Director – Jörg Buttgereit, Screenplay – Jörg Buttgereit & Franz Rodenkirchen, Producer/Photography (some scenes b&w) – Manfred O. Jelinski, Music – Herman Kopp, Peter Kowalski, Daktari Lorenz, Monica M., Mark Reeder & John Boy Walton, Special Effects – Sammy Balkas & Alors Vollaert. Production Company – Buttgereit-Jelinski
Monika M. (Monika), Mark Reeder (Mark)
A nurse, Monika, digs up the corpse of necrophiliac Robert Schmadtke and takes it to her apartment where she makes love to it. Following a chance encounter in a cinema, she becomes involved with Mark, a voice-synching actor for porno films. She makes the decision to dispose of the corpse – all but the head and penis – in favour of a live lover. However, Mark finds her obsession with death and the severed body parts she keeps in her fridge difficult to handle.
Jörg Buttgereit’s NEKRomantik (1987) was a gut-churningly raw no-holds-barred piece of no-budget shock film-making and was almost instantaneously banned in every country. Nevertheless, it was enough to see the making of this sequel. NEKRomantik 2 comes made with a greater sense of professionalism in the production and a greater command of the medium on the part of Buttgereit. It is also a sequel that, while it tries valiantly, also stands in the shadow of its predecessor.
The budget has allowed director Buttgereit to hire professional actors rather than rely on amateurs. This time, the film also contains a story of sorts wherein Buttgereit gets to revisit the same themes as the original but expand upon them in terms of character and backstory. Alas, the reliance upon story and straight dramatics tends to show Jörg Buttgereit up as a director whose best effect comes from a full-on assault on one’s sensibilities and as being flat and pedestrian when it comes to straight drama.
The attempt to add story only ends with a number of long and dull patches – montage scenes of the couple going to the fairground; filler subplots about Mark Reeder’s work as a porn-movie dubbing artist; and scenes from a film where the couple first meet entitled My Dinner with Vera, a nude parody of My Dinner with Andre (1981), that feels like one of Buttgereit’s early student experimental films which has been inserted for the sole purpose of padding out running time.
Nevertheless, the film develops a sense of humour and a level of sharp irony that the first film never had. There are some effectively amusing moments in the sheer weirdness of Mark Reeder trying to make sense of finding severed penises in Monika M.’s fridge. There is also a potent scene where a group of women sit around nonchalantly eating crackers with the corpse’s severed head lying on the coffee table while they watch a video of seals being slaughtered and gutted. There is also a compelling moment where the hero attempts to play one of Monika M’s porn videos and reacts in disgust to find the seal slaughtering video but where, in a moment of almost Buñuelian reversal, she reacts and says she finds it more arousing that watching closeups on cocks and cunts.
By sheer dint of being a sequel, NEKRomantik 2 lacks the novelty of the first film’s sheer shock value. There is still much that Buttgereit manages to make effective. The scene where Monika M. first undresses and makes love to the corpse is good. There is also a long and incredibly gory sequence where she places the corpse in the bath and then saws off its head and penis. These scenes are made all the more disturbing through the use of an amazingly convincing looking corpse. The film mounts to a logical and shocking climax where Monika M. solves her indecision between necrophile and fleshly love by severing Reeder’s head during coitus and replacing it with the corpse’s.
Incidentally, the plot arc in which a female necrophiliac becomes involved with a flesh and blood guy who cannot understand her fetish, culminating in her finding her solution in the guy’s death and her copulation with his corpse, makes the film incredibly alike the similar, albeit less graphically presented, Kissed (1996).