Review Date: June 15, 2003
Released by: Barrel Entertainment
Release date: 6/10/2003
Region 1, NTSC
Full Frame 1.33:1
Soon after Nekromantik was released by Barrel Entertainment, fans of Jorg Buttgereit wanted more. Questions revolved regarding when and if Schramm
, Nekromantik 2
, and Der Todesking would make the leap to DVD. Schramm
was released in 2001, and after visiting the macabre mind of Roger Watkins last year with Last House on Dead End Street
, Barrel has returned to Buttgereit this year with Nekromantik 2
. The double disc set is packed with extras, music, and a little teaser from Buttgereit himself regarding the DVD status of Der Todesking
. Continuing the tradition of controversial, underground horror titles, Barrel Entertainment pulls no punches with their latest release, Nekromantik 2
I have always been a fan of sequels that pick up right were the last film left off. During the opening credits of Nekromantik 2
, we revisit Rob's (Daktari Lorenz) shocking scene that prompted a response from all who have seen the end of Nekromantik
. A short time later, Monika (Monika M.) takes a shovel to Rob's grave and takes his body to her apartment. By this time, Rob is in a sickening state of decomposition. While still at a relatively early stage, he has already lost the pigment in his skin and is simply a dark, slimy eroding corpse. While Monika is turned on by Rob's condition, his body's current state will not allow her to actively pursue her fantasies. What's a woman to do? Since Rob's overall body is fairly useless to her, she finds a way to keep a few mementos from him and return the leftovers to his grave.
Mark (Mark Reeder) is in a seemingly worthless relationship. When he isn't earning a living dubbing lines and sound effects into porn movies, he is currently in a relationship with a lady who doesn't value him as a boyfriend. While waiting for her to show up at the theater for a date, Mark meets Monika. Since his 'girlfriend' is once again late for their engagement, Mark offers his extra ticket to Monika and the two spend the evening together. They hit it off and begin to see one another on a regular basis. Mark believes that he has finally found true love, while Monika still dreams of having a dead man between her legs. Slowly, Mark realizes that Monika may not be the angel he once thought. As the two get closer, Monika has a harder time hiding her dark secret of necrophilia. While Mark may be hearing wedding bells in his head, Monika is looking forward "till death do us part".
has a totally different feel and tone to it. While the first film was gritty and dark, filling the screen with violent images and an in depth look at how necrophilia affects a couple, this polished sequel almost seems shy in comparison. While some of the visuals would prompt most viewers to leave the room in disgust, fans of the first installment may not be as shocked the second time around. The film starts off with a bang by reacquainting us with Rob and his gruesome demise and jumping right into Monika's lust for the dead. The film neglects dialogue for the first 19:28 of the movie, allowing the actions to speak louder than words. Once Mark is introduced, you will notice a huge shift in the momentum of the film. The movie changes from a gloomy, horrific tale to a dysfunctional love story. The dialogue begins and the soul of the movie begins to erode away like Rob's body. The courtship between Monika and Mark monopolizes the movie, which is a bit of a turn off for fans of Nekromantik. While Monika struggles with her love for the living versus her lust for the dead, the horror aspect of the movie becomes a backdrop to her time with Mark. We spend a great portion of the film wandering if Monika is going to merely dream about dead lovers, go find more, or if she is just setting Mark up for death.
While the tone of Nekromantik 2
is not what I had hoped for, the film itself is still enjoyable. I was never bored with the content; it just seemed out of place. At times it felt like Buttgereit was trying to use graphic visuals to fill in gaps and retain the audience that would actively pursue his movies. After the releases of Nekromantik
, fans have gotten used to rotting corpses, dismembering, and bodily harm. The strengths of these films were the harsh and sickening thought that events like this can take place. If you need only one reason to sit through Nekromantik 2
it is for the ending. While Nekromantik had a shock ending that was considered amusing to some (especially in Japan), the ending in Nekromantik 2
will blow you away. To top what seems to be the movie's final scene, Buttgereit adds a cherry to the sundae by giving us a bit more. The film, while not known for its dialogue, ends on a classic line. It is amazing to me how an ending can make or break a movie. While I was not overly impressed with the sequel, I would watch the film again, just for the payoff at the end. Though I thought Nekromantik ended well, it didn't necessarily have to go over the top to stay fresh in my mind. The movie itself, most notably the menage a trios, burned images in my mind with a ghastly tone and crude subject matter. Nekromantik 2
needed a strong ending, other wise it would be regarded as just a lackluster sequel. Just as the rug tied The Dude's room together in The Big Lebowski
, the climax in Nekromantik 2
shows that Buttgereit had a point to his love story angle by bringing us full circle before the end credits came up.
