Otto; Or, Up With Dead People, is not a film for everyone. Typical zombie fans may be turned-off by this film, especially if the sight of several naked men engaging in gay sex-acts disgusts or offends them. This isn’t your Uncle Georgie’s zombie movie, so if you’re expecting “Night of the Living Dead” what your gonna get is “Orgy of the Naked Men.” With full-on frontal nudity, and bloody “gut-poking” scenes of sin, lol. Definitely not a family film, but no film of Bruce LaBruce’s is, and that’s what makes them so great, in my humble opinion. They are so out there they are absolutely genius, and you can almost be sure they occupy, or should occupy, the shelves of Mr. John Waters.
Otto wonders mindlessly through the city, stumbling from place to place, with no recollection of who he is or where he came from. All he has is the wallet in his back pocket and vague memories of a life once lived. He eventually discovers a flyer wanting actors to portray zombies in a film titled “Up With Dead People.” After the revolutionary film-makers discover Otto they deem him perfect for their film and include him in the project. From there on we see a film within a film, and it soon becomes unclear what is actually happening and what is being created for the film within the film.
The character Medea is just as strange as Otto. She sees an artistic beauty in everything, even tombstones. Her girlfriend appears to her as a 1930’s silent movie actress, completely authentic with the black & white scheme and title cards displaying everything she says. Like many things in this film, this was an element that I didn’t see coming and felt was truly original.
This film earns my respect the same way Greg Araki’s Nowhere earned my respect. It is a unique, original art film. Films like this totally place themselves way outside the box. They dare to go places most films wouldn’t dare to go and because of that ‘unconventional’ style of filmmaking, films like this are often frowned upon and misunderstood. These films are mean’t to make you think. And draw your own conclusions.
Now for my Jerry Springer conclusion, lol. If zombies truly existed, they could no more help being zombies than gay men can help being gay men, they just are without reason. The zombies are bashed and frowned upon in the film just as gays are bashed and frowned upon in real life. The graphic, bloody, intestine-filled, sex scenes between the zombie-couples disgusts many viewers the same way graphic sex scenes between gay couples would disgust many viewers. We find ourselves asking if Otto was ‘really’ a zombie, or if he was just confused about who he was the same way people ask if a person is really ‘gay’ or if they are just confused about who they are. It all makes perfect sense, fitting together like a perfect puzzle, revealing a completely different picture than originally expected. I know what I have said may be different than what was originally meant by the director, but this is what I got from the film, why I decided to review it, and how I decided my rating.
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars!
A big thank you goes to Mr. Bruce LaBruce for sending me the Additional NSFW shots! (Available In The “Goretastic Goodies” section!)