Necrophilia is one of the world’s ultimate anathemas – up there with bestiality and incest.
For as long as humans have attempted to codify appropriate social behavior there have been either explicit prohibitions against necrophilia, or at the very least strong taboos against the practice.
Yet despite the taboo, necrophilia also played a very important role in the imaginations of these same societies. Take, for instance, the case of Achilles, who allegedly engaged in necrophilic acts with the Amazonian Queen Penthesilea after killing her. Or Herod the Great, who allegedly preserved the second of his ten wives in honey and proceeded to have intercourse with her for seven years after her death. And if you want to get slightly more modern, Sleeping Beauty has some pretty heavy necrophilic overtones.
As fans of transgressive cinema here, it is no surprise that we’ve come across necrophilia in our cinematic travels. In fact, there have been several transgressive masterpieces (as well as many exploitive duds) dealing with the subject. And that’s what we’ll be discussing today. If you find necrophilia to be a repulsive subject that should never be discussed on the internet ever, please do not read this editorial. You have been warned… (please note, some readers may find images in this article to be distressing).
10. Love Me Deadly (1973)
Lindsey Finch (Mary Charlotte Wilcox), a beautiful blonde haired woman who could have any (living) man she wants, has an unfortunate obsession with the dead. She dresses up in black to attend funerals and wakes, and she takes the liberty of having a good snog with the corpses when nobody’s looking. Mortician Fred McSweeney (Timothy Scott) recognizes Lindsay from all the funerals she goes to and reckons they are twin necrophiliac souls. You see, Fred has a Satanic coven that meets after hours in the mortuary for necrophilic orgies with the latest cadavers – he eventually coaxes Lindsay to join his group.
Lindsey is the walking definition of “special needs.” In addition to her uncontrollable attraction to room-temperature hunks of man-flesh, she’s also got some rather serious Daddy issues, as illustrated wonderfully by the sepia-toned credit-sequence flashbacks showing an innocent young Lindsey playing with her rugged father, riding in the car, going fishing, and rolling in the grass (but in a loving and not-at-all creepy way). Clear out the dresser drawers, this girl has a lot of baggage to unpack.
9. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)
Letting us know immediately what we’re in for, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock starts off with a man whose face we don’t get to see cold-cocking a grave-digger working the night shift and then jumping into the coffin to feel up the lovely young corpse the poor bastard was trying to bury.
We are then introduced to Dr. Hichcock (Robert Flemyng) hosting a party with his beautiful wife Margaretha. He gives her a knowing look before excusing himself. She soon joins him in an underground crypt, and lies down on a burial bed as if she is dead. The good Dr., meanwhile, is readying a hypodermic syringe filled with a concoction of his own making. He shoots her up as she complies, but this time, something goes wrong. She appears to die. So distraught over the experience, the good Dr. leaves the country for several years. When he returns, he is now remarried, with the intention of using the blood of his new bride (Barbara Steele) to bring his first wife’s rotting corpse back to life.
8. Dead Mate (1988)
Whilst working the nightshift at a grubby diner, waitress Nora Mae (Elizabeth Mannino) falls for rich undertaker John Henry Cox (David Gregory) and instantly agrees to be his bride. They depart for his rural mansion/funeral home where she is greeted by a motley crew of small-town weirdoes. Gradually, she begins to realize that her new husband’s business is involved in supplying sexual playthings for a nearby town of necrophiliacs and that she is next in line for the embalming table. She must be fleet of foot indeed to avoid this fate.
Dead Mate’s presentation of necrophilia is blunt and perverse. A sequence in which two young ambulance drivers jump into the back of the vehicle and onto the bones of a freshly-deceased car accident victim is nauseatingly tasteless for even the most jaded palate. There’s no explicit detail but the sight of the backwoods geek parting the corpse’s legs to reveal her underwear is enough to make you cringe.
7. Lucker The Necrophagous (1986)
An infamous serial killer has escaped from a psychiatric ward. His notoriety comes from the fact that he not only kills his victims in various horrific ways, but he likes to (surprise, surprise, given the film’s title) have sex with their corpses. We find out through a series of flashbacks that he is on the hunt for a woman who previously escaped his clutches.
Lucker The Necrophagous is nothing to write home about. In fact, outside of the gross out factor it doesn’t have much going for it. This is a film totally without merit, it exists purely to shock and disgust, it is entirely inept in its execution and lacks any kind of directorial finesse. Unless you’re the kind of person who wants to see every “shocking” movie you can get your hands on, then there isn’t a single reason you should be watching this. Unless you get paid to write about disturbing movies. In that case, you’re screwed.
6. Visitor Q (2001)
Prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike often delights in putting off the audience with controversial subject matter and Visitor Q is no different. The film starts off with the question “have you ever done it with your Dad?” and the viewer then sees Miki, a young prostitute, trying to persuade her father, Kiyoshi, into having sex with her. The rest of the family is just as depraved. Mommy is addicted to heroin and, like her little girl, sells her body to support the drug habit. Their teenage son, meanwhile, enjoys whipping his mom and beating her up with his bare hands.
