'Sex Murder Art: The Films Of Jörg Buttgereit'
(Nicolas Petche, Hermann Kopp, Eva-Maria Kurz, Monika M., Mark Reeder, Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice M., Florian Koemer von Gustorf, et al / 4-Disc Blu-ray + 2 CD / R / 2016 / Cult Epics)
Overview: Cult Epics presents 'Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit', a collection of his four horror underground films; the necrophilia classics Nekromantik & Nekromantik 2, the death and suicide anthology Der Todesking (The Death King) and the premiere of the serial killer film Schramm on Blu-ray. Includes exclusive Soundtrack CD's of the films and a 40-page booklet containing interviews and photos with Jorg Buttgereit and collaborators.
Getting to know Jörg Buttgereit is very important, for his movies are, well, highly distinctive, to say the least. Buttgereit was raised in West Berlin while the Berlin Wall was still standing and the Allied Forces; Britain, France and America, each controlled a section of the Federal Republic of Germany. Hence, young Buttgereit went to the movie theaters to watch films from the aforementioned countries, he particularly enjoyed watching monster movies from the age of four. His grandmother bought him packs of Creature Feature bubblegum cards while he was in kindergarten and for his first Holy communion he received a Super-8 camera.
Buttgereit has been experimenting with film since 1977. His first project was called Gags und Schwarzer Humor, a parody of TV commercials. Color Trip was created after his camera broke and the developers gave him back black, blank film. After scratching and washing the film, something blue, black and green came out of the projector. Klassenfahrt was a movie about his class in his last year at school. Stress was another version of Color Trip using another returned blank film. He claims his very first feature was called Interview with Frankenstein.
The Exploding Sports Shoe (1980) was a two-minute film consisting of a sports shoe exploding in slow-motion. It was shown on TV as part of a documentary about punk rock, the original title was 'The Most Beautiful Destruction'. In 2012, speaking at the Leeds International Film Festival, Buttgereit said that he was happy working in stage and television production and cited internet piracy as a problem for low-budget filmmakers.
Blu ray Verdict: 'Schramm' (1993) - OK, I think - having watched this movie and then done some research - that we should get this out of the way from the off. This movie, 'Schramm' tells the story of a man who has been known in the media as the "Lipstick Killer". In reality, there actually was a serial killer who was given that nickname and because of this, people often think that this very same film is based on the very same serial killer. However, this is untrue, not a fact, and there is absolutely no correlation between the two. [Official statement made].
Much like ALL of Jörg Buttgereit's movies (or at the very least, all those that I've seen; let alone these four in this incredible collection), 'Schramm' uses all the same themes as can be found lovingly within his other cinematic works. Chock full of nudity, sex, mutilation, violence, killings, death, and blood - oh my, so much blood - it may make you bring your hand to your face to peer through your slightly splayed fingers sometimes, but in general, 'Schramm' is more of an artistic experience than before.
Just as powerful as anything that has gone before it, sure, but it uses all those aforementioned themes in one collective, and highly effective manner this time round. 'Schramm' delves into the mind of a serial killer/rapist/necrophiliac and once there we get to witness his weird fantasies of extreme sexual violence. But that's not all, for we also get to see his fantasies of how he truly wants to be.
Indeed, what 'Schramm' does, or moreover director Jörg Buttgereit, is not make the central character of Schramm himself out to be a 2D figure. Someone to hate from the off. Someone to loathe, to despise, to hope gets killed, etc. Nope. The character of Lothar Schramm (played admirably by Florian Koerner von Gustorf, not an actor, but a Producer with 19 credits to his name)' is not simply a deranged psycho, but more a man who can't help being the way he is. His character is made 3D by both Buttgereit and Gustorf. We see him struggling with himself, his viewpoints, his actions, his desires throughout, but, of course, at most all times come the end he just can't help being the man that he is.
