Next we come to Jorg Buttgereit's notorious little ditty embracing the eroticism of death, which certainly has a deserved reputation. It's an ode to man's darker obsessions which, though lyrical and lovingly-made, is completely ill of mind. A primitive work that evokes a myriad of reactions -- revulsion, curiosity and possibly even amusement, with some sequences having the flavor of a bloodthirsty Luis Bunuel in its exploration of the absurdity of human existence. Jorg seems to go out of his way to offend his viewer's sensibilities, and isn't afraid to kick right off with a disturbing on-screen auto accident aftermath in which a woman has been cut in half. Here we first meet Rob, an employee of Joe's Streetcleaning Agency, which is responsible for body-bagging roadkill remains. Well, Rob's the type of guy who likes to take his work home with him and he has a secret collection of eyeballs and organs pickled in formaldehyde (he must've been a riot during Show 'N' Tell when he was a kid). He's turned on by the notion of death and decomposition, as is his live-in girlfriend Betty, so when Rob lugs home an entire rotting corpse one night, they're in ecstasy. They both get off on rubbing its wormy flesh and they even go so far as to take it to bed and have sex with it... OK, I know what you're thinking right about now. Yes, the director is one sick fuck, but his film never offended me the way many splatterfests can. Sure, it's not exactly family entertainment, but Buttgereit's charting some twisted themes here, and any gore is approached in an almost lackadaisical fashion. What emerges foremost is the relationship between two people linked by their necrophilian needs. And when Betty walks out on Rob when his fresh corpse supply dries up, we follow his trek into madness and the self-awareness that he's addicted to ever-escalating sexual excitement. Its ultra-realism is beyond anything being served up on U.S. screens today, and the pic wades through every manner of depravity to arrive at its razor-edged conclusion. Daktari Lorenz is alternately pathetic and sympathetic as Rob, and as Betty, Beatrice M. is a powerful sexual presence. You might not 'enjoy' this film, but there's an urgency in its fetishistic delights (and it's a little creepy to think how much I liked this movie, thinking about it afterward). Despite some low-budget crudeness, I found it hypnotic. An incredible, indelible achievement that breaks new boundaries in the horror that lies within.
© 1991 by Steven Puchalski.