Just when you thought it would be safe to fornicate… Based on the underground 90s German comic series, Killer Condom takes a 32cm bite out of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an excellent three-disc set exclusively from Vinegar Syndrome. The 4K of the longer more satisfyingly hilarious Director’s Cut looks spectacular with the shorter but still sturdy and pleasurable Theatrical Cut looking fantastic in 1080p with hours of exceptional bonus features to dig into. One of Vinegar Syndrome's best releases to date, simply put, for cult film fanatics this is an essential addition to the collection - Highly Recommended
Never doubt the power and compulsion of complete and absolute absurdity. A story can be gritty and raw and pluck at the fibers of societal norms, while also being completely off-the-wall bonkers. Thus we have Martin Walz’s Neo-Noir Horror Comedy Killer Condom based on the comic series from Ralf König featuring toothy prophylactics designed with input by none other than H.R. Giger. The theatrical cut was fun in its day, but this new Director’s Cut allows the film to lean heavier into film noir tropes while playing full deadpan comedy for a phallically thrilling and hilarious horror show.
Out there in the seedy streets of New York, there’s a terror stalking the bedside tables of flop houses and shag shacks like the Hotel Quickie. Without warning, men looking for a little nooky are having their dicks bitten off. One. By. One. Grizzled Italian NYPD Detective Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel) has been assigned to solve the case. His initial dismissive skepticism quickly disappears when he loses his right testicle in the line of duty to a hungry toothy prophylactic. As the epidemic of masticated membrum virile worsens, even with one intact ball, he’s the only man who can protect the erect phalluses of the entire city!
Those of you out there old enough to remember video rental shops as a place where could discover new and obscure entertainment may well remember Killer Condom sitting on a shelf between the walls of new releases. Unleashed in the U.S. by Troma, the film was an underground cult hit playing to the high school and college dorm room crowd. The terrific blend of deadpan comedy, hilarious but impressive practical effects, and a firm rigid understanding of what makes Film Noir flicks tick, this is one heck of an entertaining Horror Comedy.
At the head of the show is Udo Samel as our gritty detective Mackeroni. Deadpan comedy is a tough job to pull off and then sustain for nearly two hours, but Samel gets it done. Channeling a weird version of Dirty Harry via Samuel Spade, Samel digs in deep playing every stereotype in the book without ever tipping his hat. As his dismissive partner (in crimefighting) Sam is Peter Lohmeyer. He's afraid of the truth (in more ways than one) and sticks in that extra load of deadpan comedy of the stereotypical unbelieving cop. Leonard Lansink is equally excellent as Luigi's former partner (in more ways than one) Bob Miller, who is desperate to be seen and accepted as his true self, Babette.
Director Walz is equally instrumental in making sure Killer Condom doesn’t slip off the shaft. What easily could have capped off a silly piece of sketch comedy becomes fully engorged as a feature film. Working with Ralf König and Mario Kramp on the screenplay, Walz brings the daffy comic book to life without underselling the comedy, horror, and impressive practical gore and creature effects while also hitting on a litany of social issues. Gay and trans acceptance, callous police responses to sex crimes, and puritanical social mores; all are themes that work to brilliantly flip the script defining traditional masculinity with our hero Luigi Mackeroni. And it does all of that with dead-faced earnest hilarity.
Renting this film on tape was something of a Mission: Impossible adventure, the kind of title you try to slip past your folks hoping they don’t notice. One look at the title on that white Blockbuster box and the mission was lost. The film was a hoot back in the day even when I wasn’t aware enough of the various ideas and themes that made the film genuinely funny. All these years later it’s still delightfully hilarious - and even better with the slightly longer Director’s Cut that leans heavier on the Film Noir tropes making the jokes somehow even funnier. Just when you think the joke is going to play out, it keeps getting funnier right to the a-rousing conclusion.
