Aftermath is a short film written & directed by Nacho Cerda. A film without a single word of dialogue (I include it here even though it has no subtitles because at the movie’s end is a relevant newspaper story written in Spanish), it is an incredible piece of cinema. One of the most beautifully shot yet utterly horrific & disturbing pieces of film you will ever see.
There is no way I can review this film without giving away some spoilers. Having said that, if you have heard of this film then I dare say you know what to expect. Aftermath is notorious as one of the most explicit & graphically shocking movies of all time. The film begins in a mortuary as two morticains are working on two corpses. When one leaves the other is left with the corpse of a young woman. The mortician starts the autopsy in the usual fashion, about halfway through events take a dramatic turn & the mortician begins to take photographs as he violates the corpse.
I will refrain from mentioning the end of the movie & leave that for anyone watching it for the first time. While this movie is one of the most shocking & deeply disturbing films you will ever see, it is also one of the most visually stunning & frankly beautiful movies ever made. In terms of cinematography & colour the look of the movie is as lush as Dario Argento’s Suspiria. The soundtrack is a piece by Motzart & is full of sweeping string arrangements. None of the usual grainy film stock, screechy soundtracks & shaky camera work normally associated with low-budget extreme movies, Aftermath looks like a multi million dollar major studio release. It is because of the film’s look that it’s content becomes so much more shocking. The autopsies themselves are very graphic & detailed, but it is the defilement of the woman’s corpse that is truly abhorrent. Cerda’s film works on many levels. At the beginning of the movie he forces the viewer to confront death, something we will all have to come to terms with in our lives. The corpses on the tables are someones loved ones being worked on matter of factly by two morticians who see it as nothing more than a job. This cold rational is sobering enough but what follows is truly horrific. I won’t go into detail on the atrocities inflicted on the woman’s body but the film doesn’t flinch from showing everything that happens in a stark manner.
Aftermath is a niche film that will only appeal to those with a truly strong stomach & the ability to watch extreme acts of brutality & horror. This is no cheap exploitation movie but it is a movie whose content & imagery will stay with you long after the movie has finished. Highly recommended for those who can take it.
“Left for good, took the corpse”
When it comes to sheer all out blood, guts & carnage, nobody makes horror movies like the Germans. This is the nation that has given the world of film such cinematic treats as Violent Shit & its sequels, Das Komabrutale Duell & Premutos. It seems the German Horror film industry has found its niche at the very extreme end of the genre. Jorg Buttgereit is probably the most well-known German horror director. Having directed Schramm & Der Todesking. Without doubt Nekromantik is his most controversial & extreme movie. A film that even 24 years after its original release you won’t find a legal copy of the movie in the UK.
Nekromantik tells the story of Rob who works for a cleaning company that remove bodies from public areas & clean up. This job allows Rob to steal body parts & take them home to his girlfriend Betty. On one job he recovers a rotting corpse & steals it, taking home to Betty. Rob & Betty then indulge in a threesome with the corpse. Rob is fired from work the next day & when he tells Betty she leaves him, taking the corpse with her. Rob begins to spiral downwards, hallucinating & suicidal, Rob is unable to cope without Betty & the corpse leading to a truly graphic & horrific conclusion.
To say this film isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste is the understatement to end all understatements. This film will shock & repulse all but the most hardened fan of extreme cinema. Add to that footage of a real rabbit being graphically killed & you have a film that will upset a lot of people. The real question though, is simply, is it any good? Truthfully no it isn’t. Yes its repulsive, explicit & shocking but it is also tedious & boring. Watching Nekromantik is an endurance test on two levels. The first is obviously being able to stomach the film’s content, the second is trying to overlook the bad acting, lack of a plot & the general cheap look of the movie. The one thing the movie does have in its favour is the ending. A real jaw dropper & one I certainly won’t spoil here. I should also add that while by no means hardcore the necrophilia in the movie is strong, in particular there is a scene of what I can only describe as eyeball slurping that is heave inducing.
Nekromantic is another poor film from Jorg Buttgeriet, it’s sequel is even worse. It’s only saving grace is it’s ending. I’m a fan of extreme movies but this film just bored me to tears. If you want to see & horror film with necrophilia I would suggest the awesome low-budget “classic” that is The Necro Files. Curiosity about this movie may get the better of you but mark my words you will be so very disappointed.
“This isn’t a mystery of life! It’s a shit!”
Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific & well-known directors working in Japanese cinema. Miike has given the world the wonderful Audition, the hyperviolent Ichi & the frankly piss poor Happiness Of The Katakuris. Visitor Q is Miike’s most extreme film to date, I would also venture to say it is his best. Visitor Q is an insane ride, imagine if Brett Easton Ellis & J. G. Ballard had co-written a draft of Mary Poppin’s script! Filled with jet black humour & some highly tasteless yet extremely funny set pieces, Visitor Q is about the redemption of one hugely dysfunctional family, brought back together by a stranger that comes to stay with them.
