It’s said that there’s nothing sweeter than love. That it, amongst all other human emotions, conquers all. Apparently, death is included in that catch all in that little Hallmark moment of a thought. How do I know this? I submit exhibit A, Jorge Buttgueiets Nekromantik, for the courts examination. Released in 1988 and banned in a multitude of countries due to “graphic necrophilia content” for years upon its release, Nekromantik has always been a bit…weird. It sits there in the classroom that is horror cinema, not saying much but attracting attention none-the-less because it’s that “artsy foreign kid who smells” (to be fair, if Nekromantik was a person they would smell. You know they would).
Nekromantik introduced to the world to Rob Schmadtke, a man who’s occupation it is to pick up corpses from car accidents. That sounds like a place with high moral and good employee retention right there. They probably have a killer benefits package too. This dealing with bodies business obviously leaves Rob in an enviable position; enviable if you’re a necrophiliac that is. Our intrepid, corpse fucking hero manages to get his hands on a slightly-less-banged-up-than-usual body thanks to his connections and does what any loving significant other would do: he brings home his new friend for a little horizontal skin hitting. Well, some skin…and bone…and muscle fiber…and…well, you get the picture!
What begins is a tumultuous relationship of sex and death between a man, a woman and a rotting human cadaver. It’s some romantic stuff that’s sure to make you hold your loved one closer at night. Like when they lovingly fashion a phallus from a pipe so Betty can have a go ménage a trois style . How about how they bond by draining the remaining vital fluids from their new “friend” to do who knows what with? It really makes you want to call up the one you love and let them know you care. Am I wrong? NOPE.
Its not all genital jousting and bodily fluid exchange though and eventually things start to break down in our loving family. Rob loses his dream job and in doing so, loses Betty. Betty, being a woman not to be left in the lurch, ditches the now jobless Rob in favor of her new squeeze. Yup, you read that right. She left him for the corpse. So next time you feel down in the dumps and like life has handed you a dud hand, remember Rob; He’s a deader fuck than a dead man. As one would assume, this takes its toll on our hero and plummets him into the depths of despair, leading to further stomach churning life choices.
Is Nekromantik worthy of all the praise? Yes. Is it still as shocking as it once was? Not nearly. With films like Martyrs, A Serbian Film and Life and Death of a Porno Gang being some of the go-to “shock” films of the day, the simple act of a man and woman fucking a corpse is found to be lacking in the moral outrage and physical repulsion department. We do, after all, live in a post-“newborn porn” climate. The gore is nowhere near the level of realistic and repulsive that we are used to seeing these days (thanks American Guinea Pig!) but the atmosphere is fully intact and has stood the test of time. If you find yourself sitting there one day wondering “should I watch this movie about a mans love of post-humus coital copulation?” then the answer is a resounding yes.
– Scotty can be found inciting moral outrage on Twitter
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My brother and I watched every single shitty horror movie in the 49-cent rental section of Hastings back in the 90s, so I’ve seen a lot of garbage.
But this is the only movie I’ve ever truly regretted watching. This and its sequel.