Nekromantik

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,735
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Movie Info

With Nekromantik, first-time feature director Jorg Buttgereit mixes cheap gore, transgressive imagery, and cosmic dread into a cult-classic examination of sex, death, and boredom among the youth of pre-reunification Germany. Passive, blank-faced Rob (Daktari Lorenz) spends his days collecting human roadkill from the side of the Autobahn and his nights enacting a quietly macabre domesticity with girlfriend Betty (Beatrice Manowski, credited here as Beatrice M.) in their autopsy/industrial/Nazi-themed apartment. One day Rob delights Betty by bringing home a decomposed corpse dredged from a swampy roadside lagoon; with a sawed-off bedpost in place of its rotted genitalia, the body serves alternately as a vile wall decoration and the third member of a grotesque and quite graphic ménage à trois. When Rob loses his job, material girl Betty hoofs it, and her divorce settlement includes the couple's favorite sex aid. An alienated Rob soon turns to horror movies, animal torture, prostitutes, and graveyard sex in his quest to find the unique combination of utter degradation and total acceptance he shared with his one true necrophile love. Meanwhile, the haunting image of a rabbit being skinned plays like a cartoon in the young man's imagination, perhaps a childhood memory, perhaps an existential dream. Ultimately, this slaughterhouse motif leads Rob to enact a painfully final solution to his deadly eroticism; his journey would nevertheless continue in Buttgereit's Nekromantik 2 a few years later. Although it received its German premiere in 1988, work on Nekromantik started in late 1986, when Buttgereit, the veteran of several shorts, began fashioning the corpse that would figure so heavily in the story; the director knew that without a realistic-looking prop, the project wouldn't be worth filming in the first place. As Nekromantik's cult following grew slowly in Germany, then abroad, rumors abounded that the filmmakers had used actual dead bodies during the shoot. In fact, the film's main corpse was largely synthetic, although real pig eyes from a slaughterhouse filled its sockets -- and, in some scenes, the characters' mouths. Manowski would go on to appear in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, while composer/co-star Lorenz would largely give up acting in favor of his musical activities, which included several more collaborations with Buttgereit. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Nekromantik

