The Curse of Doctor Wolffenstein Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Reel Gore Releasing
Written and directed by Marc Rohnstock
2015, 116 minutes, Unrated
Blu-ray released on October 25th, 2016
Mika Metz as Doctor Victor Wolffenstein
Isabelle Aring as Emily
Robert Czerny as David
Roland Freitag as Mike
Julia Stenke as Tina
Klaudia Pawluk as Lucy
Stephanie Meisenzahl as Jenny
In the 1930s, Dr. Victor Wolffenstein was hard at work on his research to acquire immortality. His methods were unorthodox and relied on the experimentation on recently deceased members of the community. The local villagers rose up against the man who desecrated their family gravesites and took their revenge. Wolffenstein cursed his tormentors before being buried alive and vowed to return, which indeed he has, eight decades later. Having used himself as a test subject, the doctor is able to extend his life, but is forced to constantly replace several of his rotting body parts. He continues his work on unsuspecting locals with the goal of being the best specimen ever.
Underground cinema and the direct-to-video market have opened a lot of doors for viewers to see subversive and shocking content that would likely not be seen otherwise. In the 1990s, the international scene was particularly rife with talented young filmmakers blazing the trail for others to follow. Japan and Germany seemed particularly adept at delivering disturbing material with titles like the Guinea Pig series and Nekromantik respectively. Over the last two decades, advances in affordable filmmaking equipment have made it possible for anyone who wants to make a movie to do so, but unfortunately this applies to everyone – regardless of talent or creativity. It is nice to see the interest for gory exploitation pictures still exists, but sadly the creators of this movie lack the skill to make things entertaining.
I have not seen any of Marc Rohnstock’s other movies, but if he is growing as a filmmaker, this is not an encouraging sign. As writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editor, he manages to fail in every aspect and I wish he would focus his talents on just one task. The Curse of Dr. Wolffenstein disappoints on almost every level with the sole exception of the special make-up effects, created by Oliver Müller. The acting is neither decent nor terrible, rather it just simply is. What I mean by this criticism is that the characters never come to life and the actors are not necessarily to blame, as I am inclined to believe they may not have received competent direction. The biggest hurdle the movie faces is the bloated running time that at 111 minutes is easily forty minutes too long. Very little happens in the first half of the movie beyond the awkward inter-cutting of the two plots featuring either the doctor killing anonymous victims or the partying teens who will inevitably cross his path.
There are plenty of low-budget efforts I can recommend, but this is simply not one of them. I could try to point to the occasional inside joke or unexpected genre cameo, but these moments are so brief and surrounded by such banal material that it would not be worth your time to suffer through for only a brief smile. Dr. Wolffenstein successfully robbed me of nearly two hours of my life and I only pray you will heed my warning and stay far away from his flaccid grip and do something better with your time.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the transfer pushes every bit of detail and color to the best of its ability. Indeed, the picture really does shine beyond expectations of contemporary Euro-sleaze – and that’s a compliment.
The original audio recording is given both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track and they are equally pleasing. The energy of the hard rocking soundtrack is a lot of fun without stepping on dialogue or sound effects. The German-language film comes with Standard English subtitles.
Reel Gore releasing dives in with a decent number of special features for such an obscure title.
A behind-the-scenes featurette (9 minutes) showcases the efforts of the cast and crew making the picture, but sadly the segment is not interested in interviews.
Trapped and Stabbed (4 minutes) is a nice and grisly short film for your viewing pleasure.
An outtakes reel (6 minutes) offers a bit of levity from the set.
The original trailer is also included and provides viewers a fair idea of what to expect.