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The expression "Whatever floats your boat" certainly applies to the film NEKROMANTIK ($35), which is definitely one of the strangest films that I’ve ever encountered. When I used to think of sex with the dead, there would be an image of an unresponsive female partner in my mind. After seeing NEKROMANTIK, that particular image has been replaced with something far worse. NEKROMANTIK is a German horror movie on the extreme fringe of the genre, whose subject matter is certain to offend a large percentage of the population. However, the movie does have some interesting visuals that give the film a hallucinatory/nightmarish quality.

The plot of NEKROMANTIK deals heavily with the fetish of necrophilia, so anyone who has difficulty with the graphic visualization of someone having sex with a corpse had better stay away from this film. For those prepared to deal with the subject matter, NEKROMANTIK tells the story of Rob (Daktari Lorenz), who works for Joe's Streetcleaning Agency- a company that cleans up human remains after traffic accidents and such. Thanks to his job, Rob has been able to take a number of body parts home to his girlfriend Betty (Beatrice M.), who shares the same erotic fascination with the dead. As an ultimate gift, Rob brings home an entire decaying corpse, which becomes part of their lovemaking. However, after Rob loses his job and is no longer to supply new playthings, Betty moves out- taking the corpse along with her. It is at this point that Rob descends into self-mutilation for sexual gratification and total madness. Writer/director Jörg Buttgereit certainly keeps things interesting with a lot of perverse imagery, which has secured NEKROMANTIK cult status.

Barrel Entertainment has released NEKROMANTIK on DVD, and the disc comes jam-packed with extras. Believe it or not, NEKROMANTIK was shot on Super 8mm and blown up to 16mm for distribution in 1987. The image quality on the DVD is quite good considering the film’s production history, and rarely ever betrays its 8mm origins. As one might expect, the image is somewhat grainy, but film grain is not overbearing, except during a very dark opening sequence. The film elements does display a fair number of markings, but it would have to be expected when one takes into account the film’s super low budget and age. Sharpness and detail are decent, as are the film’s colors. Most of the hues are subdued, and there are times that the picture has a grayish cast that makes it seem as if the colors have begun to fade down towards black and white. Blacks are adequately rendered and the level of shadow detail tends to be quite limited. Digital compression artifacts do not adversely affect the image in any way. The German Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack isn’t what anyone would call high fidelity, but it gets the job done. There are no noticeable distortions on the track, so the dialogue and sound effects are reproduced fairly well. Additionally, the film’s music actually sounds better than I expected it to. Removable English subtitles have been encoded onto the DVD.

The interactive menus are nicely designed, utilizing animation, music and full motion video. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the disc’s nice array of supplements. NEKROMANTIK includes a running commentary with writer/director Jörg Buttgereit and co-writer Franz Rodenkirchen. The participants seem to be having a good time talking about the film and their commentary is informative. The DVD also features HORROR HEAVEN, an early Super 8 short by Jörg Buttgereit, which includes English subtitles. There is also a featurette on the making of NEKROMANTIK that includes outtakes, as well as interviews with the director and producer Manfred O. Jelinski. Another feature called THE MAKING OF NEKROMANTIK runs over ten minutes and combines behind-the-scenes footage and still from the production. There is a still gallery that includes over one hundred images from the collections of the producer and director. Filling out the supplements are theatrical trailers for NEKROMANTIK, DER TODESKING, NEKROMANTIK 2 and SCHRAM.

NEKROMANTIK is not a film that will appeal to every taste, but if this movie floats your boat, then you can’t go wrong with Barrel Entertainment’s great little DVD.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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