NEKRO WEEKEND

nekroweekend

In the wake of Halloween, as Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season approach, it is not uncommon to feel a sinister wave of nostalgia for late-October’s frightful ceremonies and gleeful celebrations of the macabre.

At Spectacle we understand this feeling—we experience it too, particularly in the wake of our yearly SPECTOBER programming—and that’s why this first weekend of November is dedicated to a tradition of dark desire all too infrequently celebrated in today’s culture: necrophilia.

Also called ‘thanatophilia’ or ‘necrolagnia,’ necrophilia—a word derived from the Greek etymons ‘nekros (“dead”) and philia (“love”)—is the sexual attraction to corpses. A rare yet potent paraphilia, the record of its existence has persisted throughout human history; it can be found in the most ancient of Egyptian and Greek texts as well as in today’s newspaper at your local corner store. Jeffrey Dahmer was a vocal proponent; wild animals love it.

Yet few depictions of necrophilia in popular culture are as humanizing and romantic as those found in pioneering transgressive German filmmaker Jörg Buttgereit’s two “NEKRomantik” films, from 1987 and 1991. With a limited budget and unlimited audacity, Buttgereit depicts marginalized characters without judgement or ridicule, left to their circumstances with a realism and directness that startles, perplexes and remains lodged in the brain.

Join us for two consecutive midnights immediately following All Hallow’s Eve in which we highlight two severe works that feature not only the most sacred act between man and corpse, but groundbreaking and challenging depictions of the extremity of the human condition.

Special thanks to Nico B., Jörg Buttgereit and Cult Epics in their cooperation with this program.

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NEKROMANTIK
Jörg Buttgereit, 1987.
West Germany. 71m.
In German with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST – MIDNIGHT
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

[TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains scenes of explicit sexual contact, mutilation, rear female nudity, violence, frontal male nudity, dark humor, disembowelment, nihilism, decapitation, deviant sex, depictions of murder, frontal female nudity, a depiction of the actual killing of an animal, ejaculation, mental illness, rear male nudity, criminal mischief, dismemberment, sexual perversion, blood, adult language and necrophilia.]

“What lives that does not live from the death of someone else?” -V.L. Compton

Rob and Betty are a perfect match: they bathe in blood, collect body parts and share a fetish for unresponsive flesh that neither can adequately satisfy for the other. Rob has a dream job working for Joe’s Cleaning Company, removing dead bodies from the scenes of public accidents. One day he brings home the mother lode and the couple’s sexual dynamic is changed forever… but paradise is fleeting.

Upon its release in 1987, NEKRomantik was of course immediately banned in virtually every country that became aware of it (across four separate continents). Although never officially banned in the UK—it even played at a number of film festivals, including Leeds in 2012—it was nevertheless confiscated repeatedly during bootleg video raids and customs inspections.

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NEKROMANTIK 2
Jörg Buttgereit, 1991.
Germany. 102m.
In German with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2ND – MIDNIGHT
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

[TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains scenes of explicit sexual contact, mutilation, rear female nudity, violence, frontal male nudity, dark humor, disembowelment, nihilism, decapitation, deviant sex, depictions of murder, frontal female nudity, a depiction of the actual killing of an animal, ejaculation, mental illness, rear male nudity, criminal mischief, dismemberment, sexual perversion, blood, adult language and necrophilia.]

“I want to master life and death.” -Ted Bundy

Picking up right where its predecessor left off, NEKRomantik 2 continues the saga of Rob and Betty while also focusing on like-minded grave-robber Monika. Once Monika strikes up a romance with Mark, a nebbish man who dubs soundtracks for porn films, the extent to which he is able to understand and tolerate her proclivities is tested.

Boasting a longer run-time and marginally greater production values than NEKRomantik, Buttgereit’s sequel remains, uh, not at all for the squeamish. Considerably higher-profile and therefore more controversial upon release, NEKRomantik 2 was confiscated by Munich police just 12 days after its premiere.

According to an interview with Buttgereit in 2006, “my films are not banned anymore in Germany. They are totally legal now and officially labeled as ‘art.’ We spent two years in court to get my films back on the market.”

In 2009, Hermann Kopp’s terrifying music for both NEKRomantik films—as well as Buttgereit’s 1990 film Der Todesking (The Death King)—was released on the vinyl LP compilation ‘Nekronology,’ released by Aesthetic Records.

NEKROMANTIK 2 (Jörg Buttgereit, 1991) NSFW from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

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