So why do we watch films like Nekromantik
, or Nekromantik 2
? Why are films like this made? Is it a visual taboo? Is it some sort of outlet to push the envelope by watching extreme acts of violence and perverse nature? Buttgereit has maintained a similar theme throughout his three DVD's released by Barrel Entertainment. He deals with death, loneliness, perversion, and violence that all seem to toe the line of sanity. If only one of his movies were made this way, one could write it off as shock cinema, but he has maintained this theme throughout his movies. I think it is a way for Buttgereit to fictionalize acts that unfortunately grab headlines in newspapers all of the time. It is a method, albeit controversial, to come face to face with the fears of life and death by acting them out on a screen. It allows us to get into the heads of a Rob Schmadtke or Lothar Schramm
and see what sets them off. The movies bring this sick reality onto our televisions and allow us to safely visualize acts that many of us (hopefully) will never face. Do events like necrophilia occur in the real world? Yes. Are horror fans sick for watching this behavior acted out on the screen? I'll leave that for you to decide. Many of the people who turn their noses up to films like Nekromantik 2
are the same ones who slow down their vehicles when a car accident occurs on the highway. Those are the same nay sayers who are actively trying to catch a glimpse of a real life horror. How is that any different than tuning into a violent horror movie? Our glimpse into the world of Monika is no different than that rubbernecker on the highway who would never rent a movie with such violence, but wants a look to see 'what happened'. Horror fans simply call upon their voyeuristic nature when choosing a movie, rather than personalize it on the streets. Too bad we don't have an OFF button for real life sometimes.
shows a definite improvement in picture quality over the over the first installment. It was digitally mastered from the original camera negative with a Sprit DataCine high definition film scanner. The process was supervised by the film's producer, Manfred O. Jelinski. Presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Nekromantik 2
looks fantastic. First off, the film has a more polished look to it. It is primarily from not having the restrictions of Super-8, but more refined 16mm stock. Whenever there is a flashback to Nekromantik
, the shots are in a grainy black and white. This dark look not only works well by giving these scenes a dated feel, they also show how far we have come in terms of picture quality from the first film, which did have Super-8 origins. Nekromantik 2
has some great shots and boasts sharp colors for a fairly obscure movie from the early 90's. Despite the refined look, there are some flaws on the print. Some scratches and specks show up occasionally and a couple of the darker scenes are grainy. Even with these flaws, the picture never gets to a distractingly poor quality. If you watch 'The Making of Nekromantik 2
', you will see just how much this picture improves upon the quality that fans have had to this point. The aged look and bleeding reds are all but gone in this print. The DVD will change layers at the 1:16:53 mark, which is during a scene. The layer change will certainly catch your attention, but it will only freeze the action for a second. Maybe since I was expecting the rough look that Nekromantik had, the overall picture quality of this movie was a welcome surprise.
Presented only in German, fans will have the choice between a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix or the film's original mono track. Many fans will opt for the English subtitles (which can be removed) and blend in well with the film. Jorg Buttgereit has never been big on conversation, so his films have a 'silent era' feel to them. The story is progressed well maximizing the actions onscreen with a variety of musical scores and sound effects. The dialogue that is spoken is at a decent level. Nothing will have you laughing harder than Mark in the studio dubbing porn films. The music, while not quite as dark as the first film, helps set the tone for Nekromantik 2
. There are some genuinely good scores that set a gentle tone, then some other tracks that reflect the rough nature of the action onscreen. Of course, the mono soundtrack isn't as full as the stereo track. For the purists reading this, have at it. I would suggest utilizing the ambiance provided by the front speakers with strong digital sound.
