Blu-Ray Review - Nekromantik (1988) - Arrow Films

Reviewed by Paul Crowson

Made in 1988, the German extreme horror movie Nekromantik, directed by Jorg Buttgereit, finally gets classified uncut in the UK, and Arrow Films have given it the very special deluxe treatment.

PLOT
Rob is a cleaner who, along with his work colleagues, cleans up after rather awful accidents. A perfect job for Rob as he and his wife/partner are also necrophiles. He collects body parts in jars and, one day, brings home a full corpse for both of them to, ahem, enjoy. After Rob then loses his job, his love life and world begin to collapse around him.

MOVIE
First off, if you are a horror fan and your definition of horror is seeing Jason, Freddy and Chucky running around chasing teens, I warn you now, Nekromantik is certainly NOT of that ilk.
It’s an EXTREME movie, I don’t even know if I can class it as horror. The special effects are great for a low budget movie and are horrific, but Nekromantik seems more like an art house movie, made purely to push boundaries, or, to be more precise, push censorship and people who work at the likes of the BBFC into meltdown. You can see them now with their heads in their hands saying, "cut this, cut this, cut this!" As the world has grown somewhat, so has the relaxation of the BBFC it would seem, hip hip hooray!
Well yes censorship is bad, but then again, in my opinion, so is seeing a rabbit really killed onscreen, for nothing other than a somewhat arty sequence. There is definitely something about Nekromantik, I get why its a cult favourite and I get why people are over the moon its been finally released. I just don’t get everything about it. I think that behind the pretension, there is a movie I could really get behind. A really quite horrific weird, twisted love story.
If you are an extreme fan, as in, the more a movie pushes boundaries, the more you love it, then this movie is for you, and this release will delight you. For general horror/movie fans, it's a curious watch, but, just be advised, your 89 year old Great Aunt won’t be happy if you make her watch it after the Christmas dinner. Hmmmmm or will she? I myself am still pondering on it.
Yeah there are some bits, the animal death being the main one, that I could do without, but the movie is still making me think after it's finished, and that, is always the key.

BLU RAY REVIEW
For this release, Arrow have really gone to town, and I mean gone to town! This is the blu version of champagne and limo style going to town. There is so much on the disc by way of special features, short films, documentaries, trailers, interviews and an audio commentary. If you are in anyway a fan of extreme German horror, or are a Jorg Buttgereit fan, you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of this limited edition set. Everything you need to know is featured. Audio is great, although speaking no German, I read the subtitles. The score was great and so it's a good thing that the soundtrack is also included in the set.
Being a low budget movie, made back in the 80s, the remastering of the blu is very impressive. Obviously don’t expect it to be like todays blockbusters, but Arrow have done a great job here and should get elbow ache from patting themselves on the back.

TECHNICAL SPECS
Release Date - Monday 15th December 2014
Certificate 18
Formats - Blu-ray and DVD
Language - German
Running Time - 71 minutes
Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1
Audio - Stereo
Colour
RRP Digipak £19.99
Blu-ray Cat Number FCD1020

SPECIAL FEATURES
3-DISC DIRECTOR-APPROVED LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
· High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of three Buttgereit films: Nekromantik (1987), Hot Love (1985) [29 mins] and Horror Heaven (1984) [23 mins]
· Optional English subtitles for all three films
· Limited Edition packaging featuring new artwork by Gilles Vranckx
· Individually-numbered #/3,000 Certificate
· Set of 5 Exclusive Limited Edition Nekromantik “polaroid” postcards
· 27 track Nekromantik soundtrack CD
· Exclusive Limited Edition 100-page book.

DISC 1 [BLU-RAY] & DISC 2 [DVD] – NEKROMANTIK & JÖRG BUTTGEREIT SHORT FILMS
· Nekromantik audio commentary with Jörg Buttgereit and co writer Franz Rodenkirchen
· Hot Love audio commentary with Buttgereit
· Horror Heaven audio commentary with Buttgereit
· Director’s introduction to Nekromantik
· Alternative “Grindhouse Version” of Nekromantik, newly-transferred for this release from the only existing 35mm print [Blu-ray only]
· In Conversation with The Death King – A brand-new 2014 interview with Buttgereit conducted exclusively for this release
· Morbid Fascination: The Nekromantik Legacy – A brand-new 2014 documentary looking at the impact of the film on the horror scene both in the UK and abroad, featuring interviews with genre critic Alan Jones, Marc Morris, producer of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide Parts 1 & 2, and Buttgereit biographer David Kerekes
· Q&A with Buttgereit recorded at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (2014)
· The Making of Nekromantik – A vintage documentary featuring a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, newly-transferred in HD and viewable with two different audio tracks: an English commentary with Buttgereit, co-author Franz Rodenkirchen and David Kerekes, and a German-language audio track featuring radio interviews with Buttgereit, Rodenkirchen and producer Manfred Jelinski
· Nekromantik Featurette – A look back at the film’s production, featuring interviews with Buttgereit and Jelinski, produced for the film’s 10-year anniversary German VHS release
· Nekromantik Premiere – A short featurette comprised of footage from the film’s premiere in Berlin, January 1988
· “Das Letzte” – A short featurette comprising footage from the 1985 premiere of Hot Love
· Horror Heaven trailer featuring outtakes from the film
· Two Buttgereit-directed music videos: ‘I Can’t Let Go’ by Shock Therapy (1995) and ‘Lemmy, I’m a Feminist’ by Half Girl (2013)
· Complete collection of Buttgereit feature film trailers: Nekromantik, Der Todesking, Nekromantik 2 and Schramm
· Extensive image gallery including behind-the-scenes stills and the rare, surrealist German-language Nekromantik comic by Berlin artist Fil, reproduced in its entirety.

DISC 3 [CD] – NEKROMANTIK SOUNDTRACK: ULTIMATE EDITION – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
· 27-track CD featuring the complete Nekromantik soundtrack composed and performed by star Daktari Lorenz and musicians John Boy Walton and Hermann Kopp, plus rare tracks from Hot Love.

100-PAGE BOOK – ‘ROMANCE IS DEAD’ – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
· Exclusive perfect-bound book featuring a new article on Nekromantik from critic Graham Rae, alongside pieces from writers David Kerekes (Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit), Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women), Linnie Blake (The Wounds of Nations) and an archive interview with real-life necrophile Karen Greenlee, all illustrated with new artwork and original archive stills.

Written by Paul Crowson

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