Visitor Q opens up with the question “Have you ever done it with your Dad” written across the screen. The film then shows Kiyoshi the Father of the family interviewing a young prostitute Fujiko who persuades him to have sex with her for 50,000 yen. After Kiyoshi ejaculates quickly, Fujiko charges him 100,000 yen as a punishment. Kiyoshi realises he has left the camera filming. Kiyoshi doesn’t have all the money, he says he will give the rest to Fujiko’s mother, Kiyoshi is Fujiko’s father! The Movie then asks the question “Have you ever been hit over the head?” as Kiyoshi is hit over the head with a rock by the visitor, not once but twice. It is after this that Kiyoshi brings the visitor home with him to stay for a while. The family is at breaking point. The son physically abuses his mother whose body is now covered in bruises & scars, she also walks with a limp. The mother herself is an habitual heroin user who turns tricks to pay for her habit. The son is bullied at school & the bullies attack the family home most nights. Kiyoshi the father is a failed TV reporter, who was raped on camera by a bunch of teenagers. He is now filming his own son being bullied to make a documentary on bullying. What follows is a heartwarming tale of family redemption including drug abuse, lactation, necrophilia & violence.
Visitor Q is one of those movies that just succeeds on every level. The acting is first-rate & the characters are beautifully written & developed. It’s a film that I’m sure will shock & deeply offend a lot of people. For anyone with a broad sense of humour this film is genius. I must admit to laughing so hard my stomach hurt during the necrophilia scene in the greenhouse & the subsequent bathroom scene. Two scenes that could come across as extremely tasteless but due to their sheer farcical nature become incredibly funny. With Visitor Q, Miike has made a uniquely Japanese movie, it could never be remade in the west as it just wouldn’t translate, it is inherently Japanese. One thing I find incredibly ironic with Japanese cinema that is highlighted by this movie is the Japanese censors. This film contains necrophilia, domestic violence, incest, drug abuse & lactation taken to the nth degree, all of which isn’t a problem for the censors but all images of pubic hair must be pixellated! Its things like this that Miike’s movie is undermining, it holds up a mirror to the current trend for reality TV & the public’s almost morbid fascination with it. Visitor Q is far more of a subversive movie than Fight Club (& I love Fight Club)
Visitor Q is a wonderfully insane mindfuck of a movie. Most people when Miike is discussed will mention either Audition or Ichi, both of which are great movies, but it’s Visitor Q that is Miike’s crowning glory. Hugely controversial, highly offensive & pant-wettingly funny, Visitor Q is a must see.
“The unique magic of rigor mortis”
Ever since people started making movies, there have been films that have shocked & outraged the general public. As far back as 1963 Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast was shocking audiences worldwide with its high (for the time) gore content. Each generation of filmmakers pushes the genre into evermore explicit themes & images. Taboos & boundaries are crossed. From Peeping Tom (1960) through Cannibal Holocaust (1980) to todays controversial movies like August Underground’s Mordum (2003) There will always be movies whose content provokes a media induced moral backlash. Nobody living in the UK in the mid 80s will ever forget the media induced hysteria over the so-called “video nasties”, their banning & the DDP list. The latest film to stir up such controversy is Srdjan Spasojevic’s A Serbian Film.
Most people watching this film for the first time will have heard something about its content, such is the furore surrounding it. In most cases the old chestnut “there is no publicity but good publicity” is true, in A Serbian Film’s case it actually detracts from the movie as an experience. All the shocking scenes that you have heard about, without being framed in the context of their place & purpose in the film sound deeply offensive, gratuitous & unnecessary. There are shocking scenes in this movie, there are scenes which truly sicken & repulse, scenes that really push the boundaries of acceptability. But they need to be seen in context, in the movie. Often these scenes are hyped to the point of being completely inaccurate. The infamous newborn rape scene is a case in point. Yes it is extremely upsetting & very, very hard to watch… But, it is nowhere near as graphic as some would have you believe. The baby is clearly a model (& thankfully not at all realistic) The scene is filmed from behind the rapist so nothing at all explicit is shown. It is the implication of what is happening that provokes the feelings of disgust (as it should) Unlike a lot of exploitative fare, A Serbian Film is in fact a very well made, intelligent movie.
A Serbian Film follows Milos, a retired porn star, now happily married with a young son. The one problem Milos has is money & when a former colleague Lejla informs him of a job offer to star in an “artporn film” that promises one last big payday, Milos agrees to meet the director Vukmir. Despite the fact that Milos is uncomfortable that he will have no idea what he is filming, the money is too good to turn down & Milos reluctantly agrees. Milos is picked up the next morning & provided with an earpiece. This will be used by Vukmir to direct Milos. He is taken to a building where he is followed by a film crew. At first everything seems normal until he is taken to a room & instructed to have sex with an abused woman while a girl dressed like Alice In Wonderland watches. Milos refuses to co-operate, but is restrained by the crew & forced to take part. A furious Milos then goes to see Vukmir & is shown another of Vukmir’s projects. Milos recoils in horror as the film he is watching shows a man aiding in the birth of a child, then raping the newborn that is only minutes old. Milos storms out but is intercepted & drugged. He wakes 3 days later in bed bruised & bloodied. He finds some videotapes & as he watches them the horrific truth of the missing 3 days is revealed.
A Serbian Film is first & foremost a very good movie. It’s the kind of film the likes of Fred Vogel (August Underground) or Nick Palumbo (Murder Set Pieces) can only dream & aspire to making. Blessed with a decent budget & first-rate acting, A Serbian Film could be mistaken for a normal mainstream big studio movie if it wasn’t for its content. As much as I like this movie, even I cannot completely condone some of the imagery used. For years I have stood up for Cannibal Holocaust, a sickening but at the same time brilliant piece of moviemaking. But even Cannibal Holocaust’s considerable shock factor pales when confronted by A Serbian Film. No one can truly prepare you for A Serbian Film, it is a film that should be judged by each individual & their own sensibilities. A film that needs to be approached with extreme caution, as once seen it cannot be unseen.