Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nekromantik 2 (1991)

... aka: Nekromantik 2: Die Rückkehr der liebenden Toten
... aka: Nekromantik 2: The Return of the Loving Dead

Directed by:
Jörg Buttgereit


Whether or not you actually enjoyed Nekromantik (1987), you've got to hand it to German director Buttgereit for making quite a lasting first impression. Working with a microscopic budget and utilizing grainy Super 8 black-and-white film stock, he managed to turn his feature debut into a successful cult hit by daring to be incredibly disgusting. The tale of necro sex (which was banned in certain countries and quite controversy upon release) has gone down in the history books as a must-see for shock cinema devotees. In other words, a sequel was in order. The major differences this time out is that there's a female lead, it's in color and it doesn't quite go the same gross-out route. It takes the proceedings pretty seriously and there's a somewhat arty approach to the material, pacing and camerawork. Things open with the memorably nasty suicide of the first film's protagonist Rob (Daktari Lorenz), which begins in black-and-white and then turns to color. Now he's about to get a taste of his own postmortem medicine when his rotting corpse becomes the sexual centerpiece of a disturbed female necrophile's dark desires.








Nurse Monika (Monika M.) shows up at a cemetery dressed in high heels, stockings, a polka dot blouse and a miniskirt and armed with a shovel and pick-axe. She digs up Rob's body, takes it home, strips it naked and indulges in a little bump n grind with the slimy, blue body (which ends up making her sick). She cleans the body up, tries to camouflage its bad odor with flowers, dresses it, poses for pictures with it and snuggles with it on the couch. But Rob isn't the only man in her life. She's also just started dating Mark (Mark Reeder), who works as a porn movie dub-over artist. After going on several dates, she starts to like him and begins fancying a normal relationship. And that means Rob has got to go. She puts the corpse in a bathtub and dismembers it with a hacksaw in loving detail while she sobs. Not able to completely part with it, she saves the head (which she keeps in a casket in her living room) and the penis (on a plate in her fridge) and takes the rest back to the graveyard.








Pretty soon, Monika and Mark start getting a little more serious, but he becomes perplexed by her odd behavior. She never wants him to move during sex and likes taking bizarre photos of him (like hanging upside down naked). He also discovers her little penis plate in the fridge, but doesn't say anything. Monika has a few of her girlfriends over (sort of a necro support group) to watch a video of a seal autopsy (?!) and Mark begins to think that something is seriously wrong with his new girlfriend. The gruesome finale proves he is correct in his assumption.






Not nearly as graphic or disturbing as the first movie (though it has its moments), this steers away from the grotesque gore for a more serious, though leisurely, look at necrophilia. Buttgereit takes his sweet time telling this simple story and many of the scenes seem to go on far longer than they needed to. Some of the camerawork is truly excellent, though, and the music score is consistently interesting. There's even a great fantasy musical number sequence in here. As far as the gore is concerned, it's mostly relegated to three scenes but Sammy Balkas' makeups (especially a very bloody decapitation) are very effective. Beatrice Manowski (star of the original Nekro) has an in-joke appearance and Florian Koerner von Gustorf (who starred in the director's follow-up Schramm [1993] along with Monika M.) has a small role as a drunk guy at a bar.






Nekromantik 2 began production in 1989 and has a copyright date of 1990. In 1991, shortly after its release, Munich police officers seized the film because they said it "glorified violence." It remained in their custody until someone made a successful case for it being art. Buttgereit (who can be seen here in a cameo viewing a ridiculous black-and-white art house film in a theater scene) also makes time to plug his obscure film Hot Love (1985).

★★1/2

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