All Critics (6) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Nekromantik

  • Mar 31, 2014
    Banned films generate an interest in me unlike any other kind of films. By nature it is easy to assume that these banned films have content that goes past the boundary good taste, but what about how it's made and what it has to say. Not every story can be toned down to get its message across applying the same to what it shows. If done correctly such a film can be consider art regardless of the content, but "Nekromantik" says otherwise. Why have substance to tied together a series of ugly scenes to leave a impression with the message it wants to get across. Nekromantik follows a street sweeper who cleans up grisly accidents bringing home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him. That synopsis gives away a majority of what occurs in the film. No characterization, no motifs, no metaphors, banal dialogue, no subplots, and no plot bring any meaning. Fundamentally with these story techniques broken it's inapprehensible to obtain a reason to care for it has to say. It doesn't matter what absent is a cohesive narrative and characters, but how it chooses to get across it point that should be criticize. How it says it message is stringed together by scenes that have little to no correlation to the preceding events. Literally opening with a women pissing in the field after providing a warning label to not show the film to minors. She gets back into a car with her husband to only to crash on the road because they weren't paying attention. Showing the death of these characters play no importance to the film neither in their living moments or their corpses is redundant without establishing its own key ingredients. Repeating this pattern in its short duration with seemingly random stock footage of a rabbit getting his throat slit, and then see the blood drain out onto the ground as it twitches and breathing his last breath. Later the protagonist flashback again to his rabbit being hung upside down, skinned, eyes are torn out of the remains of his head, and has the rabbit inside pulled out. At first this flashback has no semblance with what occurring in the scene. It isn't until the ending that it's vaguely (in the thinnest possible way) explained it triggered the protagonist desire of the dead. When it chooses to provide background on the protagonist whatever the plot point may be is meaningless when introduce. Since the protagonist is a walking, singular purpose plot device there's no significance to be immediately found on his journey. It has scenes where there is some meaning to be found. For example, the protagonist goes to a movie theater and he is disgusted by the violence on screen while the rest of the viewers are empathetic. The point this scene makes is clear that exposure to fictional violence desensitizes real violence. I don't have to agree with the film message, but if it claims responsibility to attempt to convince it should at least try to do so. Something it fails since the basic storytelling techniques are broken. Despite clocking around seventy-five minutes the film manages to make a scene where a couple has sex with a corpse boring. That's right a film that makes corpse sex boring. Without substance to support itself it damages its own message delivery. Throughout the film it gives the viewer little to go on and even less in context. All you could do is guess which leaves you filling in the holes of lazy writing. Like the film warning said it shouldn't be shown to minor and I agree because if it can't execute what it's trying to convey then why should anyone see it including minors with morbid curiosity. Director Jorg Buttergereit spares all expenses when it came to filming. Looking very poorly shot on a bad super 8 camera with the grainy video quality. Acting is poor with actors given very little dialogue to be said. Under poor direction the conversations despite there being very little sound robotic and unnatural. Without dialogue the actors to an extent have body movement convey little. Since the characters receive non substantial development the actors aren't sure are how to react in a given situation. Despite Bernd Daktari Lorenz portraying a character who collects human bodies parts (gore is substituted by animal organs) and a necrophiliac he shows expression of disgust when bathing in the blood of a dead cat (which he killed in a earlier scene). Editing is terrible drowning out the instances the actors do speak. Sound drop and rises in quality at seemingly random or have long stretches where music of notable production problems. The music is minimal and the track it uses is the best thing about the film. John Boy Walton's "Menage A Trios" juxtapose the happy, upbeat music with Rob's violent perversions. This score is the closest the film comes to disgust that is earned by effort and not imagery. Either that or the score expresses director Jorg Buttergereit excitement in seeing a man stabbing himself. Nekromantik for all it intentions to shock has a point to get across, but getting to it will have you fight a battle against boredom. Non existent characters, no cohesive story, and poor production values leaves very little to gain. Where it fails the most how it executes its story to a get a point across without substance to what it does. Its protagonist might prefer the dead to the living, but filmgoers will prefer better films that touch on the taboo subject matter without sacrificing competent filmmaking.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 24, 2013
    As a horror fan, I am always looking for the next great shock fest. I often hunt down obscured titles that are hard to find and tend to push the envelope. I have seen my fair share of shock horror, and I personally feel that Nekromantik is the most depraved film that I have ever seen. There is not a single shroud of artistic talent that went into making this film. The objective of the film was to shock, and it most certainly did that. This is a morally reprehensible piece of crap that never should have been made. I've seen my fair share of bad movies, but this one is one of the worst. Poorly acted, with emphasis on a highly controversial subject and a tasteless plot that lacks in every manner, this is a film that makes even the British Video Nasties look Tame in comparison. Director Jörg Buttgereit goes for shock value, and he gets it. I absolutely hated the film, and it doesn't offer anything worth seeing. The plot was awful, and the film looked bad as it was shot on a Super 8 format, which I think it was. Buttgereit is a director with no talent to speak of, and if he tried to use his film as a social commentary, he failed. With Nekromantik he explores the most disturbing side of human perversion, and you ask yourself why the hell would anyone make a film like this? I'm a fan of Exploitation films, and I do enjoy shock cinema, but this goes beyond poor taste. I can't understand why anyone would call this a masterpiece, as it is truly the most tasteless film in the history of the medium. This is supposed to be an "art house" film, well it isn't. The film is vile trash that simply doesn't entertain. There's a reason why films like this are obscured, and they should stay that way.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2012
    I doubt anyone could actually enjoy this film (Well, most people can't anyway) It's certainly a cult classic with all the gore, eye balls and animal corpse; I don't know whether this should be a horror film or just a sick piece of crude. Of all the course of watching the film, the only enjoyable moment was the exploration on sex and death, two of the most interconnected themes that intertwine perfectly. The satire or ironic themes were well used, I loved the use of music and soundscape to create a false sense of security, as if nothing is wrong. I am shocked the willingness of the actors to sacrifice themselves to create the disturbing imagery. I actually have to skip through the animal killing bits because it's just too disturbing.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2012
    Nothing artistical or anything of the sort in this film. It's made with the pace and means of a documentary, without a real plot, so no matter how inadequate or shocking the facts could have been in a different context, they seem perfectly normal here, with these people. The characters act like there's no boundary between the world of the living and that of the deads and they do it so naturally that confuse themselves with the corpses, which is easy because they don't seem to have any life in them, I mean not only they lack any psychological depth, but they have absolutely nothing at all to do (and that is kinda scary... or maybe just comical in the light of the modern times).<br/>Not a good movie, but an interesting experiment.
    Alice S Super Reviewer

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