Sometimes when you sign up to review a film, you don’t always know what you’re getting into. Case in point: Otto, Or, Up With Dead People. I saw that it was a zombie film and thought it could be fun. But when the screener arrived and I read the words “extreme zombie sex” on the DVD I got kind of scared. Then when I watched the film, I got really, really bored.
Otto is the story of Otto, a recently raised zombie with an “identity crisis.” He feels a desire to eat people but doesn’t want to. In this semi-futuristic world zombies have evolved to have cognizant thought and for some reason all the zombies are gay men. Otto meets Medea, a pretentious filmmaker making a socio-political zombie film, and casts Otto to be the star. For some reason Medea has a girlfriend, Hella, that appears to be stuck in a silent film for no explained reason. Otto begins to have flashes of memory from his life and remembers he had a boyfriend that he loved. He deals with this while acting in Medea’s film.
This is by no means a typical zombie horror flick. It is an extremely pretentious social commentary that tries to use the zombie motif to say something about the outsider. This film is filled with all the angst and thought of a whiny goth teenager. But it does have a scene where a zombie man has sex with another zombie man using an open wound in his stomach and a giant gay zombie orgy, which isn’t something you’re bound to find anywhere else.
If you’re looking for a zombie horror film, you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking for some hot gay porn, you’re also looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking to hear someone lecture at you about a bunch of boring crap with some poorly executed zombie and gay porn stuff thrown in to spice things up all surrounded by the most annoying headache inducing soundtrack you’ve ever heard, then this is a film for you.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and 5.1 surround sound. The film is shot on video and looks it, very, very low budget. And the soundtrack is just about the worst I’ve heard. After the film I required aspirin for my aching head.
Commentary with Producer Richard Shepherd: Yup, it’s a commentary. But when you hate a film as much as hated this film, it’s really hard to find any enjoyment in the filmmaker talking about it and sitting through the film a second time.
Deleted Scenes: (18 min) These eighteen minutes give you more hard core gay zombie sex than is seen in the film and zombie eating people and more really, really bad acting.
Alternative Campaigns: (1 min.) A slide show of different posters for the film.
At the most I was hoping for a film cheesy and campy enough to enjoy with some friends and some beers. But what I got was a film we couldn’t even enjoy making fun of. It was too pretentious and lame and took itself way too seriously. There were moments where it tried to be funny, but I heard no laughter. Frankly, I want my 90 minutes back and can’t in good conscious recommend this film to anyone. I didn’t know there was zombie porn out there and my life is a little sadder know that I know there is.
Strand Releasing presents Otto, Or, Up With Dead People. Directed by Bruce LaBruce. Written by Bruce LaBruce. Starring: Jey Crisfar, Katharina Klewinghaus and Susanne SachÃŸe. Running time: 94 minutes. Not Rated: however, it does contains graphic nudity, zombie sex, gore and language. Released on DVD: February 10, 2009. Available at Amazon.com.