Film Review: SEX, MURDER, ART BOX SET (2016)

Film Review: SEX, MURDER, ART BOX SET (2016)

May 2, 2016

I have already reviewed every film in this set. The extra features need some serious attention though. This is a six disc set with four films and all four soundtracks. The CD’s each hold two soundtracks, covering all four films. Each Blu-ray has special features pertaining to that specific film and more. This means you get the “making of” documentary for each movie, including the infamous documentary Corpse Fucking Art. In addition to visual behind the scenes action, you also get commentaries, introductions, and interviews starring Buttgereit himself. This is all content that is absolutely fascinating to watch. The soundtracks themselves are deeply moving, disturbing, and strangely effective. You even get them on CD as well as the film discs, so you can freak out your friends everywhere you go. If I had to rank the soundtracks, it would go from Der Todesking as my favorite, to Nekromantik 2, then Nekromantik, ending with Schramm.

As far as the films go, they cleaned up nicely with great director approved transfers. There is even a second cut of Nekromantik! Nekromantik 2, has additional footage of a live performance of the soundtrack, set to a screening of the film. There are also trailers, new artwork, and even a music video by Half Girl which was also directed by Buttgereit. If you are into the still photo galleries (I don’t usually care about them), this set also has above average examples of that type of content. He makes films that you can’t look away from, so his galleries definitely possess the same effect. This is a film set that has absolutely blown me away. I tend to ignore the extra features, but these are so interesting and intriguing that they are absolutely impossible to ignore. As a set that is currently on Amazon for seventy bucks, it is an absolute must-own for the film collector. This is already shaping up to be one of my favorite releases of the year. It was so highly anticipated for this collector, that I actually pre-ordered it, which is something I never do.

After taking days getting through the extra features pertaining to the feature length films, I still found that I had not touched the short films. The shorts are Hot Love, A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein, Horror Heaven, Bloody Excess in the Leader’s Bunker, and My Father. Horror Heaven and Bloody Excess in the Leaders Bunker are definitely the most immature examples of film-making in the set. They are goofy, cheesy, and silly…yeah it’s all the same to me too. The Ed Gein short is just a strange two minute piece of a single uncut shot. It is cool, in a haunting sort of way. I am definitely glad it was included in the set, even if I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it again. Hot Love was a longer short that led up to the creation of Nekromantik and put Jorg on the map. It is a film with very low budget effects work. It involves obsession, love, death, and, of course, zombies. While the effects work is laughable at times, you can definitely see the work of an evil genius budding within this film. The birthing scene, although very fake, is a memorable shot that makes it very easy to believe the direction that his films would go in the future. As it was said in the interviews, he began to become a voice for the anti-censorship movement in his country. He was trying to disgust and offend in such a way that would bring him negative attention from the government. He made a statement in his films that people are still following today. Many people, for instance, still don’t know that A Serbian Film was doing the exact same thing in response to government control over films in its home country.

The only piece of this that I have not mentioned is the short film My Father. It is a perfect way to close the review and the discussion of the set. It is the hidden gem, and highlight of the set for me. It is not a long film, consisting mostly of home movie footage of Buttgereit’s father. It highlights his life, struggles with illness, and eventual death. It is an absolutely haunting piece of film-making. It does things with music, structure, and art-house style that makes it one of the most memorable short films I have ever seen. It will surely create a lasting impression on any viewer, without using the horrifying sexual violence or gore with which Jorg tends to be associated. It is a reflective piece that has kept me thinking for days. So aside from everything you already knew about Buttgereit, this film is a microcosm of the box set itself. It shows how deep the filmmaker can go, and that there is always something new you can find in his work.