PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Review: Nekromantik / Editor: Jörg Buttgereit / Publisher: Martin Schmitz Verlag / Release Date: Out Now

No one who ever came across Jörg Buttgereit's most famous films has ever forgotten them. To some, the two Nekromantik movies represent everything that was wrong with exploitation cinema, to others they could be regarded as much as art as any film by Luis Bunuel or Federico Fellini. In this new book, six academics explore the themes and political and social ramifications of these controversial films.

Among the contributors is Linnie Blake, head of the recently opened Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester University. She provides both a brief biography of the German director and explains how the films fit in with German history. Another is a former gravedigger who gives an inside view into the realities of the subject.

While to some the films are disturbing horror flicks which don't need to be over-analysed, the writers here often make very good and clear arguments to the contrary. For fans of the films (of which there are many), the articles make for very interesting reading.

The book is dual-language, in that one half is English, then you can flip it over for the text in German. What is better, however, is instead of lazily reprinting the whole thing; both sections have unique photographic illustrations. As one would expect, these tend to be of a rather graphic nature, but anyone picking up the book would presumably be familiar with the imagery seen in the films anyway. They are black-and-white, but that doesn't make them any less stomach churning (even behind-the-scenes shots are stickily explicit).

It's a very intelligent book about a challenging subject, and will not appeal to all fans, especially those who are only interested in the gore aspect. For those who like to be a little more cerebral, it's a good read.

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