Fritz Haarmann, aka the Butcher of Hanover and the Vampire of Hanover, was a German serial killer responsible for the murders of two dozen boys and young men during the so-called ‘years of crisis’ between the wars. His case would partly inspire Fritz Lang’s M, and its central character portrayed by Peter Lorre, as well as this forgotten gem from 1973.
Tenderness of the Wolves treats the viewer to a few weeks in the company of a killer. Baby-faced and shaven-headed, in a manner that recalls both M and F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, Haarmann is a fascinating, repulsive figure. Using his status as a police informant to procure his victims, he dismembers their bodies after death and sells the flesh to restaurants, dumping the remainder out of sight. This isn’t an easy film to watch, but it certainly gets under the skin…
Produced by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who also supplies a shifty cameo), Tenderness of the Wolves provided two of his regular actors with a means of expanding their careers. Ulli Lommel – later responsible for the infamous video nasty The Boogeyman – made his directorial debut, while Kurt Raab wrote the screenplay as well as delivering an astonishing performance as Haarmann.
Reviews"Lommel's film remains as disturbing a look at a serial killer as you're likely to see."
"Arrow Video's top-shelf Blu-ray presentation of this haunting, if tasteless, curio is among the year's most complete home-video packages for a standalone film."
"Arrow's disc looks and sounds great, and they've stacked the deck with some new extras that are just as interesting as the feature itself."
- Dread Central
New high definition digital transfer prepared by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original uncompressed PCM mono 1.0 sound
Newly translated optional English subtitles
Audio commentary by director Ulli Lommel, moderated by Uwe Huber
Introduction by Lommel
The Tender Wolf, a newly-filmed interview with Lommel
Photographing Fritz, a newly-filmed interview with director of photography Jürgen Jürges
Haarmann’s Victim Talks, a newly-filmed interview with actor Rainer Will
An appreciation by Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA and Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Tony Rayns, editor of the first English-language book on Rainer Werner Fassbinder