Otto; or, Up With Dead People

LaBruce continues his trademark blend of sexual explicitness and shoddy technique with this numbing necro-porno.

Canadian queer-cinema provocateur Bruce LaBruce (“The Raspberry Reich”) continues his trademark blend of sexual explicitness and shoddy technique with his numbing necro-porno, “Otto; or, Up With Dead People.” Meandering at the same draggy pace as its titular gay zombie, eroto-horror-satire mixes movie-within-a-movie machinations with graphic sex scenes that will titillate anyone who’s ever wanted to see someone shagging an open wound. After staggering from Sundance to Berlin, pic should draw LaBruce cultists at gay fests and in niche DVD release.

Perpetually garbed in a rumpled hoodie, Otto (Jey Crisfar, rather poignant in his undead reticence) rises from the grave and wanders around Berlin, checking out gay clubs and experiencing romantic flashbacks. He also gets cast in a low-budget movie — scenes from which are randomly interspersed throughout — by a pretentious director (Katharina Klewinghaus) who sees gays and zombies as fellow outcasts. Auds eager for goring-and-whoring action (enacted, as usual per LaBruce, with porn actors) will have to endure a gang-bangingly assaultive soundtrack and deliberately cruddy production values: One character seems to have stepped in from a black-and-white silent film, with little attempt made to blend her into the scenery.

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Otto; or, Up With Dead People


  • Production: An Existential Crisis Prods. (Canada) presentation, in co-production with New Real Films (Canada)/Juergen Bruening Filmproduktion (Germany). (International sales: New Real Films, Toronto.) Produced by Bruce LaBruce, Jurgen Bruning, Jorn Hartmann, Michael Huber, Jennifer Jonas. Co-producers, Javier Peres, Terence Koh, Bruce Bailey, Alfredo Ferran Calle, Leonard Farlinger, Claus Matthes. Directed, written by Bruce LaBruce.
  • Crew: Camera (color/B&W, 16mm), James Carman; editor, Jorn Hartmann; art director, Stefan Dickfeld; costume designer, Rick Owens. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Park City at Midnight), Jan. 19, 2008. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama.) English, German dialogue. Running time: 96 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Katharina Klewinghaus, Susanne Sachsse, Marcel Schlutt, Guido Sommer, Christophe Chemin, Gio Black Peter, Jey Crisfar.
  • Music By: