Apr 12, 2011


With Nacho Cerdà's extremely literal necrophiliac short Aftermath (1994), what you see in terms of visuals is what you get and nothing more. So, what do you see in Aftermath? In the short, you see a degenerate mortician fornicate with the recently deceased body of a Spanish woman. As can be expected from a woman from Spain; the female corpse is swarthy, but exotic, yet unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) on the way to being exceedingly rotted and surely less than erotic. The mortician in Aftermath - who undoubtedly gives off the vibe of a creep merely from the cold stare of his dark eyes - has a little foreplay with the female cadaver, running his knife (which he initially uses as a substitute phallic) up and down the corpse's cold body. In most studies concerning real-life necrophilia, over half of the corpse-humpers admit their sexual interest in the dead is due to the fact that an animated body makes for an unresisting and 100% rejection-free sex partner, thus one can assume that aside from being mentally deranged; the majority of necrophiliacs are also pathetic losers (at least in terms of obtaining consensual sex with the opposite sex). The necrophiliac mortician of Aftermath not only likes to slip his pecker into an extra cold meat curtain, but he also enjoys taking pornographic pictures of his necro-sex-escapades. At best, Aftermath is a decently shot piece of Necrophilia-cinema, yet thematically it is fairly shallow - offering nothing more to the viewer than sensational mortuary copulation. For those that get their jollies by merely watching the sickest images they can find taken at face value; Aftermath will be a work of high-class splatter art. For those looking for a deeper subtext (as featured in Buttgereit's Nekromantik films) contained within a necrophiliac work; Aftermath will surely be disturbing and sickening entertainment, and nothing more.

Nekromantik director Jörg Buttgereit has already paid his respects (as featured on the Unearthed Films release of Aftermath) to Nacho Cerdà and his necrophiliac work Aftermath. I can imagine Cerdà couldn't have received a greater compliment for Aftermath - as Buttgereit is indubitably the greatest artistic innovator behind necro-phile cinema. Having already seen Buttgereit's feature-length works prior to Aftermath; I felt nothing groundbreaking nor cinematically spectacular was accomplished with the Spanish director's subversive short. After all, Spaniards Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali produced something much darker - both in imagery and theme - with Un Chien Andalou (1929); a Spanish surrealist short that was created over 3/4 of a century ago. Aftermath does provide strong evidence that Nacho Cerdà may one day develop into an accomplished and innovative auteur, but it is also obvious that he has yet to mature in the realm of complex themes. After all, Aftermath is probably the most expertly crafted (from a technical perspective) film featuring necrophilia ever made, yet the film is undeniably lacking in substance. I also found Cerdà's feature-length film The Abandoned (2006) to be decently made horror work, but that film - like Aftermath - lacks substance and originality. Aftermath is actually the second film in a trilogy by Nacho Cerdà. The final film in the trilogy; Genesis - a work about re-birth - is probably Cerdà's most original film to date. Despite its weaknesses, Aftermath is still a notable film that I can recommend - as I do not doubt that Spanish director Nacho Cerdà will one day make a name for himself as one of the greatest artists of "horror" cinema.  

Due to Aftermath's aesthetic and thematic similarities with the infamous "The Roswell Alien Autopsy" footage, various people mistakenly think that Cerdà directed the pseudo-documentary footage. To Cerda's credit, Aftermath does have a certain authentic look that makes it seem more disturbing than it actually is. Still, I found myself laughing when the mortician initially mounts the female corpse in the short. Unlike the corpse fucking in Nekromantik; Aftermath lacks the kind of artistic beauty that is so often associated with Buttgereit's films. Whereas Buttgereit presents necrophilia in a most easily digestible manner; Nacho Cerdà's presents it in a cold and sterile real-life mortuary kind of way. Of course, Cerdà was obviously trying to offend in hopes that he would "burn a hole into the soul of the viewer" with Aftermath, thus giving the title of the film a double-meaning (whether that was Cerdà's intention or not). At the emotional aftermath of watching Aftermath, you will certainly never think of corpses and morticians in the same way.  Also, a warning to dog lovers: Aftermath will most likely cause you to be very pissed, not to mention disgusted (even more so than the film's corpse fucking!).

-Ty E

1 comment:

Blood Star said...

Good review as per usual with your fantastic site.

When I saw this movie it was on a DVD with two other features, one of which I don't remember the title of, the other being the short "Cutting Moments". It has been a few years but I always considered it the most disturbing film I've ever seen, and now having watched "A Serbian Film" about 15 minutes ago upon many cautionary recommendations (and having read the review here) I am debating still which wins the "worst" award. Would like to request your reviewing of "Cutting Moments" to satisfy all of our curiousity.