Sunday, December 2, 2012

Schramm (Jörg Buttgereit, 1994)

If this is what I have endure in order to see Monika M. lounge about in black hold-up stockings, black stockings held up with the aide of suspenders attached to a garter belt, black knee-high socks, and black pantyhose in a motion picture, than so be it. Whatever do you mean? Well, let me tell you. If I want to see Monika M., the sullen slice of genteel gorgeousness from Nekromantik 2, wear the aforementioned articles of clothing, I'm afraid I'm also going to have to watch a hairy German man hammer three nails through his weather-beaten foreskin. Why, that doesn't sound so bad. What are you nuts? Hold on. Did you just make a genital-based pun? Maybe. What have I told you? I will not tolerate that kind of lameness to sully this corner of the matrix. Fine, but stop avoiding the question. No, I'm not,, I mean, meshugana, that is. Were Monika M.'s shapely gams encased in the items I just listed? Yes, they were. And did writer-directer Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik) and producer-editor-cinematographer Manfred O. Jelinski manage to capture their mouth-watering essence in a way that pleased you from an erotic and aesthetic point-of-view? I guess. Okay, so what are you complaining about? Haven't you been listening? A hairy German man hammers nails through his crumpled foreskin. And not only that, he's haunted by a vagina monster with teeth. All right, I can't comment on the vagina monster at this juncture. But as for the do-it-yourself foreskin perforation, all I can is, get over it, man. I mean, for starters, his penis looks nothing like yours. Think about it, you don't even have what he's hammering nails into. True, his penis was a tad on the strange side. That being said, it still must have hurt like one of them motherfucker thingies.  Oh, I'm sure it did. You just got to remember that for one to enjoy the sexier aspects of Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer  (i.e. the sight of the lovely Monika M. in various types of black legwear), you're going to have to suffer through the fair amount of ghastliness.
Call me misguided and sad, but I thought the dichotomy between hosiery and heinousness was expertly balanced. You don't often get that in most horror movies. But then again, I've noticed that Jörg Buttgereit doesn't seem like he's interested in making your typical horror film. Brimming with well-executed gore, off-kilter titillation, and a flurry of art-house pretensions, Schramm presents itself as a meditation on the life of Lothar Schramm (Florian Koerner von Gustorf - now that's a fucking name), a character we quickly find out has been dubbed "the lipstick killer" by the German press. Of course, as we reflect on his life, he's not the lipstick killer, he's just a cab driver who enjoys jogging and watching out for Marianne (Monika M.), his attractive next-door neighbour.
Lying motionless in a pool of white paint, it would seem that Herr Schramm (who is wearing nothing but a pair of undignified Bermuda shorts) will be doing no more killing, as it appears as if he's met his match. No, not by a cop on the edge or a plucky F.B.I. agent, but a wobbly step ladder. Yeah, that's right, the infamous lipstick killer was done in by a step ladder. Of course, the wobbly step ladder doesn't deserve all the credit. In fact, most of credit should go to the blood that used to flow through the bodies of a couple of door-to-door religious fanatics (Micha Brendel and Carolina Harnisch) who decide to show up at Herr Schramm's apartment one fateful afternoon.
Think about it, if he didn't slit the male zealot's throat with a knife or bashed the female zealot in the head with a hammer, he wouldn't have had to paint his bloodstained walls (the arterial spray from the male zealot was particularly intense). While I'm sure he could have just cleaned the blood off with a soapy rag, he felt to need to paint over the blood. Hey, I'm not one to question the domestic habits of serial killers. I mean, if he wants to paint, let him paint. Anyway, we soon learn why he is called "the lipstick killer," as the bodies of the zealots are covered with lipstick (they're also placed in lewd positions for good measure).
On the floor of his cramped flat, blood trickling from his nose and mouth, we enter Herr Schramm's subconscious as he slowly expires. What would a serial killer think about moments before he died? Flowers, maybe? Yeah, there were flowers. How about jogging? Sure, there was some jogging; that Herr Schramm loved to jog. However, since no-one, at least no-one I know, wants to watch a serial killer film about a serial killer who thinks about flowers, we get a scene where Herr Schramm wakes up to find that his right leg has been severed. Or, as they would say in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, "Woke up just now... one sock too many." Poking at the bloody stump with an uncomfortable brand of familiarity, Herr Schramm has just had the first of many disturbing dreams to come.
