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Fangoria FrightFest Presents - Grimm Love

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Martin Weisz

Graduate student Katie Armstrong researches cannibal killer Oliver Hagen for her thesis, she becomes obsessed with her subject and ultimately plunges into a lifestyle similar to Hagen's and the thousands of people like him. Based on a true story.

Tags: Movie
Director: Martin Weisz
1 review about Fangoria FrightFest Presents - Grimm Love

The Dark Regions of the Human Mind

  • Aug 12, 2010
Rating:
+3
Director Martin Weisz and writer T.S. Faull created this movie adaptation ROHTENBURG (GRIMM LOVE) of a famous crime that is so bizarre it deserves a summary from the legal aspects in order to appreciate the quality of the film. Names have all been changed, including the spelling of the title - 'Rotenburg', or 'red castle', is the name of the small village where this grisly event took place. The facts of the case are as follows: 'Armin Meiwes (born 1 December 1961) is a German man who achieved international notoriety for killing and eating a voluntary victim whom he had found via the internet. After Meiwes and the victim jointly attempted to eat the victim's severed penis, Meiwes killed his victim and proceeded to eat a large amount of his flesh. Because of his deeds, Meiwes is also known as the Rotenburg Cannibal or Der Metzgermeister (The Master Butcher). Looking for a willing victim, Meiwes posted an advertisement at a website, The Cannibal Cafe, whose disclaimer mentions the distinction between reality and fantasy. Meiwes's post stated that he was "looking for a well-built 21 to 40-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed". Bernd Jürgen Brandes answered the advertisement. Many other people responded to the advertisement, but backed out; Meiwes did not attempt to force them to do anything against their will. As is known from a videotape the two made when they met on March 9, 2001 in Meiwes's home in the small village of Rotenburg, Meiwes amputated Brandes's penis and the two men attempted to eat the penis together before Brandes was killed. Brandes had insisted that Meiwes attempt to bite his penis off. This did not work, though Meiwes was able to burst both of Brandes's testicles by biting them. Ultimately, Meiwes used a knife to remove Brandes's penis. Brandes apparently tried to eat some of his own penis raw, but could not because it was too tough and, as he put it, "chewy". Meiwes then sautéed the penis in a pan with salt, pepper, wine and garlic, he then fried it with some of Brande's fat but by then it was too burned to be consumed. He then chopped it up into chunks and fed it to his dog. According to journalists who saw the video (which has not been made public), Brandes may already have been too weakened from blood loss to actually eat any of his penis. Meiwes read a Star Trek book for three hours, while Brandes lay bleeding in the bath. Meiwes apparently gave him large quantities of alcohol and painkillers, 20 sleeping pills and a bottle of schnapps, and finally killed him in a room that he had built in his house for this purpose, the Slaughter Room. After stabbing Brandes to death in the throat, he hung the body on a meathook and tore chunks of flesh from it; he even tried to grind the bones to use as flour. The whole scene was recorded on the two-hour videotape. Meiwes ate the body over the next 10 months, storing body parts in his freezer under pizza boxes and consuming up to 20 kg of the flesh.' These are the facts of this case.

In order to make this film 'palatable' the writer and director introduce a new character - Katie (Keri Russell) is an American Psychology student who travels to Germany to explore the depths of the dark interstices of human behavior. It is though her eyes and imagined flashbacks visiting the places of the childhood and adulthood the two people involved that she offers the audience the understanding of this act. Oliver Hartwin (Thomas Kretschmann) is first seen as a child (Rainier Meissner) and the seeds of his strange behavior are briefly identified. We also meet Simon (Thomas Huber), learn of his background and his relationship to his mother (Helga Bellinghausen), and meet him with his lover Felix (Marcus Lucas) in what appears to be a healthy relationship. But Simon surfs the internet, finds Oliver's curious invitation to cannibalism, and decides to become involved in a fantasy he has always had. The two men meet and mutually agree to take part in the act of Oliver's slow cannibalistic murder of Simon. Many of the aspects of the real case are included, but the writer and director know when to hold back and also know when to leave the story alone, without the trial or follow-up, that leaves the audience shocked but also somehow makes the entire story seem more like a nightmare than an actual deed.

Kretschmann and Huber both are extremely fine actors and have found that thin thread of inner fear and self-doubt that makes us able to understand the bizarre act we are watching. Keri Russell is very good in the tiny part she plays (the deleted scenes on the DVD show her role was originally larger), adding a bit of a reality touch for the audience, helping us through this story. There are technical problems with the film: cinematographer Jonathan Sela uses scratchy developing for the flashback scenes which are not always suitably inserted, and the musical score by Steven Gutheinz is often too dependent of the pipe organ fright tactics of horror pictures. It is a difficult subject to watch but in all the film presents a bit of reportage in a watchable manner. Truth is stranger than fiction. Grady Harp, August 10

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