Nekromantik 2 (1991/Blu-ray/Cult Epics) Review

Perhaps what separates German splatter icon Jorg Buttgereit from the majority of his peers is his playfully morbid sense of humor when it comes to his art. Where others were channeling their demons through home-made horror, Buttgereit seems to have been having merely a bit of twisted fun when he made his most infamous film, Nekromantik. It is as much a nakedly emotional and honest account of a particular sexual fetish as it is non-degradingly humorous. It’s also a very tough act to follow, so how does Buttgereit’s sequel rank in comparison to the original? Let’s jump right into the autopsy and find out.

How exactly does one do a sequel to Nekromantik? Well, like all good sequels, you take the key elements of the original film – and that includes both what people liked and what they didn’t – and turn everything up to eleven. Nekromantik 2 is for all those critics who thought the first film was too extreme, too slow, too pseudo-artsy, too slight, and featured one unnecessary animal killing too many. It plays out very much like a parody of Nekromantik for the most part, with the difference being that this time Buttgereit has some new toys. And oh boy does he use ‘em.
Do you recall how, at the end of the original, our poor necrophilia protagonist offed himself in a particularly fashionable (read: over-the-top, and then some) way, and then a shovel and red heel are seen desecrating the grave? This is where the sequel begins, with the main corpse-lover now being a woman named Monika. She takes the corpse back to her apartment, has her way with it, dresses it up all nice, and then takes some pictures with her new lover. You know how it goes.
The conflict of the film comes from a man by the name of Mark – a man who does voiceover dubbing for porno flicks and by coincidence gets mixed up with Monika. We see her trying her damned hardest to have a normal relationship with this man, but ultimately it’s the dead she desires, and from there you can pretty much guess where the story is going.
It’s pretty simple, although Buttgereit is content to milk it for all it’s worth. There are a few notably bloody sequences, and this is an area where Nekromantik 2 certainly does one-up its predecessor, and I appreciated the darkly comic touches, which are more prevalent this time around. I also enjoyed the feminist angle that the film assumes, with the audience seeing everything through the eyes of Monika, and in the end she is more or less empowered. Once again, there is no judgement in regards to her perhaps unusual activity; so really, this is the Buttgereit that I know and love.
Nevertheless, there are many things that bother me about the film. For starters, it’s ridiculously slow at times, one could even call it a bit of a slog. There are scenes which seem to go on forever, for no particular reason; and yes I understand that this is all a part of the satire but there should always be a good deal of entertainment that can be derived from these things, and unfortunately Nekromantik 2 just isn’t always fun to watch. I wish that Buttgereit had focused even more on Monika, getting inside her head-space, rather than wandering so much outside of it. I consider it a missed opportunity at a character study.
Still, this is splatter cinema with brains, and it’s hard not to admire the attempt to be transgressive. Nekromantik 2 is not a bad film by any means, in fact I lean more towards the positive side of things in spite of my problems, and I will admit that it made me chuckle a few times. Beatrice M. showing up too late to be in the sequel, the severed penis kept on a plate in the refrigerator, and then the ending, which ranks amongst one of the funniest I’ve seen; all of this is gold. Buttgereit is a talented fellow, and Nekromantik 2 just goes to show that even when at his most indulgent, he is still able to produce compelling art.
The Cult Epics disc is sure to please the fans. This is clearly the best the film has looked, a worthy upgrade from past standard def releases, with good audio to boot. And then there are the extras, which alone make the disc worth the purchase. Included is a commentary track, a making-of featurette, a collection of trailers for Buttgereit’s other films, a short film and recent music video (both directed by JB), and a trio of featurettes that show much love for the outstanding original score. This includes a live concert video in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the film, the original motion picture soundtrack, and a live concert track as well.
Overall, I would highly recommend the disc to any JB and/or Nekromantik fans. It may not be a great film, or reach the emotionally resonant heights of the first film, but it’s a commendable effort nonetheless, and may indeed improve upon subsequent rewatches. Nekromantik 2 is an outrageous and violent portrait of German angst that puts many of the director’s skills as an artist on full display, and should not be missed by any adventurous genre fans. 

-Ryan Marshall

Director: Jorg Buttgereit
Lead Actor/Actress:
Genre: Horror/Exploitation
Blu-ray Release Year: 2015
Theatrical Release Year: 1991
Time Length: 104 mins.
Rating: NR
Region Code: A
Release Company: Cult Epics