By Jerome Reuter
Although some people might disagree with me, I consider Jorg Buttgereit an auteur. All of his films have a unique visual style, which simply cannot be duplicated. His work explores the darker aspects of sexuality, fetishism, and death. His 1989 film Der Todesking, is a stylized look at degeneration of the flesh. Like so many of his other works, it satirizes the horror genre. It goes without saying; Bettgereit is the master of the ‘post modern’ horror genre.
Der Todesking is a series of vignettes, represented by a different day of the week. Buttgereit’s uses a narrative style found in several experimental films. Here, he successfully adapts it to the horror genre. Unlike other films that might have taken a supernatural approach, this one touches on a subject everyone is familiar with; the flesh. It’s the one thing we all understand, and know about. Everyone is familiar with his or her own flesh. Buttgereit also delves into the realms of human sexuality, and explores the highs and lows of this subject matter. As I’ve stated several times before, film is the ultimate form of voyeurism. Here, we become the voyeur into the darker side of humanity. A place other filmmakers might be afraid to journey to, but exists nonetheless.
Aside from the visual journey we’re taken upon, there’s another topic this film touches upon. This film is a complete satire of the exploitation sub genre. Much like Nekromantik, it’s a film by the counter culture, for the counter culture. In one particular segment, Buttgereit openly mocks the Nazi-sploitation sub genre.
This film has a running time of little over an hour. In that brief time frame,Buttgereit forces us to look inward. He explores the perverse, and the inhumane. This isn’t just a horror film, it’s a beautiful work of art. It’s also one that should not be ignored.