Nine Fascinating Facts About The Notorious ‘Nekromantik’ (1988)

One of the most notorious films ever made, Jörg Buttgereit’s Nekromantik, was released on January 29, 1988. Filmed on 8mm with little money and a homemade corpse, Nekromantik was courtesy of co-writers Jörg Buttgereit and Franz Rodenkirchen. It’s a nasty little number, an irreverent, late ’80s journey through perversion and death with doses of satire and gore that have stood the test of time.


A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.

Below are nine fascinating facts about the German-born exploitation horror film.

Actress Beatrice Manowski in Nekromantik.

1) Prior to his feature filmmaking debut with Nekromantik, Jörg Buttgereit completed over a dozen Super 8 short films.

2) Rejected from film school and outraged over his inability to experience uncut horror films, Jörg decided to make his own protest against the German censorship movement with the making of Nekromantik.

3) During the 1980s, film censorship was in full swing in Europe, so Buttgereit elected to independently release Nekromantik into German theaters for anyone over the age of 18. The initial two-week run began at the Sputnik Cinema in Berlin, on January 29, 1988.

On the set of Nekromantik.

4) Nekromantik began production during Christmas of 1987 with the corpse construction. The prop was their most expensive piece for the film and was made with cheap, easily found materials. The DIY cadaver cost around a hundred bucks to create. The second most expensive prop was a stuffed cat.

5) Director Jörg Buttgereit posed as a medical student to procure real animal intestines and eyeballs from a slaughterhouse to help create the very effective corpse in the movie. Daktari Lorenz, who portrays Rob, would go on to actually slurp up the animal eyeball while filming.

“Society gets the films it deserves.”  — Jörg Buttgereit

6) All the effects within Nekromantik were done by co-star Daktari Lorenz and co-writers Franz Rodenkirchen and Buttgereit.

7) Co-writers Franz and Jörg wanted the Nekromantik poster to be “regal and romantic,” similar to Gone With the Wind.

Reviews and word of mouth between fans of subversive cinema quickly catapulted Nekromantik into cult status, paving the way for its sequel in 1991 and introducing the world to the works of Buttgereit, who would later create Der Todesking and Schramm. A proper Blu-ray release of Jörg’s feature film debut wouldn’t see the light of day until 2014 when Arrow made it available. Five years later, Cult Epics presented a limited edition Nekromantik 1 and 2 bundle, lovingly wrapped up in the slipcase from continued Buttgereit backer and prolific artist, Martin Trafford.

Cult Epics ‘Nekromantik’ bundle with artwork by Martin Trafford

Decades after the controversy, ridicule, and banning in countless countries, Nekromantik was finally welcomed in grand fashion at Beyond Fest 2013 in Los Angeles for an anniversary presentation with filmmaker Jörg Buttgereit in attendance.

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