In one disconcerting scene, the father sexually assaults and kills a female co-worker. He puts her body in the greenhouse. As he is deciding how to cut up the woman, he becomes sexually aroused and has sex with her dead body. He thinks she is getting wet but this turns out to be faeces expelled from the corpse’s body. He tries to withdraw but his penis is trapped inside the woman due to rigor mortis and he cannot get out. His wife, surprisingly, jumps to his aid, helps him get free and they dismember the body together. It is rare that necrophilia becomes a device for uniting people in films… but here we are.
5. Corpse Mania (1981)
When a gaggle of dead bodies begin to litter his jurisdiction, Inspector Chang (Yung Wang) begins to connect the dots; somehow, all of the victims are connected to a nearby brothel, which leads Chang to suspect Mr. Li, an infamous corpse defiler who was thrown into an asylum years ago. For whatever reason, someone decided it was a good idea to release Li back into civilization, and he seems to be taking his revenge on head brothel mistress Madam Lan and her fine assortment of prostitutes.
With a title like Corpse Mania, you’d expect this film to have quite an infatuation with corpses, and it does. Two types of infatuation, in fact, as Li initially shows his carnal love for cold, dead bodies before he moves on to piling up corpses on his way to racking up an impressive body count. You wouldn’t expect a flick dealing with necrophilia to start out as a slow burn, but the first twenty minutes or so set up weirdness and mystery. At first, it seems like Corpse Mania is going to be content to just be a low-key, atmospheric, and unsettling little tale but eventually the madness is ramped up and it’s quite insane.
4. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Rob Zombie’s follow-up to his directorial debut House Of 1,000 Corpses in 2003, the far more serious The Devil’s Rejects, knocked fools on their behinds two years later. Continuing the murderous exploits of Corpses villains Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Otis (Bill Moseley), and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), The Devil’s Rejects forgets all about the first movie’s dark comedy.
Otis is the nastiest and most flat-out sadistic of the clan. In both films, he is a rapist and a necrophiliac. He is seen in one scene sleeping with a dead body of a woman he presumably killed, and when shown a picture of a dead cheerleader and told that “she isn’t so f*ckable now”, Otis responds to the contrary, with a huge grin on his face. After all, as the man says, he’s “here to do the Devil’s work.” Quite.
3. The Neon Demon (2016)
Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest journey into cinematic WTFery, The Neon Demon, follows Jesse (Elle Fanning), a 16-year-old newcomer to Los Angeles who hopes to break into a career in modeling. Her youth and beauty prove irresistible to everyone she encounters – agents, photographers, fashion designers, and even a rogue mountain lion. But Jesse especially catches the attention of makeup artist Ruby (Jena Malone), whom she meets at her first photo shoot.
After a series of bizarre events occur, a terrified Jesse calls Ruby, who tells her to come to her place for safety. After Jesse comes to Ruby’s house, Ruby tries to initiate sex with Jesse, who rejects her. Upset, Ruby leaves for her second job as a makeup artist for a morgue. There, she pleasures herself with a female corpse while thinking about Jesse (and there’s a lot of spit involved).
2. Headless (2015)
When a film opens with a killer moaning with pleasure as he has sex with a recently detached head, you know you’re in for something special. Get some popcorn and put your seat in the upright position.
In this “lost slasher film from 1978,” a skull masked killer (Shane Beasley) is on a rampage, abducting and murdering women in some extremely graphic ways. This includes chopping off nipples, gouging out eyes and, as previously mentioned, having sex with their severed heads. And it’s all shown in gruesome detail. We are also introduced to a little boy known as “Skull Boy” who acts as the killer’s subconscious and encourages his proclivities – which makes the events all the more creepy. The term “not for everybody” was never more pertinent.
1. Nekromantik (1987)
Don’t let the title fool you – there’s absolutely nothing “romantic” about this German freak show. Well, unless you consider a married couple’s decision to spice up their sex life by swinging with a rotting corpse to be the stuff of Danielle Steele novels.
Nekromantik tells the story of a middle aged depressed man named Robert Schmadtke (Bernd Daktari Lorenz) who works at a Street Cleaning Agency, a company that cleans up the mess after traffic collisions and removes dead bodies from public areas. In a sick twist, Robert has a hobby of collecting body parts and conserving them in formaldehyde. One day he gets his hands on a particularly appealing rotting corpse and instead of having the dead body buried, he takes it home to his girlfriend (Beatrice Manowski). This is where the fun begins. This includes a scene where the girlfriend wraps a condom around a steel pipe and straddles it during their naughty time with the stiff. But looking beyond the shock factor of watching people frolic with corpses, the best thing about Nekromantik is the title of its sequel – Nekromantik 2: Return Of The Loving Dead. That’s just great.
Are there any other films you’d like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.