CAPSULE: NEKROMANTIK 2 (1991)

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: , Mark Reeder

PLOT: A young woman digs up a corpse with the intention of making him her lover; romantic complications arise when she falls for a living man.

Still from Nekromantik 2 (1990)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Nekromantik 2 is disconcerting, at times graphic and difficult to look at, but it is not that weird.

COMMENTS: According to Wikipedia, “necrophilia, also called thanatophilia, is a sexual attraction or sexual act involving corpses. The attraction is classified as a paraphilia by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. The term was coined by the Belgian alienist Joseph Guislain, who first used it in a lecture in 1850. It derives from the Greek words nekros; ‘dead’ and philia; ‘love’.” Even Disney would have difficulty making family-friendly fare based on the subject of “dead love.” German director Jörg Buttgereit had no intention of making a family film, of course. The original Nekromantik was banned in several countries.

Nekromantik 2 begins where the first one ended. Robert Schmadtke’s graphic and gruesome suicide is replayed during the credits. He stabs himself repeatedly in the stomach as his exposed erection ejaculates fountains of semen. We are then taken to a graveyard where we see a young woman digging up Robert’s corpse. She is a nurse named Monica who intends to make Robert her lover. No time is wasted establishing the premise. Monica, eluding detection, wheels Robert’s rotting corpse into her apartment. Once in the privacy of her abode she begins to fondle, kiss and undress Robert before mounting him.

The viewer is treated to a trippy slow motion scene of Monica’s coital experience. Soon she is running to the bathroom to vomit. Could it be her aversion to her own depravity making her physically ill? It seems unlikely. Monica’s character makes no apologies for her actions throughout the film. The character is not empathetic, she is a strong, independent woman obsessed with death, who also happens to have an affinity for sex with corpses. It is more likely the licking, sucking and kissing of a rotting, oozing, embalming fluid-filled corpse that is making her vomit. Robert is one nasty, icky looking corpse! The gore effects across the board were all properly gag-worthy and effective.

Enter Mark: a shy, awkward loner who does voiceovers for adult films. When a friend fails to meet him at the theater he offers the extra ticket to Monika as she happens by. The two see a black and white art film where a naked couple sit at a table covered in hard boiled eggs discussing birds. (This is apparently a cheeky wink to ‘s My Dinner with Andre). Mark and Monica hit it off and are soon dating. Mark falls hard for Monica, and tries to ignore her eccentricities: the family album full of funeral shots, the request he pose for pictures as if he were dead, the saran-wrapped covered scrotum in her refrigerator, the friendly all-female get-togethers to watch animal dissection footage. There are some tongue-in-cheek moments, and a few outright comedic ones, and a cameo from Beatrice Manowski who played Robert’s girlfriend Betty in the original film. Betty goes to Robert’s grave with the intention of digging him up, and is ticked off to see someone has beaten her to it.

Dialog throughout is quite spare. Not a word is spoken for the first eighteen minutes of the film, and there are several lengthy scenes without dialog that follow. There are a couple of scenes that definitely could have used a trim. Having seen the original Nekromantik, I thought I was prepared for anything. After watching the first ten minutes of Nekromantik 2, I started to think that I might have taken on something that was going to challenge me in a way I was not up to. Much to my surprise, I actually liked the film. And that finale! I could not have constructed a better ending for this film! Nekromantik 2 is well-filmed and appropriately nasty with a fascinating central character who makes no apologies for her most disturbing fixation. Outside of a few scenes in need of tighter editing, I found Nekromantik 2 unsettling and compelling viewing.

Nekromantik 2 Limited EditionThere are a ton of supplements included with Cult Epics Limited Edition DVD, including an introduction by Jörg Buttgereit; commentary from Buttgereit, co-writer Franz Rodenkirchen, and the film’s lead actor and actress; a “making of” feature; trailers for other Buttgereit flicks; an entertaining Buttgereit-directed music video for the Half Girl ditty “Lemmy, I’m A Feminist” (available on YouTube); the short film “A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein”; a concert performance by Monica M. with guests; and two versions of the film’s soundtrack, recorded and live. But the best extra is the two postcards included in the package that you can send off to loved ones. Cult Epics really went all out with the bonus material; all films should be treated this well!

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Buttgereit’s potent stab at transgressive cinema is more in line with the early films of John Waters or David Cronenberg than with the litany of directors associated with torture porn movies…”–Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com

2 thoughts on “CAPSULE: NEKROMANTIK 2 (1991)”

  1. Another nod to “My Dinner With André”? Cute.

    But then, the director seems to be “cute”; the introduction to “Der Todesking” likely affected my experience of the movie. There he was, being an affable, middle-aged German guy, thanking me for my interest in the movie and advising that it had an anti-suicide message.

    And I’d like to re-iterate McSorley’s point: these discs are beautifully packaged and extra-‘d. As to whether “all films should be treated this well”, I’d politely disagree that, with DVD releases, some movies should be treated more equally than others.

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