Sex, Murder, Art: The Films of Jorg Buttgereit (2016)

Comments Off on Sex, Murder, Art: The Films of Jorg Buttgereit (2016) 18 October 2016


Studio: Cult Epics

Theatrical Release: 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 (Germany) 

Blu Ray Release: April 12, 2016

Directed by Jorg Buttgereit

Not Rated

Review by Travis North 

This review will focus on the title Schramm, although the general comments will apply similarly to the other titles. Jorg Buttgereit’s first feature, Nekromantick (reviewed here) became infamous and a landmark of horror cinema. While he wasn’t exactly prolific, each of his major releases center on the inevitability of human loneliness and death. Schramm is no exception.

Mr. Schramm (Florian Koerner von Gustorf) seems like your average schlub, going about his daily routines like anyone else. He’s a taxi driver (warning sign number one) who pines after his prostitute neighbor (Monika M, the star of Nekromantik 2) . While she ignores his advances, she isn’t against asking him to come along as protection for certain house calls. Schramm is stuck in the friend zone and can’t figure out how to take their relationship to the next level. While this sounds like your standard brain dead chick flick or rom-com with a little naughtiness, this is Buttgereit we are talking about. Schramm just happens to be a serial killer. Not the idiotic Hollywood or network TV way where he’s suave, has an IQ of 199, and can outsmart an army of police and feds. No, this is down and dirty. Schramm obviously is suffering from some serious mental issues and hallucinations, let alone the extreme self abuse and murder. Nothing is sugar coated here. It’s a raw view of a sad, pathetic human being failing at life. While the plot is non-linear, there is no spoiler in saying it begins with Schramm dead and there is no happy ending. Obviously, this film is great.

It is great to have all of his major films available on Blu Ray in a nice feature packed box set. It is a far cry from waiting years just to get your hands on a shitty VHS bootleg. If you had the old Blu titles separately, almost everything is included here. The only thing missing is some postcard art (to see separate reviews of Nekromantik 2 and Der Todeskin please click here and here).

What is more interesting is to compare these to the previous Barrel DVD releases of Nekromantik, Nekromnatic 2, and Schramm. Comparing the picture quality of each disc, I have to credit Barrel with the work they did. While you can see a difference that comes with the resolution upgrade, the source material limits just how much the improvement is. It’s cleaned up, but don’t expect mind blowing quality. Honestly these movies might suffer from looking too “clean” anyway considering the subject matter. After that, it is a series of trade-offs since it isn’t as exhaustive with the extras as you’d think. Would you prefer to have liner notes, or a new video introduction from Jorg? Which short(s) and music videos would you rather have? If you never owned any of Buttgereit’s films before, this set is an absolute must purchase. Based on the cult nature of these films I suspect many people might have already owned some of the highly sought after Barrel discs already. For completists, I would say hold onto your old DVDs, but still pick up Sex, Murder, Art. It is still a ridiculous amount of extra material to get through and a great value.

Schramm Rating: ★★★★½

Blu Ray Set Rating: ★★★★★


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