Loaded with extras, Nekromantik 2
features a running commentary by director Jorg Buttgereit, co-author Franz Rodenkirchen, lead actress Monika M., and lead actor (if you don't count the corpse) Mark Reeder. Honestly, I was wandering how easy it would be to listen to a commentary with three of the participants carrying a thick German accent (Reeder is from England). It took about a minute to get used to, and the commentary is excellent. Recorded in December of 2001, Jorg and Mark lead an upbeat commentary by throwing jokes around between factoids about the film. We find out Daktari Lorenz, who played Rob in the original, didn't like Nekromantik
and refused to be in the sequel. There was also talk about how the fall of the Berlin wall actually helped them in the filmmaking process and Lucio Fulci asking Buttgereit for a copy of Nekromantik 2
at a convention. Monika and Franz are a bit more reserved, but do ad interesting comments throughout the course of the film. The two highlights of the commentary are certainly from Jorg himself. At one point he jokes, "This print is so good, the blood looks fake!" which was lead to his saying he would have to refuse getting the print released. The second is a bit of a teaser regarding Der Todesking
hitting DVD. Jorg mentions that the film is not on DVD in America, but will follow this on "in a fucking expensive box". Speculate how you will, but that was some nice news to hear for fans of Buttgereit. This is a top notch commentary that must be heard.
'The Making of Nekromantik 2
' feature opens the film up even more. It runs 26:36 and is presented in German Dolby Digital 2.0 with optional English subtitles or English, depending on what you would like to listen to. The two soundtracks provided for the feature are an additional commentary in English from the foursome who conducted the film's secondary track or of the from a German radio interview with Buttgereit and Rodenkirchen which is played during the feature and subtitled in English. Instead of the polished featurettes that are shown regularly on HBO, this one has more of a low budget, documentary feel to it. Taking us through the process of making Nekromantik 2
there are loads of behind the scenes shots, special effects, and even more info that is not covered in the commentary. We see the corpse that portrays Rob built from the ground up from the molding to the makeup. Running basically in the order the film goes, we are given a more detailed look at not only how this film was made, but filmmaking in general.
The outtakes check in at 11:03 and are basically a silent extension of the 'making of' featurette. There are a variety of shots that didn't make the final cut as well as alternate angles of some that did. We also get to se the cast and crew work, play, and take breaks together. From the album Paradise Now, we are given Die Krupps video "Rise Up". Just as Spike Jonze and McG have done, Jorg Buttgereit directs this 4:00 German rock video clip by mixing concert footage and shots of the band with a short haired Monika M. The music is pretty good, even if the video seems dated by today's standards.
Manne: The Muwi
is a 4:13 short film Jorg Buttgereit directed in 1981. Presented in German Dolby Digital Stereo (with English subtitles), the film has the rough, dark quality of an unpolished Super-8 short. It follows the antics of a man who literally drinks himself to death over the course of an afternoon. While the film reflects Jorg's playful side more than anything else, it is always nice to see early footage from a director.
Rounding out the disc are the stills gallery, trailers, and Barrel's appreciation to everyone who made this DVD possible. The picture gallery first gives us the shots and names of the main participants from Nekromantik 2
. After being reacquainted with the cast and crew, we are treated to over 120 photos that contain behind the scenes shots, special effects, posters, ads, video covers, pictures from the 'Rise Up' video, shots from the commentary track and more. Running 13:28, the stills are basically a slideshow, so there is no need for the remote control while watching this portion of the disc.
The trailers are for Nekromantik 2
: Original Version (2:05), Nekromantik
(1:54), Der Todesking
(2:17) and Schramm
(1:24). They are all presented with Dolby Digital sound and are the same ones from Barrel's previous Jorg Buttgereit releases. For those who are wandering, the difference in the Nekromantik
trailers are simply some closing credits being shown in the original version. If you have not seen Nekromantik 2
, I would advise not watching the trailer. It does give away a bit, including scenes from the ending.
