Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Nekromantik 2 (1991)
Barrel Entertainment | Review by Dan Taylor

I caught Jorg Buttgereit's 1987 shocker NEKROMANTIK back in the late 1980s on a fourth-generation VHS bootleg. The flick had achieved notorious and well-deserved cult status thanks to its depiction of the love triangle between Rob (Daktari Lorenz), his girlfriend Betty (Betty M) and the corpses Rob brought home from his job cleaning up crash sites. Frankly, it was one flick that lived up to its b-movie buzz, and its masturbatory-suicidal "climax" is the stuff of legend.

Four years later, Buttgereit returned with the equally perverse and twisted NEKROMANTIK 2: RETURN OF THE LOVING DEAD, now on DVD from Barrel Entertainment. Instead of succumbing to fanboy demands for an immediate sequel, the director (who co-wrote the flick with Franz Rodenkirchen) allowed a little time for his sequel to gestate and delivers a wickedly funny and skin-crawlingly gruesome tale of looking for love in all the wrong places.

N2 wastes no time getting started, opening with a quote from executed mass murderer Ted Bundy and refreshing our memories of Rob's demise at his own hands. Faster than you can say "ashes to ashes," the attractive Monika (Monika M) is at the graveyard digging up Rob's coffin and bringing the body back to her apartment. It's no wonder she's so trim and in shape – digging up a gravesite and lugging a corpse home in broad daylight is no easy task. They oughta make it into a DVD workout program!

(Which brings me to a growing sore point of mine with how movies depict the process of digging. We recently had some work done at our house that involves me going out and moving shovels of dirt every few days. This is not an easy job. Just moving dirt from one end of the mound to the other is back-breaking, very sweaty labor. NEKROMANTIK 2, like many flicks, does not do this job justice, especially when it depicts Monika digging Rob up while she's wearing a skirt, stockings and heels. For a fairly accurate depiction of digging, please see COOL HAND LUKE. I'm done now.)

Once she gets him back to her apartment – lovingly decorated in early psychotic chick – it's time for a little lovemaking between Monika and Robert's rapidly-decomposing corpse. She's hot, he's green. She's sexy, he's sticky. And believe me, it makes for quite a scene. But what makes it even more disturbing is that we're not familiar with these actors and have no other roles to assign them to. When that unfamiliarity is added to Buttgereit's low-budget, raw 16mm photgraphy, the flick takes on a disturbing documentary feel that's hard to shake at times. Like you're watching somebody's home movies.

Somebody's really demented home movies.

Enter Mark (Mark Reeder), a pleasant fellow Monika meets one evening at the local cinema. Mark – who looks like the German Dave Foley from KIDS IN THE HALL and NEWS RADIO – makes his living dubbing sex films (in some of the flick's funniest sequences) and he falls for the blonde, milky-skinned Monika. After a date with Mark at an amusement park, Monika – armed with Jim Beam, the official corpse-dismembering liquor of NEKROMANTIK 2 – hacks up Robert's corpse but holds onto two body parts for old time's sake: one's his head and the other one ain't his hand.

With Robert (sort of) out of the picture, you can't help but wonder when Monika will decide she loves the dead more than she loves the living. Soon she's hopping atop Robert during sex so she can pin his arms down and hanging him upside down and naked from her ceiling so she can take Polaroids of his body displayed like a side of beef. It comes as no surprise that Mark tells a friend he thinks Monika is a bit "perverse."
To say anything more would spoil the jolts and shocks of NEKROMANTIK 2's tasteless, comical and totally satisfying climax.

As for the DVD, Barrel should be highly commended and I wish more companies would treat genre releases with this much care and attention. The quality of the full-frame print is amazing, especially when you consider it was blown up from 16mm. English subtitles are clear and easy to read, though almost unnecessary, as dialogue is minimal and it's a good 20 minutes before anybody says anything. Lavish bonus features include: audio commentary by the director, co-screenwriter and stars; a behind-the-scenes "making of" featurette that includes 25 minutes of footage; German radio interviews subtitled in English; a music video directed by Buttgereit and starring Monika M; outtakes, still photos, and an early Buttgereit Super-8mm short subtitled in English; and a CD featuring the complete scores for NEKROMANTIK and NEKROMANTIK 2.

If you're a fan of perverse horror cinema, this DVD rates as a must have.


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