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If watching Nekromantik was a red badge of courage for gorehounds in the 1990s, going back for seconds was simply a sign that you were truly insane. Now, with the weight of years, (and director Jorg Buttgeriet's helpful included extras on these releases) I realize that the Nekromantik movies aren't so much shock machines, as they are warped love stories. I also realize that in revisiting them 25 years later, I am truly insane after all. Won't you join me in enjoying this fairly pristine Blu-ray depicting one woman's quest for love and sexual fulfillment, complete with dead seals, putrescence, and one of the most convincing decapitations ever committed to film?
Seriously, for all its transgressions, for its slightly more mature take on the hopeless nature of love, and its once-again languid approach to exploitation filmmaking, Nekromantik 2 generates on a budget a climactic (yes, double entendre) head-chopping so convincing in its realism that it launches straight into the top ten of such things. And again, that's really not what the movie is about, but it's the show-stopper to end all show-stoppers.
Again, Buttgereit's extras help the floundering reviewer, as the director touts (tongue-in-cheek) the fact that Nekromantik 2 is the world's first (and maybe only) feminist necrophilia movie. He's right: our movie opens with a recap of the volcanic finale of Nekromantik before unveiling a tense grave robbing scene portraying lovely Monika, (billed as Monika M.) a fledgling necrophiliac, on the prowl for a date. Dragging home a putrifying corpse, she goes about the nauseatingly mundane practice of getting her livid lover ready for some fun. This ultimately proves vaguely unsatisfying for Monika, who lowers herself to courting a living lover in the form of porn movie voice-over artist Mark (Mark Reeder). However human relationships can be messy business, and by the end of Nekromantik 2 Monika takes drastic measures in getting some satisfaction.
As in the previous film, Buttgeriet has either melded two extremely disparate movies, or made a straight-ahead nihilistic love story with some very outre elements. The result feels like the former, while actually being the latter, and holds together loosely with sincerity and humor. Monika M. anchors the movie almost silently, bravely doing the most disgusting things while quite convincingly portraying a woman ambivalent about her chances in romance. Reeder lends wry charm to his role as a hapless paramour, unsure of how exactly to please his distant girlfriend. Buttgereit slows things way down with lengthy scenes of the lovers enjoying a park, or a daft arthouse movie, and it's all pretty convincing, if a bit aggravating for viewers only looking for the gross stuff. It's such scenes of naturalistic simplicity, however, (including the pair's tenuous couplings) that function as weighty avalanches, pushing barf-inducing scenes straight down your throat with brute force.
A gleeful twist at the end proves Buttgereit's point, (I think) that maybe love does conquer all; you just have to find an (un)willing partner. But, for your trouble, you geeks, you get a weeks-old corpse so disgustingly convincing that it earns numerous, lengthy close-ups. You get Monika banging a stiff with a stiffy. You get corpse dismemberment so distasteful even seasoned veterans will have to question their fortitude. (Thanks, Cult Epics Blu-ray!) And you get that ultimate (de)capper, constructed and filmed so expertly it still seems pretty real, even in this age of death desensitization. Thank god Buttgereit has our best interests at heart! Highly Recommended.
Cult Epics has taken the helpfully heretofore hidden original 16mm negative of Nekromantik 2 and cranked out a stomach churning transfer sure to delight or maybe even enrage lovers of grindhouse cinema. Appearing in the OAR of 1.33:1, the film looks good. Pretty, pretty good. Yes, there is grain. Yes, the image is somewhat soft, as one might expect from a 16mm movie. And no, details aren't exactly reference quality, but they are strong nonetheless. Colors are pretty good for a movie filmed with lots of natural light, and black levels (when found) are acceptable. (Oddly enough, this is a movie fairly suffused with light.) I spotted one minor instance of aggressive digital noise reduction (I think) when Monika gazes at the sand while she's walking on a beach, but that's about it as far as transfer problems are concerned. So, you get to see everything in horrible, horrible detail, and it's pretty awesome. In the extras, Buttgereit notes that the blood on Monika's corpse lover looks way too red, (something I noticed too) and attributes that to the brightness of this transfer. Back in the days of prints struck darkly, this weeks-old blood would have looked darker, browner, and more realistic. Take that, lovers of HD!
You have three options for your sonic delectations: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, and the original Mono Track in Dolby Digital. Ordinarily, I would recommend going the purist route, and simply using the mono track, which is fairly robust. This is a movie driven by the musical soundtrack as much as anything else, so in some ways the stereo track should be sufficient, but it seems a bit quieter than the other two tracks. The 5.1 track is powerful and nicely detailed. The soundtrack has enough interesting instrumentation to warrant immersive placement, and when things get real (various forms of violence or sex) the lively and enveloping 5.1 track drives those points home with emphasis.
As with the Nekromantik BD release, Nekromantik 2 comes with an (un)healthy dose of extras lending a greater understanding of the film while providing a bit of humanistic distance to the horrors within. You may choose to watch the movie with a cheeky, one-minute New Introduction by Jorg Buttgereit (but don't do this just yet, go into the movie as clean as you can). Once you've absorbed the slime, enjoy a Commentary Track with Buttgereit, co-author Franz Rodenkirchen, (the de-facto moderator) and actors Monika M. and Mark Reeder, recorded in 2001 and possibly available on other out-of-print editions of the film. It's a fun track (if not a bit hard to understand due to accents, room-sound recording, and people talking all at the same time) that runs the gamut of what you'd like to hear, from BTS items to the personal reactions of those involved. Full of humor and warmth, it's just what you need after watching.
There's more: The Making of Nekromantik 2 (also from 2001, I believe) runs about 20 minutes, with good BTS information, and an in-depth look at creating the realistic corpse dummy used in the film. The same raft of JB Trailers (Die Todesking etc.) from the Nekromantik BD is here, as are another pair of sure-to-be-unsafe-for-the-mail Postcards. There are ten minutes of silent Outtakes, a Photo Gallery, and a 20th Anniversary Live Concert performed by Monika M. and Friends, which is a really cool 11-minute condensation of the musicians performing the soundtrack live for a 2011 screening of the movie. A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein is just that, a two-minute, possibly satirical short film by Buttgereit from 2012, consisting solely of quiet footage of Gein's unmarked grave. "Lemmy, I'm A Feminist" Music Video from Half Girl is three minutes of neo-punk goodness directed by Buttgereit, from 2014. Lastly, you can enjoy two isolated versions of the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, (one being the live version from 2011). Cult epics certainly does right by this notorious, and, if I put stock in what Buttgereit says, misunderstood classic of feminist necrophilia!
Jorg Buttgereit's audacious follow-up to his notorious necrophiliac nightmare Nekromantik, Nekromantik 2 doesn't skimp on the things that made that first movie so memorable. As a tender, feminist love story, Nekromantik 2 is believable, realistic, and cynical. Add the fact that the love story centers on rocking a rotting corpse, and doing whatever it takes to make that living lover more acceptable to fairly outre tastes, and you've got another towering achievement in the cinema of transgression. Cult Epics packs this Blu-ray with a fantastic transfer, great sound, and a nice bunch of extras. It's Highly Recommended.