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Bruce LaBruce’s feature Otto; Or, Up With Dead People will either thrill or repulse, as it is tailored to the rather specific sexual tastes that this art film director has spent his career elucidating.Otto does, however, vary from pornographic past LaBruce fetish films such as TheRaspberry Reich and Skin Gang in that Otto will appeal to camp horror experts and those interested in conceptual links between abjection, fashion, and desire. As LaBruce fans may suspect,Otto; Or, Up With Dead Peoplehas a far-fetched plot that exists seemingly to provide framework for his visual explorations of homosexual identity. In it, a young, sexy zombie, Otto (Jey Crisfar), wanders Berlin streets until filmmaker Medea Yarn (Katharina Klewinghaus), whose name is Maya Deren with a twist, casts Otto in her upcoming zombie flick. Paired with actor Fritz Fritze (Marcel Schlutt), the viewer wonders throughout if Otto is a true zombie or another actor amongst the several he is filmed with. In this, there is the constant meta-film, an external narrative that asks the viewer to assess one’s own willingness to believe in monsters. With the help of her brother/DP, Adolf (Guido Sommer), and her girlfriend, Hella Bent (Susanne Sachse), who appears only in vintage looking, black and white footage as if she’s a ghost transmitting from the past, Medea directs Otto in various insalubrious settings, such as the Berlin dump. The effect is humorous and extremely odd. Not until Otto dials up ex-boyfriend, Rudolf, to meet on a park bench does one begin to understand the roots of Otto’s past, which has led to existential crisis.

Structurally, the film is quite scenic and abstract, and its cool soundtrack, which includes Coco Rosie and Antony and the Johnsons, reinforces the music video, Kenneth Anger aspect of this stylistic movie. Several times throughout, in fact, are mock mentions of the high fashion industry’s vampiric way of thieving style away from those who wear clothes as sincere expression. Zombie fashion, in Otto’s world, is totally in. While the plot falls in an out of focus, scenes lend a picturesque, dream-like setting to several recognizable Berlin hotspots, such as the abandoned amusement park, Spreewald, and the Badeschiff along the Spree River. This is to say that as much as Otto; Or, Up With Dead People is a horror film, it also captures and meditates on trends in current fashion and art communities. As mentioned before, there is less sex in this feature than in LaBruce’s previous, yet a warning should be issued that the erotic scenes in Otto are straight-up gruesome, porno-updates of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Blood Feast and other gore fests. --Trinie Dalton

Otto is a neo-Goth zombie with an identity crisis. He looks and smells like a zombie but is not sure that he actually is one. One day, he ducks into an alley to escape a bunch of hooligans and spots a poster announcing auditions for a zombie film. Soon, he meets up with filmmaker/revolutionary Medea Yarn, who is convinced that Otto, as a confused zombie, is the perfect candidate to demonstrate the effects of advanced capitalism on individuals. Medea decides to make a film about Otto, while simultaneously shooting a film about a gay zombie revolt against consumerist society. After moving in with an actor, Otto begins to remember fragments of his pre-zombie life with a sweet boyfriend. As Medea directs the final scene of her gay zombie film, Otto struggles to access the human emotions buried beneath his zombie exterior.

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CastJey Crisfar, Katharina Klewinghaus, Guido Sommer, Susanne Sachse, Marcel Schlutt, Christophe Chemin, Fabrice, Gio Black Peter
DirectorBruce LaBruce
Genre:  Comedy, Gay & Lesbian, Horror
MPAA Rating:  NC-17
DVD Release Date:  February 10, 2009
Runtime:  94 minutes
Studio:  Strand Releasing, Force Video
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More Otto; or, Up with Dead People reviews
review by . October 24, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dead?
   If you know nothing about Bruce LaBruce's style of film-making, you should know this. Generally speaking, they all have their distinct charm but often are overly homoerotic & usually intend to shock even their potential audiences. LaBruce is well-known amongst underground circles for creating satirical independent, low-budget features which are held together by "meat 'n potatoes". When I say "meat 'n potatoes", his films often feature hardcore …
review by . January 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"Otto: Or Up With Dead People"    Bruce Labruce's Gay Zombie    Amos Lassen    There is something about Bruce LaBruce's films--they are semi-porn, they are, in many cases. overlong, and they have a certain charm. "Otto: Or Up With Dead People" fits those characteristics. "Otto" is also fun and highly original--it shocks, it makes you laugh, it has sex and it is movie you will not so forget.   Otto is German and a handsome and …
review by . October 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
"Otto: Or Up With Dead People"    Bruce Labruce's Gay Zombie    Amos Lassen    There is something about Bruce LaBruce's films--they are semi-porn, they are, in many cases. overlong, and they have a certain charm. "Otto: Or Up With Dead People" fits those characteristics. "Otto" is also fun and highly original--it shocks, it makes you laugh, it has sex and it is movie you will not so forget.   Otto is German and a handsome and …
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