorenz) whom is employed at Joe's Streetcleaning Agency, a service that cleans-up crime scenes. It's a grisly job but one that suits of Ron who is a necrophile. Rob collects various body parts from the accident and crime scenes and keeps them in specimen jars at his apartment where both he and his death-obsessed girlfriend Betty (Beatrice M.) can get-off on touching and stroking the gruesome body parts. 

As this morbid fascination becomes more intense Rob steals a gooey corpse freshly pulled from the swamps and brings it home to the perverse delight of his girlfriend. They immediately fashion a iron-cock from scrap piping and before you know it we are treated to a very macabre threesome as Betty licks, sucks and fucks the rotting, tight-skinned cadaver as Rob takes her from behind in a trippy and revolting sequence.

However, when Rob loses his job Betty dumps him and takes her corpse-lover with her. Dumped in favor of a corpse poor Rob further spirals into the maddening depths of misery. He attends a misogynist slasher movie at the cinema before procuring a prostitute to fuck at the graveyard. Seems thr grave stones aren't enough to excite Rob as he experiences a bit of erectile dysfunction but rises to the occasion once he strangles her to death. It sex just isn't the same without the element of death for the depraved necrophiliac.

Afterward he further descends into disparity back at his apartment, he stuffs his cat into a trash bag and smashes it repeatedly against the wall into a bloody pulp. Now the cat is a prop but let me say that animal lovers will take exception with this film just in case the necrophilia didn't scare you off. Additionally, there's an actual scene of what appears to be an actual rabbit being bled to death, skinned and gutted - so just be aware of that. 

Shot on Super 8 mm film in 1987 the film has a rough homemade quality about it that won't appeal to your average horror-fan, so pile that on top of scenes of necrophilia and the death of small animals and you have a film that just doesn't;'t have a lot of appeal to your average joe. The very first shot is of a woman urinating along the roadside just before her and a male companion are involved in a horrendous car accident that leaves the woman torn in half, it's in aftermath of this that we meet Rob during the crime- scene clean-up. 

There were quite a few repulsive scenes but one of the first to affect me was the repeated bare handed handling of a corpses which made me a bit nauseous. The gore effects are low-budget and grotesque. When the lovers of the dead start to lick and suck the eye-socket of the cadaver I had to put my damn beer down for a few minutes before it came back up on me. 

Aside from the licking of body parts and the corpse there a few other effective gore gags including a sweet decapitation scene with spewing blood at he graveyard when Rob is discovered next to the dead whore the next morning. Speaking of spewing we cannot overlook perhaps the most infamous scene in the film - SPOILER ALERT - when Rob completely distraught lies in bed and pulls out his erect cock and begins stabbing himself in the guts repeatedly as thick streams of cum start to spew and them torrents of blood straight from his cock. It's definitely a scene you won't soon be erased from your memory. 


Blu-ray: The brand-new HD transfer approved by the director straight from the original Super 8mm negative is not a pretty sight. It's a lo-fi film made for pennies over twenty-five years ago and it looks like it. It's soft, the contrast is poor, the darker scenes are at times impenetrable and there's no fine detail to be found anywhere. This was a first time watch for me on any format and I can only assume this is superior viewing experience but without having something to compare it to I can only say this was a disappointing Blu-ray experience. I didn't go in expecting crystal clarity and pores of the skin to be jumping off the screen but it was a very flat and dull presentation. 

There are two versions of the film - we have the 8mm HD transfer and one from a 35mm print which looked like it been around awhile. Honestly I preferred it to the 8mm - it's darker and the colors are more muted but the grain and print damage added a lot of character to the viewing. 

Audio is also flat and unremarkable, both the stereo and surround mixes. Recorded without audio the dialogue was later dubbed in which gives it a weird disconnected vibe which suits the nightmarish imagery quite nicely. 

Onto the extras we have audio commentary by Jorg Buttgereit and Co-Author Franz Rodenkirchen plus a making-of doc and a featurette for NEKROMANTIK. The making-of doc features a bunch of unused scenes, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage.  Buttegreit's short film HOT LOVE (1985)  is included on this disc and has never before been released, there's also a short making-of doc for the short film. .


There's a Q+A with Buttgereit from Beyond Fest 2013wherein he discussed everything from making the film to German schizer porn. There's also a collection of JB trailers, a still photo gallery and the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is included as a bonus on the Blu-ray disc, which I would have appreciated more if it were a stand alone CD disc. This release is Limited Edition of 10,000 copies and includes Nekromantik collectible art cards by Johnny Ryan and Nekrophilia photo of Beatrice M. from the film. 

The PQ left me wanting a bit more but perhaps these are the best available elements currently so it is what it is. I think the selection of extras more than make up it. There's a lot to sift through here and it;s interesting to hear the director speak at length about legal troubles while fighting censorship plus we get the short film that preceded NEKROMANTIK with some very cool making-of extras with a wealth of behind-the-scenes material.  

Special Features:
- New Director’s Approved HD Transfer (taken from the original Super 8mm negative)
- New Grindhouse HD Version (taken from the theatrical 35mm print)
- Introduction by Jorg Buttgereit
- Q+A with Jorg Buttgereit at the American Cinematheque (2013)
- Never Before Released Short Film Hot Love (1985) (29 minutes)
- Audio Commentary by Jorg Buttgereit and Co-Author Franz Rodenkirchen
- The Making of Nekromantik (12 minutes)
- Nekromantik Featurette
- Still Photo Gallery (102 images)
- JB Trailers
- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Verdict: A dark and vile piece of cinema that I won;t soon be revisiting - it's right up there with CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST as a film you should really never be in the mood to watch but instead feel compelled to endure from time to time. Glad I finally watched it though I'm not sure when I'll feel the compulsion to view it again. 

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