The second disc is a soundtrack, containing the complete scores for both Nekromantik
and Nekromantik 2
. Strangely enough, this was the first thing I checked out after opening the case. I had some computer issues that needed to be resolved, so I popped in this 31 track disc to listen to as I worked. The variety was amazing, considering the way it blended with the joys and frustrations of tinkering with a machine. The moods range from peaceful musical scores like and At Home (Daktari Lorenz) and Ave Maria (JS Bach, arrangement Mark Reeder) to the downright rough tracks, Sex With A Saw (Mark Reeder) and Surprise (Hermann Kopp), which could easily be mistaken for a track from The Shining
. I hadn't seen Nekromantik
in some time, so the soundtrack served as a trip down memory lane before giving me an auditory preview to the sequel. The soundtrack blended in beautifully for the most part, providing the ups and downs that we go through when working on a project as we listen to music. Some of the tracks are a bit extreme, so you may want to have the volume down if conservative parents or neighbors are within earshot. The CD closes with Captain Berlin (Peter Synthetik) which is a great throwback to the synth music era. It is kind of a quirky, oddball track like I Want To Marry A Lighthouse Keeper (Erika Eigen) from A Clockwork Orange
that ends the dark music on a lighter note.
There are liner notes from both Jorg Buttgereit and David Kerekes, the author of Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jorg Buttgereit. Jorg tells us how Nekromantik 2
is more of a horror movie for women and was never intended to be more outrageous and offensive than the original. He basically finds it amusing that there were/are horror fans sitting through ten minutes of petting zoo footage instead of getting the blood and gore they were expecting. An interesting note is how Jorg 'found' Monika M. She was basically discovered by accident while she was watching a Lucio Fulci movie. Kerekes gives a short piece regarding his thoughts on the sequel and his admiration for the performance by Monika M.
Is Nekromantik 2
for everyone? No, it is not. Fans of the original may be let down by the overall tone of the sequel, even though the film ends strong. The real treats, as always, are in the details. A great picture, nice sound, tons of extras, as well as the complete soundtrack to Nekromantik
and Nekromantik 2
make this set a must own for Buttgereit fans. If you are still trying to figure out if you should spend hard earned cash on this release, keep a few things in mind. Most video stores would never carry this title, so renting it is almost out of the question. The commentary and soundtrack alone are worth the MSRP, even if you are not a huge fan of the movie itself. Lastly, the back cover states "Limited Edition of 20,000 units", so you may end up paying a lot more down the road if you wait too long. There are 19,999 left, so fans of Barrel Entertainment, and more importantly Jorg Buttgereit, need to push Nekromantik 2
high on their want list.
Movie - B-
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A
Supplements - A+
- Running time - 1 hour 43 minutes
- Not Rated
- 2 Discs (1 DVD, 1 CD)
- Chapter Stops
- German Dolby Digital 2.0, German Mono
- Removable English subtitles
- Full Running Audio Commentary by Director Jorg Buttgereit, co-author Franz Rodenkirchen, and actors Monika M. and Mark Reeder
- The Making of Nekromantik 2, 25 minutes of behind the scenes footage
- Rare German radio interviews with Buttgereit and Rodenkirchen, subtitled in English for the first time
- 'Rise Up', a video clip from The Krupps, directed by Jorg Buttgereit and starring Monika M.
- Manne: The Muwi, an early Buttgereit Super-8 short subtitled in English for the first time
- Outtakes Reel
- Over 100 behind the scenes photos from the collection of Manfred O. Jelinski and Jorg Buttgereit
- A Theatrical trailers for Nekromantik, Der Todesking, Nekromantik 2, and Schramm
- Liner notes by Buttgereit biographer David Kerekes and Jorg Buttgereit
- Soundtrack CD containing the complete scores for Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2 (Disc Two)