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12.13.2017
Der Todesking (1990)
Movie Review by The Spastic Cannibal
01.05.11

Der Todesking (1990) Jorg Buttgereit - auteur Germain director behind the Super 8 masterpiece "Nekromantik" and the well-known 1993 serial killer study "Schramm", expressed his versatility well with his most "arthouse" release "Der Todesking". Differing from his bizarre, isolated story lines dealing with ultra-macabre subject matter such as necrophilia and vagina monsters, Buttgereit swapped out the strict "story" aspect for an episodic bit of melancholy film making that still delivers his unique brand of bizarre AND isolated indie madness...

"Der Todesking" displays different characters, places, and mental collapses throughout each day of the week - starting with a man's undisclosed reason for over-dosing on pills in the bathtub which is shown in a dishearteningly voyeuristic manner from inside his drab apartment. The next involves a new guy, picking out an "Ilsa - She-Wolf of the SS" parody from a video store, watching it and shooting his wife or girlfriend in the head as her nagging ass come walking in the door... Next is easily the most harrowing segment showing a man sitting on park bench when a woman shows up. He explains how his wife bleeds during sex and how he is depressed and confused by it. It ends with him shooting himself in front of the woman. Thursday's part is a documentary type 'tour' of a motorway bridge that includes captions of the names and ages of people who have jumped from the bridge over many years... Certainly a haunting scene. Friday is, for me, the least memorable. A woman sees a young couple in the window of a neighboring apartment having sex. She has a flashback of her parents fucking, then receives a letter telling her to kill herself. The next scene is a woman reading a philosophical passage from a book that explains the psychological reasoning behind mass murder. It cuts to a woman strapping a camera to her chest, picking up a gun, and then shooting up a rock concert before being shot and killed, herself. Sunday, the final day, shows a man sleeping on a bare mattress who wakes up in a frenzied outburst and frantically begins bashing his head against the wall until brain damage undoubtedly takes effect... The movie is interlaced with shots showing a decomposing male corpse, via stop-motion animation.

In terms of Jorg Buttgereit's lexicon of film making, "Der Todesking" is probably the one I like the least. That's not to say it is without merit when it comes to Buttgereit's style, though "Nekromatik" reigns supreme for me. "Der Todesking" is, without a doubt, an extremely personal and intimate film that is for sure something you'll remember. Buttgereit's artist influence has been there within each of his films, but this one deals with a much less "horror movie" tone and more of an intense portrait of psychological decline and the various 'drives' behind suicide. It's not an easy film to get a hold of, but if you have the chance, enjoy the experience...

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