Valentine’s Day, a day that most of us use to fully express how much we care about the one(s) we love. Some give gifts like cards, flowers, or jewelry and go on dates. The card aisles are covered in hearts and my local Dollar Tree has way too many balloons hanging from the ceiling. So to celebrate Valentine’s Day I figured I would finally get around to watching Jörg Buttgereit’s tales of romancing with corpses, Nekromantik 1&2. Spoilers and taboos are a plenty.
*NSFW WARNING! NSFW things will be in this piece*
Some context on why Buttgereit made the film: it was to piss people off, especially the German censors. He set out to make an experimental romance film covering and showing taboos such as necrophilia, pornographic images, life/death with stock footage of a rabbit being skinned and people peeing. So going into this film expecting a horror film would be greatly misguided.
I first tried watching the Nekromantik a few years ago when I borrowed a copy from my job. I watched a good twenty minutes, was bored and shut it off. I went into expecting a horror film and instead got people peeing. I didn’t understand what Buttgereit’s intentions with the film were. So now its Valentine’s Day, my turn to do a Late to the Party, and I couldn’t come up with any other titles to watch for the first time. So here I am, once again, struggling to get through this film but with a new mindset.
Nekromantik follows the story of a road clean up crew worker who brings back corpses for him and his girlfriend to fool around with. His girlfriend leaves him and takes the corpse with her, sending him into a depression that ultimately ends in suicide. The film is about an hour and fifteen minutes long and I have officially fallen asleep during it on three separate occasions.
The film is low budget which kind of adds to realism of some of its more graphic bits, but is ultimately pretty damn boring. For me the scenes went on for ages and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes did the film truly capture my attention with it’s literal climax. All in all, the film has its audience and its not me. Would I watch this again? Probably not. Am I looking forward to watching the second one? Kind of, yeah.
Four years after the original Nekromantik the sequel, Nekromantik 2: The Return of the Loving Dead was released. This time into a few actual theaters which lead to it being banned by the German government. In the sequel, we find the “hero” from first film’s corpse being taken by a nurse. She develops a relationship with the corpse while also dating a man who works in porn. As her and the living man’s relationship blossoms, they both must cope with the skeletons in her closet, or should I say, corpse in her apartment.
he Loving Dead is in many ways a better made film. Better pacing, effects, lighting, acting, all around its evident that there was a bit more of a budget and experience in the making of this film. The blood/gore are better and plentiful. The blossoming love triangle is much more of an interesting story than the previous film’s couple breaking up. The random stock footage of an animal (this time a seal) is contextualized with the characters watching the footage, there is a musical number and the climax is just as messing as the first. Still, the film didn’t do much for me. Both films kind of come off as that kind trying to show you fucked up things he found online in middle school. Sure there is some shock, but you get tired of it pretty quickly.
Overall, both films did what they set out to do. Showcasing taboos in a “romantic” style, but outside of its shock value there is little substance to the films. The finales for both are interesting, but other than that I am honestly OK with being late to this party. It wasn’t really my scene. If watching a German experimental film about necrophilia sounds like a a good time to you, then you probably should check it out. If not then go watch You Got Mail. Meg Ryan is delightful in that.
Tune in next week as Shaun watches 30 Days of Night!