• The Inheritors (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: November 13th, 2018.
    Director: Walter Bannert
    Cast: Nikolas Vogel, Roger Schauer, Wolfgang Gasser, Anneliese Stöckl-Eberhard
    Year: 1983
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    The Inheritors – Movie Review:

    Directed by Austrian filmmaker Walter Bannert and released, through just barely, in 1983, The Inheritors focuses on a sixteen-year-old high school student named Thomas Feigl (Nikolas Vogel). By chance one day, he helps a classmate named Charly (Roger Schauer) escape from the police when they pull him over for driving his motorcycle without a license plate on it. The next day when Thomas, not the most popular kid in school, gets hassled by some Neo-Nazis in the locker room, Charly intervenes and saves him. At this point, Charly and Thomas strike up a friendship and Charly introduces him into the Neo-Nazi group that he’s a respected member of.

    Thomas takes to it pretty quickly. He’s intrigued not only by the acceptance he finds, but also the presence of some attractive and willing female members. The more he becomes involved with the group, however, the worse his homelife becomes. As Thomas starts to fight with his mother and with his teachers, eventually pushing back to the point where he no longer attends school, preferring to learn how to use guns and take military training instead. Of course, as his fanaticism grows, it can only mean there won’t be a happy ending for anyone involved in all of this…

    According the promotional material provided by Mondo Macabro, the events in the film were inspired by a real-life event that took place in 1979 where Walter Bannert was assaulted by a gang of Neo-Nazi teenagers. When he started researching this, he wound up infiltrating the group by pretending that he wanted to make a documentary about them. This inspired him to make The Inheritors based on the people that he met and the events that he saw while spending a few years with this group. Quite understandably, the film seems to have caused quite a stir when it was released, and it still has the power to ruffle a few feathers today, a few decades since it was made. It’s also a very smart film. Bannert is careful to take the time to let the viewers understand why Thomas and Charles would be so intrigued by all of this. The leaders of the group take them seriously where parents and teacher do not, and the fact that there are attractive girls around willing to oblige them is hard to ignore as well. As viewers not involved directly in any of this, we can see how the boys are being manipulated here, brainwashed in a way, but clearly the characters cannot.

    The movie takes a little bit of time to get going. The first half of the picture is slow, but that pays dividends when the second half starts up. It’s here that the pacing intensifies, with Thomas fully committed to the Neo-Nazi cause and willing to push away anyone who disagrees with his new political stance. Nikolas Vogel’s excellent performance makes this work. He’s very good in the role, always convincing and never overdoing it. Roger Schauer is also strong, and the supporting cast all do a great job here as well.

    The end result is not a particularly pleasant picture. The Inheritors is quite grim, you almost feel like you need a shower when it’s over, but it is very well done and, sadly, just as powerful today in its depictions of how and why people are drawn to fascism as it likely was when it was made.

    The Inheritors – Blu-ray Review:

    The Inheritor comes to Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative. There’s some minor print damage throughout and colors look a little faded, but the image is stable. Fine detail is at its best in closeup shots while skin tones look fine throughout. There are no problems with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction issues, the expected amount of natural film grain is present throughout. Black levels look decent if not quite reference quality.

    Dolby Digital Mono audio options are provided in English and German with optional subtitles provided in English only. The German tracks sounds much better than the English dub. It’s cleaner, clearer and it has better depth to it. The English track sounds flat by comparison, but it’s there for those who want it. A lossless option obviously would have been ideal here, and that didn’t happen, but the German track still sounds quite good.

    The only extras on the disc are German and English language theatrical trailers and the Mondo Macabro promo reel. Menus and chapter selection are also included. It would have been great to get a commentary or featurette here, as the film has a very interesting history.

    The Inheritors – The Final Word:

    The Inheritors takes a little while to get going but once it gets there, it proves to be tense and compelling stuff. A film that is as frightening as it is fascinating, it’s a smart picture, one that really makes you think about politics past and present. Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray is light on extras but it presents this rare film in decent shape, even if the presentation won’t necessarily floor you. Still, this is very much a film worth seeing – highly recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Inheritors Blu-ray screen caps!