Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Nekromantik"(1987)d/Jorg Buttgereit

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From the instant I had heard of this movie's release in Chas Balun's Deep Red magazine twenty years ago,I had my hands on a grainy bootlegged VHS copy,the ghosting and tracking lines only lending to the film's low budget ambience.As nearly unwatchable as it was,I was an immediate fan of Buttgereit and his warped visions.With remastered prints available for the first time on dvd,a new generation of horror fans can make a beeline for the nearest bucket to hurl in,and revel in the glory of a love story as only my favorite German director can tell it!It remains just as innovative and shocking today as it was back in 1987.
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Some Germans aren't very good at driving.
Robert(Daktari Lorenz) works at Joe's Streetcleaning Agency,sweeping up the streets of Germany after horrible car accidents and such,and unbeknownst to his fellow employees(one of which is director Jorg Buttgereit himself)sneaking off with random body parts that he takes home to enjoy with his morbid girlfriend Betty(Beatrice Manowski),before placing them in jars full of preservative on shelves.Obviously,theirs is a different brand of love than most people's.Elsewhere in the fatherland,a man shooting at birds in the sky and enjoying some lager accidentally kills his neighbor with an air rifle as he picks apples on a ladder,falling onto a rake.Ouch.He discreetly wheels the corpse down his street and dumps it into a swamp.No harm,no foul.Meanwhile our two lovebirds' relationship is missing that certain je ne sais quoi,as Betty is bored with the bits and pieces Rob brings her home when he can.All that changes drastically months later,as JSA is called in to extract the waterlogged,rotting corpse of our apple-picking friend from the bog.Ever attentive to his girlfriend's needs,Rob decides to steal the corpse before going home that night.
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"A present for me?You shouldn't have!"
Betty is thrilled with her decaying present,and after sawing a broomhandle and covering it with a condom(such sticklers for hygiene,these Germans!)and stuffing it into the cadaver's rotting pelvis where apple boy's penis USED to be,the couple retire to bed with dead body in tow and make love,surely the strangest threesome ever committed to celluloid.Though Betty is now satisfied,Rob starts having problems at work,smelling like an open grave plot,and unresponsive to constructive criticism.While Rob gets chewed out on the job,Betty sits home,reading to the corpse,screwing it,and bathing in blood,with her sunglasses on(of course).Inevitably Rob gets sacked,and gets chewed a new turd-cutter at home by an angry Betty,who is concerned with the state of their dead pal's rapid decomposition(hanging him on the wall and catching his bodily fluid run off in bowls isn't cutting it).
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Betty and putrified corpse,sittin' in a tree,f-u-c-k-i-n-g.
When Rob discovers her "Dear John" letter explaining that she has left,and taken their skeletal friend with her,Rob's world comes shattering down around him.After beating his cat against the walls in a garbage bag,then bathing in kitty guts,he decides to seek out pleasure like he once knew, in a myriad of twisted ways.He attends a slasher film at the movies,doesn't work.He solicits a prostitute in the graveyard,who laughs at his flaccid penis until he strangles her to death.That does the trick,so he rapes the hooker's corpse there on a grave.(Blech)He is awoken the next morning,pants around his ankles,by the caretaker,probably wondering why he's sleeping on a grave next to a dead,raped whore.Rob deftly grabs a spade and clefts the inquisitive man's head off at the upper jaw and leaves.In his dreams,Betty and he run in slow-motion through a field in springtime,tossing human intestines back and forth,having a frolicking good time.He also dreams of himself buried up to his neck,and walking about,half of his face torn away to reveal a death mask.It is now that the answer to his problems dawns on him.He lies on his bed with a large butcher knife,undoes his pants to relieve the pressure of his now-massive erection,and proceeds to stab himself to death in the midsection,blood spurting everywhere.As he cries tears of joy and stabs away,his penis ejaculates semen and blood,as he dies contentedly.At his gravesite,a stocking-clad female leg leans against a spade thrust into the earth.Will the lovers be united?
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Rob discovers the true meaning of happiness in the granddaddy of zany endings.
A luridly beautiful movie shot entirely on Super 8,Nekromantik was Buttgereit's first major feature,ranted and raved about by the horror community worldwide.He followed it up with "Der Todesking(The Deathking)",an artsy and well-made film documenting how people die in 1990.The inevitable sequel,"Nekromantik 2:Return of the Loving Dead"(1991),was seized by authorities at a premiere screening in Berlin.His last horror feature to date was "Schramm"(1993),a look into the life of a dying serial killer and the prostitute who lives next door to him.All are required viewing,thought-provoking and original.
Four out of four B.W.'s


Victoria said...

This movie really hit a spot in my heart, and since the original viewing I haven't been able to hide my love for Jorgs work. It has the perfect formula for the more underground watcher... Almost frightfully realistic gore, a unique love (gone wrong), and the ultimate ending. The even better part of this movie, is that there is very little dialogue which shows that the atmosphere builds the story itself.

I think the only downside I saw to the movie is that it has a slower pace, so its not for everyone and in a more mainstream appeal would make a better short story... but in an artistic view the length is irrelevant (similar to Der Todesking).

beedubelhue said...

I'm in agreeance with you,sister.

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