Thursday, October 22, 2015

Der Todesking

Director - Jorg Buttergereit (Nekromantik)
Starring - Hermann Kopp (Nekromantik), Heinrich Ebber, and Michael Krause (Westend)
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The Death King"
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     True fans of horror, not those that say they like horror and only watch Twilight and The Walking Dead, may have heard the name Jorg Buttergereit before.  Jorg is a German born filmmaker who shocked the world with his 1987 film Nekromantik.  Nekromantik is one of those films that is known the world over for being one of the first films to focus on necrophilia.  This film has gone on to obtain one of the biggest cult followings of any indie horror flick.  Personally, I find the film boring as fuck and view the sequel as a far superior film but I can see why people enjoy the first film so much.  It breaks barriers and gives us something new, especially for 1987.  Cult Epics recently started releasing Jorge's films on blu beginning with Nekro, Nekro 2, and a lesser known Jorge film, Der Todesking.  Der Todesking, aka The Death King, is an anthology that focuses on suicide.  I was curious to see how the director of Nekro would tackle a film like this.  I reached out to Cult Epics and they were kind enough to send a review copy of the film my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows seven people who kill themselves.  There is a story for each day of the weak which focus on one individual who kills themselves over various reasons ranging from lost love to down on their luck.  The film ends with a young girl drawing in a book who then tells us about the Death King.

     As I stated earlier, I am not a fan of Nekromantik.  The film just doesn't have anything going for it other than corpse fucking. The characters are weak and unlikable and the story could have easily been a short.  The film's sequel is a far superior film that is more romance than anything but it still is able to captivate the viewer.  I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel.  When it came time to check out Der Todesking I was wondering if Jorge would bring us a more traditional horror flick or would he try to show the viewer like he did with Nekro some new and down right disgusting?  The film is not a traditional horror film is a sense but is is still one hell of a film.  The acting in this one is in the same lines as Nekromantik 1 and 2.  The cast have a hard time finding their characters and feel like they are just going through the motions when delivering their lines.  The characters are very one dimensional which results in very little sympathy from the viewer when they die while others have a little better job at creating their character.  The story for this one is very simple and very fun.  The film takes place over 7 days and each day we are introduced to a new character that can not bare life anymore and kills themselves.  I would typically find something this monotonous boring but Jorge makes each segment feel different which results in some fun.  Some of the segments are more emotionally charged than the others but they are pretty consistent throughout.  Also, the film has several on screen deaths but nothing that bloody or memorable.  The film's focus is to show how fragile human life is.  The kills all have minimum practical effects with a few being so simple that none were needed.  The practical effects are hit and miss but there is a great shot of a decaying corpse that is fucking fantastic and adds some great grue to a film that was fairly bland in the blood department.  Finally, this release from Cult Epics has some solid special features.  The film is released in a new HD transfer that looks crisp and clear just like the release of Jorge's Nekromanik and Nekromantik 2.   The release also comes with  a new introduction by Jorge himself, commentary, the making of, photo gallery, trailers, corpse fucking art doc, and soundtrack.  Overall, Der Todesking is easily my favorite Jorge Buttergereit film.  The film is constantly diving deep into human nature revealing a dark side that some can't hide.  This release from Cult Epics is just that...Epic.  Be sure to grab a copy now because it is worth every penny.

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