Ginger Nuts of Horror
Welcome back to Film Gutter. Today we're still treading water in the deep end as we come to the close of our trilogy of Jorg Buttgereit reviews. After 1993's Schramm, the German director went distinctly quiet on the film front but is now just starting to re-emerge in a small way in the world of European horror cinema. But today's focus is on the sequel to one of the most controversial offerings of the video nasty era – yes, it's time for Nekromantik 2. This movie holds the dubious honour of having copies seized in Munich within a fortnight of its release, a stunning censorship move for the 1990s.
It's hard to say that Nekromantik 2 is honestly any worse than its predecessor, either in terms of shocking content or overall quality, to justify such an extreme response from German authorities. Our lead role is Monika (played by Monika M of Schramm) and the tenuous link to the first film sees her digging up Rob's fresh corpse and taking it home. She's aware of his activities in the first movie, which is potentially why she has chosen his body. Her boyfriend is Mark, who has the rather dubious job of dubbing porn films. However Monika is a little uneasy about her status as a necrophiliac, which leads to a first unsatisfying sexual encounter with Rob's cadaver. Instead she takes a bizarre series of photos with her in various poses with the corpse.
Monika tries to give up her strange sexual tendencies, cutting the body to pieces and keeping only the head and genitals. Why you would keep these in the fridge – especially when your boyfriend might pop by at any time – is beyond me. And why Mark would come back again after finding another man's private parts in the fridge is even more beyond me. Anyway, that's effectively what happens, which gives an interesting contrast to Nekromantik, where the couple were both agreed on their odd sexual predilection. Monika has to spend a lot of time hiding her desires or explaining herself to Mark.
I don't want to spoil the end of this one, as there's a beautiful twist involving Mark and Monika, which kind of makes me wonder why Nekromantik 3 never happened. But how to conclude this review? Well, it has that uniquely Buttgreit-ian style, half artistic and half grotesque, but for me I found this a bit less impactful than the original. Perhaps it was because I knew to some extent what I was letting myself in for, or maybe this one was – as I genuinely thought to myself upon viewing – a bit softer. There's a love story at the heart of this – true, an absolutely demented one, but it is there. And what's more it has a happy ending.
RATING – 6.5/10. It'll sound strange to say that I've really enjoyed my Buttgereit blitz (although I have ducked his fourth 80s/90s feature Der Todesking in these reviews – for no particular reason, just that the idea of the anthology film didn't grab me quite so much). Partly that's surprised me because of the film's contents, but also because I haven't rated them very highly. As films, I think all three that we've looked at share common elements – very interesting visually, light on plot, sometimes gratuitous to absurdity and sometimes genuinely shocking. There are flaws in each that have held me back from awarding them really high ratings, but each is distinct and different from a great deal of what you will typically see in cinema, and that probably makes them as much worth watching as anything if you've got an interest in the field. So it's a perfectly passable 6.5/10 for this film.