Of course, given the nature of the story, you have to give yourself over to the absolute absurdity of it all. A film that plays every plot development and character arc seriously, it’s going to be appealing to people who have a genuine sense of humor - albeit a weird and dark one. I mean, it’s called “Killer Condom,” it’s not exactly screaming out to be compared to cinematic titans but it deserves to be appreciated. It’s the perfect film for Horror, Film Noir, and Creature Feature film fans. If you can’t handle that combination, it’s probably not for you.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Killer Condom takes a lethal bite out of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an exciting three-disc 4k UHD + Blu-ray set exclusively from Vinegar Syndrome. The Director’s Cut appears in 4K on a BD-66 disc, in 1080p on a BD-50 disc, with the shorter more familiar Theatrical Cut arriving on its own BD-50 disc. All discs are housed in a three-disc black case with individual trays. The case art is reversible depicting the paper slipcover or the the hardstock slipcase art. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with a basic navigation menu system.
Swollen to 2160p 1.85:1 with HDR10 is the new Director’s Cut of Killer Condom and I must say it looks absolutely fantastic. Coming up through the Troma system here in the U.S. this was a staple of VHS and early DVD, but it never looked great. Now you can soak in all of the sweaty rubbery details of the Hotel Quickie, the mid-90s clothing styles, a few shots of New York before it got really cleaned up, and of course a certain horde of fanged contraceptives. Film grain is well resolved with a light cinematic veneer without looking too thick or intrusive.
With HDR10, colors pick up some extra refinements over the SDR 1080p counterpart. Primaries see plenty of care and attention. Red is obviously a standard color here with all of the dick-biting carnage. Skin tones are healthy and human without looking overly peached out or too red. Black levels are terrific as well lending some deep inky shades with healthy strong shadows for a nice sense of depth and dimension. Now you also get the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut in 1080p and they too look pretty terrific. Both cuts were sourced from new restorations from the 35mm camera negative so each presentation is pristine without any signs of speckling or age-related hassles. While I’d edge the 4K disc as the clear winner, if you’re only rolling 1080p and want this for the collection, you won’t be disappointed.
Now on the 4K and the 1080p Director’s Cut arrives with a German DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio mix with newly translated English subtitles. The Theatrical Cut features the film’s original German DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks. Not sure why the Director’s Cut also doesn’t get to enjoy a 5.1 mix, but on the whole the stereo track is more than capable of holding its own. The 5.1 mix for the theatrical had some fun surround moments for the more active scenes but mostly kept to the Front/Center range. Regardless of which version of the film you watch with whichever audio track, everything sounds fantastic. Dialog is clean and clear without issue. The English subs for each mix are right on point keeping the film’s deadpan style without overplaying the punchline.
Unwrapping the bonus features for Killer Condom reveals a magnum-sized load of extra content! You’ve got new and archival audio commentaries to dig into. Tons of new interviews, retrospectives, making-of documentaries, and cast/crew interviews. This is several hours' worth of extras - the kind of material I’m surprised wasn’t saved for a really elaborate VSU deluxe 4K release like Showgirls or Road House. For one of Vinegar Syndrome’s standard releases, this feels more elaborate and packed than the average. Not that I’m going to complain! Not only are all of these extras very informative, they’re also pretty damned funny too. Lots of great stories.
4K UHD Disc
Blu-ray Disc One
Blu-ray Disc Two
Killer Condom - or “Condom of Horror” as it’s known abroad - is just a damned fun film. Mixing a variety of genre tropes, it’s the perfect Film Noir Horror Comedy with a dynamite cast, great direction, a smart script, and a hilarious titular creature. Obviously not one for everyone but if you like your flicks with perfect deadpan comedy and a delightful appreciation of the absurd, this flick still delivers all these decades later. Now Vinegar Syndrome unleashes a terrific three-disc 4K and Blu-ray release. You get both cuts of the film, multiple audio commentaries, with hours of new interviews and archival extras. You love Comedy? You love Horror? You love Film Noir? You need Killer Condom! It’s a Must Own for longtime fans, and for newcomers, consider it Highly Recommended!