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Nekromantik(1988)(Review)[Foreign Friday]

Oh, once again, we’ve returned to an infamous “Video Nasty” just for your (dis?)pleasure. Tonight’s offering is a hefty dose of necrophilia, depression, and bad romance. It’s coverage of these topics was so taboo that it was only released here in the United States (with an official release) in 2014.

‘Nekromantik’ tells the tragic love story of Betty & Robert – a young couple passionately in love who have a passion for collecting body parts to display in formaldehyde. In pursuit of this passion, Robert has a job as a street sweeper/crime scene cleaner, and he likes to bring home souvenirs when he can to make Betty happy. One day, an unidentified rotting corpse turns up in a local swamp, and Robert is left alone to handle it. So, he decides to bring it home for Betty as the ultimate gift. But he isn’t ready for the consequences of these actions.

There is an extended love scene (a couple, actually) where they attach a pipe to the crotch of the rotting skeleton, put a condom over it, and make love to it. It’s treated artistically as an actual fetish instead of just some exploitative set up. But shortly after this new affair begins, Betty begins to prefer the corpse, and we follow Robert as his life spirals all the way to the bottom.

The movie is actually quite lovely – in a very morbid way, of course. But it doesn’t handle the content like any other director would’ve by showing lots of gratuitous nudity, non-simulated sex scenes, or things like that, instead we see the passion behind the actions, we see colorful mandalas as the images are dispersed through prism-like lenses, and the music is absolutely gorgeous (which alone adds a patina of class). It’s honestly romantic and sweet while being as dark and decrepit as the skeleton itself.

It is a rather disgusting/disturbing topic, so naturally, approach this with caution if you are interested. The corpse effects are goopey and slimey and very realistic. There is one on-screen cat death which I personally had to fast-forward through, so be prepared for that (but you’ll know when it’s about to happen) and there is home-footage of an actual rabbit being caught, killed, and skinned. And this movie ends with such a powerful, absurd ending that needs to be seen to be believed. I laughed, I gasped, and couldn’t move for a couple minutes afterwards.

It’s not nearly the most depraved film out of all the extreme films I’ve seen so far, but it’s obvious why this low-budget German feature has earned its reputation. But it’s full of heart and artistic ingenuity, so it’s anything but another schlock picture.

“Nekromantik” is currently streaming on Shudder.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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