Latest chapter in sex-slasher exploration by cult writer/director Joerg Buttgereit ("Nekromantik") has "fans only" written all over it. Helmer's less interested in telling true-life story of serial killer Lothar Schramm than he is in giving auds a feel of what it might have been like inside the sex killer's mind. Result is boring, except for those with a yen for the latter experience.

Latest chapter in sex-slasher exploration by cult writer/director Joerg Buttgereit (“Nekromantik”) has “fans only” written all over it. Helmer’s less interested in telling true-life story of serial killer Lothar Schramm than he is in giving auds a feel of what it might have been like inside the sex killer’s mind. Result is boring, except for those with a yen for the latter experience.

Schramm murdered more than a dozen women in his career, painting lipstick on their mouths and raping them posthumously. Then, one day (according to the film) , while washing blood off a wall of his apartment, he fell off a ladder and broke his neck.

Buttgereit shows only two victims here. There is little dialogue, no exploration of motives or methods, and only a token look at Schramm’s environment. Instead, Buttgereit tries to re-create a kind of visual blood frenzy.

Method is to use a handful of scenes and look at them over and over again from different perspectives. Using out-of-date experimental means (repetition and color distortion), Buttgereit tries to put the audience into the killer’s mind, and probably gets as close as a director with limited means can.

That doesn’t prevent him from exploiting shock effects. Best is when Schramm nails his penis to a table, with convincing special effects by Michael Romahn.

Though it’s hard to judge perfs under circumstances where lensing, lighting and color effects are the most important things, Florian Koerner von Gustorf as Schramm and Monika M. as his prostie neighbor (and only friend) fit the film’s requirements perfectly. Blown up from 16mm, pic is good within its budget limitations, especially camera work by co-producer Manfred O. Jelinski.

Schramm

(GERMAN)

Production

A Joerg Buttgereit/Manfred O. Jelinski production. Produced by Buttgereit, Jelinski. Directed, written by Buttgereit, from a screen story by Buttgereit, Franz Rodenkirchen.

Crew

Camera (color), Jelinski; editor, Jelinski, Buttgereit; music, Max Mueller, Gundula Schmitz, Mutter; makeup, Marianne Drope, Heike Eger; special effects, Michael Romahn. Reviewed at Hof Film Festival, Hof, Germany, Oct. 28, 1993. (Also in Rotterdam fest.) Running time: 75 MIN.

With

With: Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Monika M., Micha Brendel, Carolina Harnisch, Xaver Schwarzenberger, Gerd Horvath.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more