Jörg Buttgereit often picks the artistic approach and uses much symbolism and metaphor for both his characters and scripts. For 'Schramm' he obviously got inspired by Luis Buñuel's work. Jörg Buttgereit is like the German Luis Buñuel and Takashi Miike, though not all of his movies work out as well as this one does! With self mutilation, Schramm tries to fight the feelings and punish himself for the deeds he has done, but it's all in vein (no pun intended; I think!). In closing, this tale of a self-abusing, disturbed killer is compulsive viewing. Just keep both hands free when watching!
Blu ray Verdict: 'Nekromantik' (1987) - A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.
If you know any of director Jörg Buttgereit's work, you'll instantly know that the quite stunningly brilliant 'Nekromantik' is a truly authentic piece of horror. Sure, that is what many people feel about his work, in general, but here, well, some people may well experience what it is like to visually see; from the safety of their own sofa's true horror!
The story, as is, is about a young couple with a predilection for all things death. The boyfriend (Bernd Daktari Lorenz as Robert Schmadtke) works for a crime scene clean-up crew and one day he stumbles upon a very well preserved corpse (while still on duty) and manages to sneak it home with him! [As you do!] His girlfriend (Beatrice Manowski as Betty) LOVES the "gift" that he has brought home [who wouldn't?!] and so the trio go about their sexual ways together that night. However, it soon becomes clear that his girlfriend is enjoying the company of the corpse way more than that of her very much alive boyfriend ... and then, as if to drill the point home, runs off with the dead guy! [As you do!!]
Ergo, 'Nekromantik' is very hardcore and very graphic. There are only a few movies that can be in the same league in its genre, with one of those being (the original) 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.' You know the kind of thing: demented central characters that, come the close of play, are never close to being punished like they should be. Never anything that could have the words "morally guided" attached to them, 'Cannibal Holocaust' was another such graphic approach similar to 'Nekromantik' (which is a GREAT title for such a film subject).
But Nekromantik dares to go further than those movies (with less money, of course), and yet everything we see our couple do - Bernd Daktari Lorenz as Robert Schmadtke and Beatrice Manowski as Betty - is still treated lightly. Indeed, sometimes their actions are treated by Buttgereit as if they are simply ordinary, every day routines / acts. I don't want to spoil anything, but I suggest you to pay attention to the very last scene! I mean, come on now, if that's not completely disgusting, so completely OTT, I don't know what is any more!
Blu ray Verdict: 'Nekromantik 2' (1991) - From director Jörg Buttgereit comes 'Nekromantik 2,' the gore horror sequel to his 1987 classic 'Nekromantik.' Monika (Monika M.) is a beautiful necrophiliac who lives alone in Berlin. By day she works as a nurse. By night she prowls through cemeteries while searching for fresh corpses.
My goodness! Just one look at the front cover was nearly enough for me to have to turn it over on my desk - but the backside cover at doesn't help escape the torment of the films premise either! Which, to be fair, is a huge credit to the filmmaker and producer of this brand new sequel from director Jörg Buttgereit, because you should - as an every day human on this planet - be worried by the cover art. But, again, you wouldn't have the Blu ray in your hands if you weren't curious; or worse, now would you?!
OK, all that inner turmoil, inner confusion, inner passion for whatever gets you through the night aside, 'Nekromantik 2' follows on from the events of the original 'Nekromantik,' although this film quickly takes different path and introduces some new characters. Although, and without creating a massive spoiler alert issue here, the main corpse belongs to someone familiar to fans of the first film!
The story this time around is all about a nurse (Monika M.) who digs up a corpse and proceeds to get all freaky naughty with it. But when she meets a nice young man (Mark Reeder) she has to hide her perverse sexual taste and keep things slightly more conventional. The young man soon realizes that something is a bit off, but he's not sure what it is. Meanwhile, the nurse is finding it more and more difficult to restrain her more extreme urges.
