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Nekromantik (1988)

Cast: Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski
Director: Jörg Buttgereit
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Tapeworm
Genre: Foreign, Horror, Germany, Erotica
Running Time: 75 min.

With Nekromantik, first-time feature director Jorg Buttgereit mixes cheap gore, transgressive imagery, and cosmic dread into a cult-classic examination of sex, death, and boredom among the youth of pre-reunification Germany. Passive, blank-faced Rob (Daktari Lorenz) spends his days collecting human roadkill from the side of the Autobahn and his nights enacting a quietly macabre domesticity with girlfriend Betty (Beatrice Manowski, credited here as Beatrice M.) in their autopsy/industrial/Nazi-themed apartment. One day Rob delights Betty by bringing home a decomposed corpse dredged from a swampy roadside lagoon; with a sawed-off bedpost in place of its rotted genitalia, the body serves alternately as a vile wall decoration and the third member of a grotesque and quite graphic ménage ā trois. When Rob loses his job, material girl Betty hoofs it, and her divorce settlement includes the couple's favorite sex aid. An alienated Rob soon turns to horror movies, animal torture, prostitutes, and graveyard sex in his quest to find the unique combination of utter degradation and total acceptance he shared with his one true necrophile love. Meanwhile, the haunting image of a rabbit being skinned plays like a cartoon in the young man's imagination, perhaps a childhood memory, perhaps an existential dream. Ultimately, this slaughterhouse motif leads Rob to enact a painfully final solution to his deadly eroticism; his journey would nevertheless continue in Buttgereit's Nekromantik 2 a few years later. Although it received its German premiere in 1988, work on Nekromantik started in late 1986, when Buttgereit, the veteran of several shorts, began fashioning the corpse that would figure so heavily in the story; the director knew that without a realistic-looking prop, the project wouldn't be worth filming in the first place. As Nekromantik's cult following grew slowly in Germany, then abroad, rumors abounded that the filmmakers had used actual dead bodies during the shoot. In fact, the film's main corpse was largely synthetic, although real pig eyes from a slaughterhouse filled its sockets -- and, in some scenes, the characters' mouths. Manowski would go on to appear in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, while composer/co-star Lorenz would largely give up acting in favor of his musical activities, which included several more collaborations with Buttgereit. ~ Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Disturbing, horrific, haunting. by macewen August 27, 2007 - 9:01 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
If you rate a horror film's horrific success based on simple special effects and technological breakthroughs, you shouldn't be watching horror in the first place: you should be renting George Lucas and James Cameron flicks. Nekromantik was not just shocking "for its time": it horrifies and unsettles in ways that horror films today can't even come close to approaching. The current spate of horror-films-helmed-by-ex-rock-video-directors are more concerned with lightning paced editing and loud, thunderous soundtracks than they are with genuinely disturbing the viewer. Buttgereit's sick little masterpiece gets under your skin and sends you straight for the shower once it's over. And, oh! that ending!!

Shocking for the 80's but... by Emomovieluver January 27, 2003 - 9:34 AM PST
11 out of 17 members found this review helpful
No doubt much talk has been said about the graphic and gore content of the film for other than that, there really is nothing else to talk about. Running like a long short film, "Necro's" only value is what I'm sure for the late 80's was very shocking content though in light of the supposedly shocking reality challenge shows of 2000, lots of this film shock value (like the rabbit skinning and cat entrails eating) seems almost tame. In light of today's special FX innovations, the lead corpse of the movie also looks lame (I've seen better at local Halloween attractions these days!) and most of the body parts and mutilation shots look amaturish.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.50)
123 Votes
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