BLU-RAY REVIEW: NEKROMANTIK / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: JORG BUTTGEREIT / SCREENPLAY: JORG BUTTGEREIT / STARRING: BERND DAKTARI LORENZ, BEATRICE MANOWSKI, HARALD LUNDT, COLLOSEO SCHULZENDORF / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Fans of extreme cinema rejoice! Jorg Buttergreit's infamous German grindhouse movie arrives for the first time ever on UK home cinema. As we've come to expect by now, the fine folks at Arrow Video have done a fantastic job with this release, bringing British audiences the definitive Nekromantik experience. And 'experience' is the only word for Nekromantik.
The very basic story sees street cleaner Rob (not the sort that deals with cadavers rather than crisp packets) appropriate a decomposing corpse in order to spice up things in the bedroom with his wife, Betty. Wait, what? At first necrophiliacs Rob and Betty have a great time with their pet carcass, strapping various bits to his person and playing suck-eye with his lone remaining eyeball. As scenes of body horror go, this makes David Cronenberg look like Richard Curtis. For the duration of its big lovemaking scenes, Nekromantik is precisely as bad as its reputation suggests. That, coupled with its scenes of non-simulated animal murder and explicit grot, makes it a very difficult prospect.
Look past that (if you can), however, and you'll be rewarded with one of the most original horror films ever made. Beyond its more obviously extreme elements, there's a sweeter story than one might expect, and a dirty, almost surreal visual palette not dissimilar to Tobe Hooper's classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Blu-ray set comes with standard and high definition versions of the movie, plus an authentically dirty 35mm 'Grindhouse' print very much in keeping with the film's aesthetic. To have it looking too cleaned up and tidy just wouldn't do. This is a film, after all, that was made primarily to annoy Germany's censors, with no intention on Buttergreit's part of a subsequent career in filmmaking. The rest, as they say, is history.
That history is raked over in a comprehensive set of documentaries and commentaries available among the film's bonus features. Arrow have done a bang (no pun intended) up job putting this one together, from the cover artwork to its compilation of special features. Shell out for the extra special edition, and you'll find yourself the proud owner of the film's soundtrack on CD (like Riz Ortolani's Cannibal Holocaust score, it's a thing of beauty among a lot of muck and putrescence). It may have taken almost thirty years to reach home video, but it's been well worth the wait. There's no better way to experience Nekromantik than this. As a rediscovery, it's even better.
Nekromantik isn't necessarily a film to be enjoyed, but it is one worth seeking out. It's unpleasant, cruel to cats and bunny rabbits alike, and very rough around the edges, but it's about as authentic and honest as horror cinema gets. You know, if you can look past all the carry-on with the carrion.
Special Features: Three audio commentaries / Director’s introduction to Nekromantik / ‘In conversation with The Death King’ interview with Butggereit / ‘Morbid Fascination’ documentary / Q&A with Buttgereit / Four featurettes / Buttgereit-directed music videos / Trailers / Stills gallery / Individually-numbered certificate / 5 exclusive limited edition polaroid postcards / 100-page book / 27-track CD soundtrack
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