The controversial horror film that shocked the world in 1987, when it was banned in Germany, censored in Japan and simultaneously became a huge underground hit in the US (now long out of print.) Nekromantik tells the story of Rob (Daktari Lorenz) who works at a street-cleaning agency, who visits roadside accidents to clean up the scene. Incidentally, Rob collects the body parts and shares them with his girlfriend Betty (Beatrice M.) When Rob presents a complete corpse taken out of a swamp, their undying love reaches its peak, but soon after Betty starts liking the corpse and leaves Rob, which takes him to the sick end of his destruction.
'Nekromantik' is one of those movies that was probably hidden behind the counter at your favorite video store growing up. It was always hard to come by, and if you found a copy of it, you knew you had struck gold, because it was banned in several countries as it is still today. No, this is not a movie from the 60s, but in fact is an 80s film, however, it definitely looks like it was shot over fifty years ago. This is one of those films that you heard people talk about how gross and vile it was, because it dealt with some pretty taboo subjects head on.
But nowadays, it seems like every news channel or cable channel has something just as disgusting or violent in it, which might limit the film's shock value today. However, there are still many scenes here that will no doubt make you cover your eyes and squirm out of your chair. And luckily for us, Cult Epics has released 'Nekromantik' on Blu-ray with a limited run of 10,000 copies, full of excellent bonus features.
At its core, this movie is a love story that is full of heartbreak about a couple named Rob and Betty. Rob and Betty are very much in love, however they both share the same sadistic turn on - becoming intimate with corpses, which is called necrophilia. Luckily for Rob, he has the perfect job as part of a disposal team of dead bodies in the area. Instead of disposing of them, he takes bits and pieces of each corpse, as well as whole dead bodies back home to his lovely wife Betty, so the two of them can get their jollies off.
However, Rob's boss figures out that Rob is stealing these bodies and fires him, which causes Betty to leave him, because he is now jobless, hopeless, and pathetic. It's heartbreaking, I know. All Rob ever wanted was to make Betty happy, and now he has entered a rough phase of self-loathing and depression. Director Jorg Buttgereit sure had a sick way of showing us the sad emotions of someone going through a break up, and he was unrelenting at it.
'Nekromantic' was made on a zero budget, meaning, Jorg probably had volunteers help him shoot the film, and paid his actors only a few dollars. It probably cost him less than $5000.00 to make this film, and it shows. However, over the years, many people and critics have given this schlocky film with almost zero dialogue a good amount of praise. That's because Jörg's eye is quite artistic when he is covering these diabolical sex scenes. It's as if he was trying to paint a live picture on a canvas and show the sickness in people.
Through trippy sex scenes, real animal killings, and the whole necrophilia angle, Jörg has us end up at the ultimate climax, which was pitch perfect if not completely shocking, even for this type of movie. The two actors here deliver very real and organic performances to their roles as two sick individuals whose lives intersected over this twisted obsession and the disastrous results it produced. One thing is for sure, you'll never look at love, sex, or death in the same way again after watching 'Nekromantik'.
'Nekromantik' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer from the original Super 8mm negative and is presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which was approved by Jörg Buttgereit himself. In addition to this, you can choose to watch the Grindhouse HD version, which was taken from the theatrical 35mm print. It just depends on how you want your experience to be when watching this sick and depraved movie. Overall, this film was shot on Super 8mm, which means the source material and image was in pretty rough condition from the get go. It's amazing how well Cult Epics did with this transfer, considering the history of the movie.
The best looking version is the director approved one, and might be the best this film has ever looked. That being said, colors are still very muted and vague, the image is very grainy, soft and fuzzy at times as well. But that's not because of the transfer, but because of the source material. There are some instances where detail is stronger than others, specifically when the sadistic couple are fondling a fresh and gooey corpse. But don't expect tons of fresh closeups with individual hairs showing. Now if you prefer these types of films to look rough like an old Grindhouse film, then choose the Grindhouse HD version, which is chock full of dirt, debris, scratches, and warps to satisfy that midnight schlocky experience. But overall, this is a fantastic video presentation.
This release comes also with two different audio options. One is a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option with the other being a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. Both are in German with English subtitles. The 5.1 option has a fuller sound to it, but not by much, where the 2.0 stereo mix is perfectly fine as well. This film was originally recorded in mono, so the presence of these big audio mixes are not that necessary, considering there is very little dialogue or sound effects in this 75-minute film. Most of the movie is a set to a funny, yet haunting score, which perfectly fits this oddball movie. Dialogue is easy enough to follow, but don't expect great crystal clear sound here. And the little sound effects the film has do the trick, but just barely. Still with all it's production history and zero budget, this is still a great transfer.
Intro by Jörg Buttgereit (HD, 2 Mins.) - An Intro from director Jörg talking at Beyond Fest on the Grindhouse HD version of the film. This is only viewable if you choose the Grindhouse HD version of the film.
Audio Commentary - Jörg and co-writer Franz Rodenkirchen deliver a funny and lively commentary track on their film. There is a lot of laughter as they discuss the low budget, the camera limitations, working with the actors and makeup effects, an d the impact it has had over the years. This is definitely worth listening to.
Q & A With Buttgereit at Beyond Fest (HD, 40 Mins.) - Here is a lengthy Q & A session with the director where he discusses everything about making the film. It's quite a fun watch.
The Making of 'Nekromantik' (SD, 13 Mins.) - Here is a behind the scenes look at some of the making of the film with cast and crew acting goofy on screen and some of the prosthetics used in the film. The film part is silent with the score and Jörg narrating over the film.
'Nekromantik' Featurette (SD, 10 Mins.) - Here is a black and white interview with Jörg as he talks about making the film with behind the scenes clips playing from time to time.
'Hot Love' Short Film (HD, 29 Mins.) - Here is a short film by director Jörg and some of the same actors from 'Nekromantik' that shows a hot couple in love. I won't go much further into it, but let's just say I'll never look at the birthing process the same way again.
'Hot Love' Featurette (HD, 4 Mins.) - The short film has it's own extra where it shows the actors and director at the premiere of the short. The whole extra is in black and white. The audio is off and everything is in German with no English subtitles, so who knows what is going on.
'Hot Love' Audio Commentary - Jörg discusses his short film in detail and gives a good amount of technical information as well as some stories from the set.
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (74 Mins.) - The entire soundtrack from the film.
Still Photo Gallery - There are 102 photos to go through, all of which are cool and show some fun behind the scenes shots.
Trailers (HD, 10 Mins.) - Trailers for 'Nekromantik', 'Nekromantik 2', 'Hot Love', and two other films.
'Nekromantik' is not for the weak or anyone who thinks AMC's 'Walking Dead' is too vile and gross. Even though this is a love story at it's core, it's a very twisted and sadistic love story, one that will leave you talking for days. But Jörg's artistic eye helps us look at love, sex, and death in a completely different way, even though this film was made on basically a zero dollar budget. The video is definitely the best it has ever looked, and the sound is pretty good as well, considering the source material. And there are so many great extras on this release, that it's entirely worth owning this Blu-ray strictly for the bonus features. Don't think twice about buying 'Nekromantik' if you're a fan. This is for fans only.