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Otto, or Up with Dead People

Calling a zombie movie lifeless is bad enough. But when the charge is leveled at a gay zombie movie (a genius concept) by Bruce LaBruce, queer cinema’s most radical fairy, the disappointment cuts that much deeper. The wit, smarts, cinephilic references and hot man-on-man action that made 1995’s Super 8½ (LaBruce’s best film) and 2004’s The Raspberry Reich (his last feature) exemplars of punk-porn polemics are only intermittently evident here.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that LaBruce’s monster movie secretly wants to be a love story. As the lanky walking corpse Otto (Crisfar) staggers around Berlin, he serendipitously meets director Medea Yarn (Klewinghaus), who’s making Up with Dead People; she casts Otto as the “gay Che Guevara of the undead.” But the political satire goes nowhere, regardless of how many times Medea slurs expressions like “the macabre mujahideen” in her languorous Teutonic accent. Otto, however, just wants to remember what happened with that cute boy in the photograph he finds in his wallet. Not even the spot-on spoof of Maya Deren’s dance films can compensate for LaBruce’s inability to make either the outré homo manifestos he excels at or the boy-boy romance he seems to be yearning to try.

Release details

Rated: NR
Release date: Friday November 7 2008
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bruce LaBruce
Cast: Jey Crisfar
Katharina Klewinghaus
Marcel Schlutt
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