4K UHD: Killer Condom

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

We’re still in the era of using protection during pleasure. There’s a lot of nasty stuff out there including super strains of venereal diseases that can’t be cured with penicillin. The first thing you’re supposed to ask before getting frisky: Did you bring protection? But what if that protection is going to attack? Killer Condom is a German film that dares to give us a reason to feel frightened instead of elated when you rip the seal on a fresh rubber. The movie takes us to the kind of grubby New York City you find in classic films such as Basket Case and Frankenhooker. We’re given a detective that seems like a parody yet becomes iconic and a “killer” that’s as outrageous as advertised.

Things are getting freaky at the Hotel Quickie in a seedy part of Manhattan. A teacher takes a female student there with the promise of extra credit help so her academic career isn’t ruined. She tearfully agrees. The creepy teacher grabs the complimentary condom provided by the hotel and gets an extra nasty surprise. How nasty? Detective Mackeroni (Udo Samel) arrives on the scene. He’s an unshaven schlub who can’t exist without puffing away on a cigarette. He’s what happens if you merged Kojak, Columbo and Sledge Hammer behind the trigger of a gun. He’s not quite buying the girl’s story that a condom took a special bite out of her teacher. Turns out the teacher isn’t the only victim on the “members only” killer. The Quickie Hotel is a rather rancid place full of kinky folks that enjoy their vices. He and his assistant Sam Hanks (Peter Lohmeyer) begin to stake out the scene including the leather bar element. While this could be seen as a spoof of Cruising, turns out unlike Al Pacino’s character working deep cover, Mackeroni is gay. He’s extremely comfortable on the assignment although Sam has all the awkwardness when he has to wear a leather harness to go undercover. When Mackeroni takes a suspect up to a hotel room, he’s ready to do more than interrogate. As the two discuss protection, the detective becomes a partial victim. He knows the killer condom is real. But will anyone else on the force believe him?

Killer Condom was originally distributed in America by Troma. This film has quite a few of the gross out qualities you expect from a Troma movie. The films special effects feature H.R. Giger (Alien) and Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantic) joining forces. You’re talking about two people who grossed out so many theater goers over the decades. The duo brings the trauma to the screen. They made a condom with teeth scary enough to be nightmare inducing. There’s also quite a bit of depth to the film that keeps it from being a one note comedy. While the movie was made at the end of the ’90s, Mackeroni is the type of TV detective that we don’t get to see: an openly gay cop who is messy. Udo Samel takes what seems to be a joke character in thd opening and makes him memorable as a detective who wants love in his life. It’s brilliant performance from him. He makes this a film you’ll want to watch again and not merely watch it once to see the joke. This is also a good thing since the Killer Condom boxset contains two cuts of the film. First is the Theatrical Cut that’s 108 minutes long (and only on a Blu-ray disc). We also get the 118-minute director’s cut. Both versions are in German. Killer Condom will remind you that sometimes you need protection against your protection.

Killer Condom is mostly available through the Vinegar Syndrome website.

The Video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 4K UHD transfer of the Director’s Cut will make the condoms with teeth look extra frightening. The Audio is DTS-HD MA stereo for both cuts. Both films are only in German so it’s strange to see cops on New York Streets sounding like soccer players. Both movies are subtitled in English.

Brand new commentary track on the Director’s cut features Martin Walz and special effects supervisor Jörg Buttgereit.

Archival commentary track on the Theatrical Cut features Martin Walz and Jörg Buttgereit. You can see how their memories have changed over the years.

A Rough Ride (35:23) is a recent interview with co-writer/director Martin Walz. He talks about how he started acting as a kid and his first film was The Boat Is Full which was Oscar nominated. After that film, he ended up in a serious of not that great films. One day on the set he realized he could do the director’s job and that was his pursuit. He took an intensive 16mm filmmaking at NYU and got on his way. He started making Killer Condom with a $4 million budget. They were casting during production. Walz gets into how things came together.

This Is What We Built! (19:45) has Martin Walz doing a bit of ‘show and tell’ with things from the movie. We get to see H.R. Giger’s sketches for the killer condoms, the church, the mad scientist’s factory. He gets out the storyboards. We see the Troma press kit and German lobby cards. He explains the exterior of the Hotel Quickie is the only one done in Berlin. All the other outside shots were done in New York City.

Severed Parts (25:55) has the special effects supervisor Jörg Buttgereit explain how this low budget film had cost as much as all of his films that included the disturbing Nekromantik. He was approached to do the special effects and direct the effects scenes. This was good since he was able to finally pay his crew who had done so much for free. He did have a bit of an issue with a producer who wanted things a bit more comic instead of the frightening realism. We see video of the effects crew at work.

Rubber and Rushes (21:09) has editor Simone Klier explain what she learned from cutting Killer Condom. She mostly edited TV films and documentaries when she was recommended to Martin Walz. She had no clue about him at their first meeting. He choose her when she mentioned Billy Wilder comedies as her favorite. They had a tight schedule of three and a half months from first day of production to delivering the final print. She cut it on 35mm and not digital video. It was not an easy gig with the time crunch.

Holy Mackeroni! (18:45) reunites Martin Walz and actor Udo Samel. Samel talks about his career before he had to track down condoms in New York City. He points out that he found a lot of connections between himself and Mackeroni.

What Is This? (14:03) has actress Adriana Altaras attempt to explain what she was saying when the killer condom grabbed her nose. Her first film was a hit in Yugoslavia. She was friends with Martin Walz when she offered him the gig. She had a kid before flying to New York City. She wasn’t sure if the film was an adult film, a horror or a comedy. She decided it was a comedy.

It’s Just a Movie (22:29) has actor Peter Lohmeyer recounted how he originally wanted to be a social worker. He didn’t want to read the script when it arrived because he wasn’t interested in being the assistant to the main cop. But then he realized it was a meatier part. He also found elements of the film as important. He played the role with comic strip gestures. He wants a sequel to explore his Sam Hanks character more. He recently took his wife to see the movie and she laughed a lot. So he’s happy.

Really Special Items (14:21) is a visit with prop collector Roman Güttinger in his massive collection. He has a few original killer condoms and a prop body part that was bit off. He has one of wrappers of the rubbers given away at the hotel. They made crew hats!

Ich hätt’s ihm früher sagen sollen… (7:27) a 2003 short film directed by Martin Walz about two women in an apartment and a late-night phone call that elevates to a nightmare.

Archival making-of featurette (9:37) is the EPK. They do a great job selling the concept of the killer condom creatures.

Behind-the-scenes footage (10:49) has them on the streets of Manhattan shooting the big final outdoor scene. Even better is seeing H.R. Giger with the crew looking over props.

Archival on-set interviews (8:57) has Udo Samel explain this isn’t a gay film even though his character is gay. He does like how his character isn’t in the closet. Other actors discuss the comedy in the film. They speak in German with English subtitles.

Would You Use This Condom? (1:55) is an archival featurette if a man on showing off the killer condom on the streets of Manhattan to grossed out people.

Original theatrical trailer (4:53) is for the German release.

Original video trailer (1:17) has the newcaster describe the new killer on the loose in Manhattan.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Killer Condom. Directed by Martin Walz. Screenplay by Martin Walz & Ralf König. Starring Udo Samel, Peter Lohmeyer, Iris Berben, Leonard Lansink, Marc Richter, Evelyn Künneke. Boxset Contents: 1 4K UHD Disc & 2 Blu-ray Discs. Rating: Unrated. Release Date: September 26, 2023.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.