'Der Todesking (The Death King)' [Blu-ray]
(Nicolas Petche, Hermann Kopp, Eva-Maria Kurz, et al / Blu ray / R / (1990) 2015 / Cult Epics)
Overview: Cult Epics presents the third release in the series Corpse F##king Art; Jorg Buttgereit's powerful masterpiece Der Todesking (aka The Death King), made in-between Nekromantik (1987) and Nekromantik 2 (1991). Seven stories on Death and Suicide, each taking place on a different day of the week, enframed by the decomposition of a human body.
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, going into 'Der Todesking' I had no idea what to expect - save for images floating around my head just given to me by the words on the front and the black and white images on the back. Also, I had never seen anything else directed by Jorg Buttgereit, so putting them both together, I knew last night's viewing experience was going to be a rather interesting one, to say the very least!
OK, so the best way to easily describe 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' (and it's not that easy, trust me), is that it consists of a series of scenes depicting the many facets of death. Death as an enemy; Death as a relief; Death as a physical entity, much like the final decomposition of the body. Basically, the film is a metaphor of our lives. Indeed, it shows how fragile life actually is and how short our lives really, sadly are.
Now, if you're looking for 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' to have a, shall we call him, "central character" you will be disappointed. For there are no actual "characters" on display here, moreover a thematic continuity in the act of suicide. Divided into days of the week, it comprises of a series of set-pieces, each of which feature the self-destruction of a complete stranger. And I mean destruction, for the human bodies are seen breaking down, bubbling, gurgling over time as the fluids ooze, nature eroding the flesh and muscle as if acid had just been pumped into the stoic veins.
As you might be able to see from the back cover art, the production values are low, the scenes very traumatic and highly disturbing, but at all times they remain extremely effective. You WILL turn your head away at many times throughout, as scenes like people being shot in the head, a penis being chopped off, and just the general latter stages of decomposition are very damaging to the eyes and brain! This is NOT your average rainy day spent inside Hollywood fodder, believe me - and thank God (or actually Jorg Buttgereit) for that!
Perhaps, to explain it further, to explore its core, the film treats us either like aliens new to Earth or children, sponge-like and ready to learn. Ergo, before we even have a say, 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' treats us like nubile, uneducated, but highly willing entities who obviously know nothing about, nor really understand the nature of Death; and therein the process of dying. If you are looking for a main thread to tie all this film together with, that would be the core message right there.
In closing, and as mentioned before, I honestly have no idea whether 'Der Todesking (The Death King)' is representative of Buttgereit's works or not, but have to say that if they are anything like this work of cinematic art, then I will be searching them out - one by one. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
New Director's Approved HD transfer (taken from the original 16mm negative)
New Introduction by Jorg Buttgereit (2015)
Audio Commentary by Jorg Buttgereit and co-author Franz Rodenkirchen
The Making of Der Todesking
Still Photo Gallery
JB HD Trailers
Corpse F##king Art (Documentary) 1983, 60 Minutes, HD transfer
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The first 3000 Blu-ray copies include Collectible Artwork
25th Anniversary (Silver embossed) Slipcover and Corpse F##king Art Postcard