Shush! Stop talking about bloody stumps, Monika M. is about to appear onscreen. Hasn't she appeared onscreen a couple of times already? Yeah, but this a full body shot. What? Don't judge me. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Monika M., who is wearing black nylons (probably pantyhose given the shortness of her dress), can be seen talking to two older-looking gentlemen about business. And, in case you haven't figured it out yet, Monika M.'s business is prostitution.
As he's taking a shower after a long jog, Herr Schramm hears a knock at the door. It's Monika M.! And she needs Herr Schramm's help (for minute there I thought it was going to be more pamphlet pushers). As he towels off, Monika M. (her character's name, like I said, is "Marianne" but I prefer to call her Monika M.) asks him if he would accompany her while she makes a housecall (she's nervous about taking her whoring services on the road - she prefers to work out of her apartment).
The camera pans across to where Monika M. is sitting, and as its doing so, her robe falls open to reveal a pair of crossed legs sheathed in black stockings. Did this leggy revelation have any bearing on his decision to drive Monika M.? Probably not. But, nevertheless, I'm sure it didn't hurt. In meantime, Herr Schramm masturbates to the sound of Monika M. moaning  in her flat with a blow-up sex doll torso. The sight of Herr Schramm washing his blow-up sex doll torso in the tub after successfully penetrating it with his penis was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.
While waiting in his cab outside a large mansion as Monika M. conducts her business inside, Herr Schramm suddenly spots her in the doorway wearing a black knee-high socks, tan shorts, suspenders, a white short sleeve shirt, a pair of black men's shoes, a black tie, and a black belt. Why is she in this get-up, you ask? I have no idea. But obviously that's what her clients want her to wear. I don't know how Herr Schramm is supposed to look for Monika M. when he can't see inside, but I guess she feels better knowing he's out there.
In case you're curious as to what Herr Schramm does while waiting for Monika M. to finish, he listens to the radio and imagines himself at the dentist where he not only gets a tooth removed, his right eye taken out as well. Okay, let's see. So far he's imagined that his leg has been amputated, and now his eye. Could this be a metaphor for Herr Schramm's breakdown as  human being? Interesting.
A steady diet of weirdness (arty weirdness), blurry images, stockings, lumpy flesh, sit ups, a drawer full of lipstick, droplets of cum landing on the faces of fashion models, all set to this throbbing music, are what greet us over the next few minutes. Some might wonder if the film has accidentally morphed into a SWANS video. Most, however, will not wonder this, and just see it as arty weirdness.
After applying lipstick to his penis, Herr Schramm hammers three nails into his foreskin. And, of course, we're shown this self-abuse in graphic detail. This sequence is the perfect segue to Herr Schramm and Monika M.'s dinner date at a restaurant with "abstract" portions, as nothing makes me hungrier than watching a hairy German man hammer nails through his just as German penis. 
Take note of the way Herr Schramm eyeballs the wad cash in Monika M.'s hand when she goes to pay the bill. He stares at it intensely and starts to imagine how she got the money. Which leads to a flashback scene where Monika M. can be seen making her bed after servicing a client. In this scene, Monika M. is wearing her red hair in a beehive, a pair of shiny thigh-high boots (okay, they're not quite "thigh-high," they go just slightly above the knee), black stockings (which are attached to a grey and black girdle-like garter belt), and a diaphanous black top.
Spiked cognac, black pantyhose, and Polaroids are what dominate the nightcap sequence, as the action moves back Herr Schramm's apartment. You don't think he's going to kill Monika M., do you? If he does, I'm going to lose a fair amount of my shit. Stroke her pantyhose adorned legs as much as you want, but don't you dare hurt her. Besides, she's depending on you to protect her. And not only that, she's one of the only things in your life that isn't sick and twisted.
When vagina monsters begin to appear around your apartment at random, that's a good sign you have gone off the deep end. In fact, the deep end is nowhere in sight. I'm afraid you have gone beyond the realm of regular crazy, and into one that is...well, populated by vagina monsters. Mercifully short, Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer is art-house horror at its vilest. The perfect date movie for those who hate dating.

video uploaded by homoheide


  1. I know, tell me about it. I miss the days when I wrote about 13 Going on 30.

    Hi K.A. :)

  2. Just be thankful I don't have a foreskin fetish. ;)

  3. Yikes. This sounds icky, although Monika M. is completely haunting. I really need to watch the Neckromantic films first, I guess.

  4. Oh, yeah. I remember you being quite taken with Miss M.

  5. This going to sound weird, but if I had a choice, I'd rather watch a hairy, balding German man pound nails into his foreskin to the accompaniment of SWANS "A Screw" than people fucking a rotting corpses. The associate smells in the first are foul, but nowhere near as vile and vomit inducing as the latter.

  6. To each is own (that's an expression, right?). Now where did I put my hammer? :D