that the scent of love in the air, or merely formaldehyde?
Daktari Lorenz plays Rob: Works for Joe’s
Street-Cleaning Agency (JSA), whose specific purpose is the disposal of
dead bodies. This works well for Rob, because he kinda favors dead bodies;
as a matter of fact, Rob has quite an extensive collection of body parts
at home. He inevitably gets to bring home a whole specimen, much to the
delight of his girlfriend, Betty. Together the three “get better
acquainted.” But as we all know, these love triangles almost always end
Beatrice Manowski plays Betty: Rob’s girlfriend,
and fellow corpse aficionado. She eventually dumps Rob after he loses his
job (rationalizing that not only will he have no income, but he’ll no
longer have access to dead bodies). To leave Rob is one thing, but she
goes a little too far when she takes the cadaver with her. It’s not
often one hears something to the effect of, “I’m going home to
Mother’s, and I’m taking the corpse with me!”
Harald Lundt plays Bruno: Rob’s immediate
supervisor at the JSA. Bruno doesn’t like Rob, due to his work ethic
being rather lackadaisical. He eventually gets our hero fired after
finding one of Rob’s soiled uniforms left in his locker, quite stagnant
after sitting over a long weekend, and thus stinking up the rest of the
locker room. I’ve heard people complain about coming home and smelling
too much like their job, but jeez!
Heike Surban plays a prostitute: Feeling rather
down, Rob decides to pick up a hooker to cap off a delightful evening at
the porn theater. They go to a graveyard and attempt to get down to
business, but with no luck due to a “lack of interest” from Rob. The
prostitute then makes the mistake of mocking our hero, and he, of course,
kills her. After that, relations prove to be no problem whatsoever.
most amazing thing about this movie is the fact that I argued in favor of
reviewing it. You see, as I’m sure you already know, every few months my
colleagues and I in The B-Masters’ Cabal pick a theme, then we each
review a film that pertains to said theme. When the topic of “Tainted
Love” came up, I immediately called dibs on this Jorg Buttgereit
classic. To be honest, it was the only film I could think of; that, and it
just seemed like
the logical choice. A couple weeks later, Andrew Borntreger, of the
world-renowned Badmovies.Org, stated that he
planned on reviewing Nekromantik. Being an overly-defensive schlep,
I quickly whined, “But I wanna review Nekromantik!”
which Andrew immediately replied, “Go right ahead, ya idiot!”
something along those lines.
with that being said, it appeared that I had won this epic struggle. (A
verbal struggle, naturally; Andrew is a Marine in the truest definition of
the word, and I like to keep my limbs exactly where they’re intended to
be, thank you very much.)
I digress, the point is – I won! Or so I thought I won. Come to find
out, it would be Andrew that’d have the last laugh. Though I do recall
having seen Nekromantik many years ago, I had absolutely no
recollection about what a boring piece of trash it is. It’s dull, I
tellya! I mean, one would think
that a movie about necrophilia would be fascinating simply due to the
nature of the taboo subject matter. I would think one should feel naughty
when watching such a bizarre film. Or perhaps shocked. Nauseated. Anything.
just felt bored.
production value (and here I was thinking that the investors would be
knocking down Buttgereit’s door!), dimly lit, silly special effects, and
most surprisingly of all – hardly any shock value. How can you make a
film about bumping uglies with the dead and yet lack shock value? Perhaps
all my years of trudging through cinematic dreck has desensitized me.
Yeah, I guess I could just be a jaded fool, but I’ll be damned if I can
count on both hands the number of times I yawned while screening this
don’t think Buttgereit intentionally
attempted to soften the material; I simply believe that Jorg doesn’t
know what he’s doing as a director. Granted, I’m no filmmaker, but I
honestly don’t think it would be too difficult to make a shocking film
about necrophilia. Instead of shocks, we get scenes of people urinating
– disgusting, sure, but hardly shocking. Buttgereit also dips into
Ruggero Deodato’s bag of tricks by including scenes of real animals
being slaughtered; in this case, a little bunny rabbit. Sure, seeing Peter
Cottontail gutted before our very eyes is, in fact, a bit overwhelming –
but all in all, it’s a cheap scare. Any idiot can hold a camera while
Farmer Vincent skins a rabbit. When you get down to brass tacks, dumb
ploys like this didn’t work for Deodato, they didn’t work for John
Waters (Mondo Trasho features gratuitous chicken homicide), and
they don’t work for Buttgereit.
for one, expect a higher caliber of filmmaking when tackling sensitive,
thought-provoking issues like necrophilia – this is a topic that the
majority of the public have strong convictions about. People want
necrophilia to be taken seriously, by a director with enough vision to do
the job right. Until that day, we’ll just have to continue our quest to
find that elusive cinematic gem that does the subject matter
haunting love theme from Nekromantik.
after a gruesome car crash, authorities merely leave the mangled bodies
out in the open until the cleaning service can dispose of the mess. No
signs. No roping off the area. Nothing. Just trashed cars and mutilated
corpses – free and open to public consumption.
gripping urination scenes. Two of ‘em!
growing collection of body parts, sitting on shelves like Grandma might
keep fresh preserves.
misspelled subtitles – they couldn’t even do that right!
ridiculous implications how the rabbit being gutted (shown several times
for our viewing enjoyment) somehow relates to Rob’s disintegrating
sanity. How deep is that?
trippy sex scenes shot in flashback cam. Wow! The picture is all wavy!
Why, it must be art!
the throes of passion, Betty sits up to give her cold lover a kiss, and
his eyeball immediately pops out of its socket. Hilarious, but not
intentionally, I presume.
phallic use of a sawed-off piece of iron pipe. It may sound gross, but
they did use a
condom – so at least it was safe.
touching scene where Betty reads the corpse a story. I’m not kidding, she
reads the corpse a story!
“Dear John” letter Betty leaves Rob stating that she’s leaving
him, and taking their mutual friend with her. For one thing, I find it
hilarious that she would use the corpse as emotional retribution against
her former lover. But the question comes to mind, how does this petite
woman transport the corpse of a full-grown man inconspicuously through
the streets of Germany? That’s one to grow on…
tribute to Re-Animator where Rob, in a fit of jealous rage, kills
his cat. He then takes it one step beyond by gutting the feline, then
bathing with its innards. Classy!
whacked-out dreams where he plays catch with a decapitated head, then
frolics about a field while tossing around a slab of meat (kind of
looked like spare ribs). Why, this too must be art!
-- Copyright © 2001 by J. Bannerman