|Directed by||Jörg Buttgereit|
|Produced by||Manfred Jelinski|
|Written by||Jörg Buttgereit
|Music by||Hermann Kopp
John Boy Walton
|Editing by||Jörg Buttgereit
Manfred O. Jelinski
|Distributed by||Leisure Time Features (US)|
|Running time||75 minutes|
Nekromantik (stylized as NEKRomantik) is a 1987 West German horror film directed by Jörg Buttgereit. It is known to be frequently controversial, banned in a number of countries, and has become a cult film over the years due to its transgressive subject matter (including necrophilia) and audacious imagery.
The film centers on Rob Schmadtke, the tragic hero, who works for "Joe's Cleaning Agency", a company that removes bodies from public areas. This job leaves him the perfect opportunity to pursue his full-time hobby: necrophilia. He returns home from his job to his apartment and girlfriend, Betty. He plays with his assortment of preserved human remains and watches television while Betty takes a bath in blood-laden water.
Rob then enters a daydream of a young lop rabbit being caught on a farm and graphically slaughtered. He then returns to work and discovers his new obsession, a whole rotting corpse. It is discovered in a pond, and during the removal process Rob absconds with it. He excitedly returns home to Betty like a husband returning with a romantic gift for his awaiting wife. They immediately cut a steel pipe and put a condom over it so Betty will have a phallus to straddle during their ménage à trois. This is immediately followed by a jump shot of grilling meat which is never established as either human or otherwise.
Betty and Rob dine and converse while watching their new "toy" hang on the wall, while plates collect the fluids that drip out. Rob goes to work the next day to be confronted by his co-workers, who are tired of him leaving his dirty suit to fester in his locker and for his constant tardiness. After being bullied up the stairs to his boss, he is fired.
The film then jumps to Betty in the apartment, reading a love story to the corpse. She asks the corpse if it could feel the love in the story and begins to straddle the face of the corpse. When Rob returns, he informs Betty of his termination and she berates him for his failure as well as the fact that he did not stand up for himself. He comes home later and finds that Betty has left and has taken the corpse. In a violent outburst, he kills their cat and bathes with its blood and entrails in the tub while the body hangs over the tub. He then leaves to go to see a film and, after being bullied by a fellow movie-goer, leaves to go back to his apartment.
Once there, he attempts suicide with pills and whiskey. He begins to drift into a dream where he emerges from a garbage bag as a partially decaying Rob. He is soon greeted by a woman in white who gives him a corpse's head and they begin to dance, tossing the head and entrails of a body back and forth. Once he wakes up, he leaves his apartment and hires a prostitute. They go to a cemetery, where he strangles her and then has sex with her corpse. He is startled as he awakes beside her with an old man standing over them. Rob grabs the man's shovel and chops his head off. This is followed by Rob running along the coast.
The film closes with Rob's suicide. A grisly "climax" to the film, which is composed of Rob stabbing himself while ejaculating. This scene is filled with flashbacks to the rabbit slaughter seen earlier in the film, but in reverse. In a final ironic twist, we see Rob's gravestone until a woman starts digging him up.
The music of this film is heavily minimalistic and is repetitious. This gives the feeling of Rob existing in his own personal "protective cave". This music is often upbeat which helps foster and build on the already gross sense of perversion in the film. This is very noticeable in two scenes using the song "ménage a trois" by John Boy Walton. This is shown during the first time that Rob and Betty have sex with the corpse as well as during the suicide of Rob. By juxtaposing the happy, upbeat music with Rob's violent perversions, Nekromantik creates a high level of tension and repulsion in the viewer.
The film is currently banned outright in Iceland, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore, and the provinces of Nova Scotia and Ontario in Canada. In 1992, The Australian Classification Board banned the film outright in Australia due to "graphic necrophilia content". In 1993, the film was banned in Finland. The film was banned outright by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in 1999 due to "revolting, objectionable content (necrophilia, high impact violence, animal cruelty and abhorrent behavior)". The film is banned in a number of other countries as well.