Review by David Paul Hellings
“Monika isn’t like other young women. She shares her small flat with Rob, a recently disinterred corpse that serves as the object of her affections. But then she meets good-natured Mark, and soon finds herself torn between the prospect of a ‘normal’ life with a living, breathing partner and her overwhelming desire for her rotting bed-fellow.
Once prosecuted in its native Germany for “glorifying violence”, Jörg Buttgereit’s follow-up to his groundbreaking Nekromantik is just as shocking as its reputation would suggest. But it’s also a profoundly moving (if decidedly twisted) love story, and a thought-provoking meditation on death – that most mysterious aspect of the human condition”.
– via Arrow Video
There are no grey areas with “Nekromantik 2”, simply the realisation that you’re a fan or you’re not. Director Buttgereit’s film shocked and divided upon its release and continues to do so to this day. It would be interesting to know the number of people who walked out or switched off during the opening scene (which is the climax to the 1987 “Nekromantik”), realising immediately that the film wasn’t to their taste. A date movie it will never be, unless you’re necrophiliacs, but perversely “Nekromantic 2” is, indeed, a love story at its heart.
Twelve days after its 1991 German release, Munich police confiscated the film and began the search for the negatives, claiming that “Nekromantik 2” glorified violence. The film’s infamous reputation in cinema history was born. Necrophila is a rare subject for horror films, although the likes of “Psycho” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (both based on the serial killer Ed Gein) touch on it. Buttgereit’s film deals with the subject head on, creating a picture of a troubled (understatement) female protagonist who struggles with the choice between love of the dead or love of the living, a character that is seemingly unable to move forward into a world that exists within the accepted rules of morality.
Necrophila remains the most taboo subject in horror (or any other genre) films, surpassing even cannibalism, most likely because that has been represented extensively over the years and the graphic nature of “Nekromantik 2” in dealing with the world of the necrophile has understandably seen the film reviled by many more mainstream viewers and yet elevated to art by others. Whereas films such as “Cannibal Holocaust” still shock today and “The Human Centipede” wants to do the same, but fails due to its forced and artificial nature, “Nekromantik 2” is still both shocking and unpleasant, showing why it’s become a cult classic amongst so many of the harder core horror fans.
“Nekromantik 2” is still a difficult watch, alienating the audience and engaging them with equal measure. With a soundtrack that ranks amongst the best of German horror cinema and a raw feel to the look of the film, director Jörg Buttgereit asks questions about how much we should understand or sympathise with Monika (a fascinating performance from Monika M) or despise her for her madness, and examines the divide between life and death and our perceptions of what is acceptable and what is not.
The film arrives on Blu ray in a strong transfer that reveals all of the detail that has made the film so discussed, hated, or loved. Colours are strong and there is a grain that is pleasing considering the age and budget of the film. It’s well worth checking out the extensive special features (possibly more so in this case) to fully appreciate the context regarding both the subject matter and the making of the film, and revisit the main feature once more to see if either your opinions change or are validated.
Shocking, repulsive, absorbing, original in equal measure, “Nekromantik 2” is simply unforgettable and this is the definitive release package for a film that has retained a loyal following due to its ignoring of boundaries within the genre.
“Arrow Video is thrilled to announce the UK Blu-ray and DVD release of the notorious sequel to the underground shocker Nekromantik. Jörg Buttgereit’s Neckromantik 2 arrives in time for Christmas on 23rd November 2015.
One of 2015’s most anticipated Arrow Video releases, Nekromantik 2 makes its home video debut in the UK as an exclusive 3-disc digipak featuring Blu-ray, DVD and CD Soundtrack. This exclusive set will be limited to a run of only 3000 copies only and comes with a set of 5 x exclusive ‘Polaroid’ postcards and a 100-page book, alongside a wealth of extra features.
This 3-disc set comes loaded with exclusive director-approved content including the main feature Nekromantik 2 (1991) and will feature brand new extras especially produced for this release, chief among them, the documentary Masters of Life and Death, alongside new audio commentaries and introductions from director Buttgereit and other key members of the cast and crew including Monika M. Further details listed below.
3-DISC DIRECTOR-APPROVED LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
- New High Definition transfer approved by director Jörg Buttgereit
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles
- Limited Edition packaging featuring new artwork by Gilles Vranckx
- Individually-numbered #/3,000 Certificate
- Set of 5 exclusive “polaroid” postcards
- Soundtrack CD
- Limited Edition 100-page book
DISC 1 [BLU-RAY] & DISC 2 [DVD] – NEKROMANTIK 2
- Audio commentary with Buttgereit, co-writer Franz Rodenkirchen and actors Monika M. and Mark Reeder
- Introduction to the film with Buttgereit, Reeder, Monika M. and producer Manfred Jelinski
- Masters of Life and Death – a brand new documentary looking at the film’s production and release history, featuring interviews with Buttgereit, Reeder, Monika M. and Jelinski
- City of the Loving Dead – a walking tour of some of the original Berlin locations with Reeder and Jelinski
- Necropolis: Jörg Buttgereit’s Berlin – film scholar Dr. Marcus Stiglegger on the significance of the German capital as the backdrop for Nekromantik 2
- The Making of Nekromantik 2 – vintage documentary viewable with two different audio tracks: an English track comprising audio interviews with Buttgereit, Rodenkirchen and Monika M., and a German track featuring radio interviews with Buttgereit and Rodenkirchen, with optional English subtitles
- Nekro Waltz: The Music of Nekromantik 2 – Reeder discusses his work on the film’s score
- Outtakes Reel
- Nekromantik 2 Livekonzert – footage from the 20th anniversary Nekromantik 2 concert, with Monika M. and friends performing the live score
- Nekromantik 2 Livekonzert – the complete 20-track audio recording of the concert [BD/DVD-ROM content]
- Two Buttgereit short films: Bloody Excess in the Leader’s Bunker (Blutige Exzesse im Führerbunker, 1982) and A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein (2012)
- Two Buttgereit-directed music videos: ‘Rise Up’ by Die Krupps (1997), starring Monika M., and ‘Die Frau in der Musik’ by Stereo Total (2007)
- Complete collection of Buttgereit feature film trailers
- Extensive image gallery
DISC 3 [CD] – NEKROMANTIK 2 SOUNDTRACK – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
- 24-track CD featuring the complete Nekromantik 2 score
100-PAGE BOOK– ‘ANATOMY OF DESIRE’ – LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE
- Exclusive perfect-bound book featuring new writing from Electric Sheep editor Virginie Sélavy, writer Kier-La Janisse and others, as well as a new translation of the article submitted to the German government as part of the Nekromantik 2 prosecution case, all illustrated with new artwork and original archive stills.