This obscure German horror film from 1987 is one of the more…interesting titles I have seen. If Terrance Malick decided to make a horror film I imagine it would look something like this. Never has a film about such an extreme subject matter been so artsy. “Nekromantik” will not be everyone’s cup of tea. Much like the films of Malick it emphasizes style over substance. However I believe this film is worth writing about because of its experimentation and risk taking. I don’t believe an American filmmaker would dare make a film like this. Plus, how many art house horror films are out there? From my count there aren’t too many.
“Nekromantik” does have a plot but the narrative isn’t the strongest part of this movie. The movie is about a guy named Rob Schmadtke and his very strange hobby. He collects human body parts. He has a very beautiful girlfriend who likes to bathe in blood. At one point in the film Rob brings home a dead body and the two have a ménage à trois with the corpse.
The plot is somewhat of a challenge to talk about because as I stated earlier this film is more concerned with being stylish and experimental rather than with telling a strong narrative. Do not come into this movie expecting well defined and establish characters because they are non existent. Throughout the film director Jörg Buttgereit utilizes flashback/dream sequences. What’s interesting about the film is that Buttgereit doesn’t explain what these sequences represent for Rob. He leaves that up for you the viewer to decide. Whether or not he does this effectively is up for you to decide. Personally I’m kind of torn. While I have to give Buttgereit mad props for not laying everything out I would have liked a little guidance. I mean, if I have to watch a sequence where a guy kills and butchers a rabbit I would like to know what the significance of said scene is.
One of the major scenes worth talking about is the infamous ménage à trois scene. Here you get to see a perfect example of the art house style that I mentioned. The idea of two people having sex with a corpse is a disgusting act yet imagine this sequence filmed in slo mo, with a blur effect all while this romantic piano music plays throughout. It is a scene that is not to be forgotten anytime soon.
Some other art house style moments are a scene where the moon for some reason turns into a skull, a sequence of Rob running like a child through the hills and a dream sequence where a re-animated Rob and a random woman play catch with a served head when it turns into human guts. There’s a sequence where Rob goes out to see a slasher film for some reason and another scene where Rob is watching a program on TV about phobias. Why these exist, I don’t know. During these scenes pretend you are a cinema snob and just make up some significance.
The music is quite interesting and helps make this movie stand out. For a film with such a disgusting subject matter and content the music is very melodic and pretty. Horror films tend to use dark, ominous sounds while this film goes in the opposite direction.
“Nekromantik” is a film I can’t recommend for its great story telling. It fails in that aspect. However it is worth checking out because of its experimental, art house style. If you are in the mood for something fresh, unique, experimental and not like most horror films I recommended giving this watch.It is a disturbing film with some great effects and a unique, singular vision. The movie clocks in at only 75 minutes so it is a quick watch. You might not revisit it very often but it is worth watching at least once. I imagine some will find this film to be a piece of pretentious garbage and it they don’t like it for that reason I can completely understand. However how often can you call a horror film pretentious? There is a sequel but I do not recommend it at all as it is one of the most boring films I have sat through. The music is great however.