“Following decades of darkened closets, spoiled cheers, and abject silence, TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES tries to be as loud as it possibly can.” -- Clayton Dillard, Slant
“Fassbinder's early-’70s color films perfected a sleazy look somewhere between rotogravure and smudged comic book; [this film] continues the tradition. Lommel fills his screen with deep shadows and underlit rooms, with garish nightclubs and deserted train platforms.” -- Roger Ebert
Fritz Haarmann, aka the Vampire of Hanover, was a German serial killer who murderer two dozen boys and young men during the so-called “years of crisis” between World War I and II. 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: the directorial debut of Ulli Lommel (THE BOOGEYMAN, THE BLANK GENERATION).
The movie rests on the shoulders of Kurt Raab, longtime R.W. Fassbinder collaborator and a most unique screen visage. Baby-faced and shaven-headed, Raab’s portrayal of Haarmann is fascinating and repulsive. 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 Fassbinder himself, who also supplies a shifty cameo!