Director Jörg Buttgereit, who once again co-wrote the thing with Franz Rodenkirchen, retreads familiar territory but with a bit more money to throw around. This isn't always a bad thing, but Buttgereit fails to make the most of his opportunity and dilutes the movie's many better moments with far too many extraneous scenes and self-indulgent moments. The prime example that springs to mind is the excerpt we are shown of a black and white "arthouse" movie that our lead characters view in a cinema. Was there such a need to include such a lengthy 'distraction" within the confines of the movie? No, to my mind, but with more money a bigger budget, well, maybe an artsy approach was what Buttgereit indeed thought was called for at that particular moment.
Anyway, the central subject matter is, of course, still shocking, the acting is better and the effects are an improvement. There's also some more animal cruelty to offend people so this will keep fans happy. Not me, it has to be said, being an animal lover, but each to his own. Sadly, all of that good work is undone by a lack of discipline in the editing department and the fact that there's not enough new material here to warrant the entire movie. Which may well explain the black and white art house movie segment, in reflection.
Blu ray Verdict: 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' (1990) -
Cult Epics presents the third release in the series Corpse F##king Art; Jörg Buttgereit's powerful masterpiece 'Der Todesking (aka The Death King)', made in-between 'Nekromantik' (1987) and 'Nekromantik 2' (1991). Seven stories on Death and Suicide, each taking place on a different day of the week, framed by the decomposition of a human body!
In truth, going into 'Der Todesking' I had no idea what to expect - save for images floating around my head just given to me by the words on the front and the black and white images on the back. Also, I had never seen anything else directed by Jörg Buttgereit, so putting them both together, I knew last night's viewing experience was going to be a rather interesting one, to say the very least!
OK, so the best way to easily describe 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' (and it's not that easy, trust me), is that it consists of a series of scenes depicting the many facets of death. Death as an enemy; Death as a relief; Death as a physical entity, much like the final decomposition of the body. Basically, the film is a metaphor of our lives. Indeed, it shows how fragile life actually is and how short our lives really, sadly are.
Now, if you're looking for 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' to have a, shall we call him, "central character" you will be disappointed. For there are no actual "characters" on display here, moreover a thematic continuity in the act of suicide. Divided into days of the week, it comprises of a series of set-pieces, each of which feature the self-destruction of a complete stranger. And I mean destruction, for the human bodies are seen breaking down, bubbling, gurgling over time as the fluids ooze, nature eroding the flesh and muscle as if acid had just been pumped into the stoic veins.
As you might be able to see from the back cover art, the production values are low, the scenes very traumatic and highly disturbing, but at all times they remain extremely effective. You WILL turn your head away at many times throughout, as scenes like people being shot in the head, a penis being chopped off, and just the general latter stages of decomposition are very damaging to the eyes and brain! This is NOT your average rainy day spent inside Hollywood fodder, believe me - and thank God (or actually Jörg Buttgereit) for that!
Perhaps, to explain it further, to explore its core, the film treats us either like aliens new to Earth or children, sponge-like and ready to learn. Ergo, before we even have a say, 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' treats us like nubile, uneducated, but highly willing entities who obviously know nothing about, nor really understand the nature of Death; and therein the process of dying. If you are looking for a main thread to tie all this film together with, that would be the core message right there. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
New Director's Approved HD Transfers
Two versions of 'Nekromantik'
Exclusive Introductions for each film by Jörg Buttgreit
Q&A with Jörg Buttgereit
The Making Ofs
Still Photo Galleries
Jörg Buttgereit Trailers
Documentary: Corpse F*****g Art
Short Films: Hot Love, A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein, Horror Heaven, Bloody Excess in the Leaders Bunker, My Father
Music Video: "Half Girl" by Jörg Buttgereit
Original Motion Picture Soundtracks
Live Concert of 'Nekromantik 2'
BD Exclusive New Art Design by Silver Ferox
Exclusive CD Soundtrack of 'Nekromantik' & 'Der Todesking'
Exclusive CD 2 Soundtrack of 'Nekromantik 2' & 'Schramm'
BD Exclusive 40-page perfect-bind booklet with Interviews & exclusive photos!