- only for bruce fans 9/17/2008 12:00:00 AM by rumblefish80
OK, I am open minded, I love filmmakers that think out of the box and I love when genres are messed about with. I love going to the cinema, especially to film festivals where you can discover gems that no one else has seen yet. Sadly this film was not a gem. It did not shock me, it did not thrill me. I found it all a bit amateurish and before you attack me and say it was low budget and therefore excusable then don't waste your time. I don't believe in negative reviews, I like to look at the good and the bad, no doubt I will get eaten (no pun intended) by the super fans. The acting was pretty terrible to be fair and the camera work was at times clumsy. The sexual scenes sometimes seemed to interrupt the films flow, as if they were slotted in there because that is what his fans expect and want. It is important that films like this are made though and the have an audience of die hard fans but I'm just letting other horror fans in particular zombie fans know that this is more of a porn film than a zombie film.
- Otto: or, a Truly Original Piece of Art 4/4/2009 12:00:00 AM by yosempai
The brilliance of some films is visible on multiple levels. Films such as Network (1976) and American Beauty (1999) are both satirical, yet they can be simultaneously viewed as good cinema. Bruce LaBruce's Otto; or, Up with Dead People (2008) is not such a film. It can be read as a satire, Bruce LaBruce's whorish attempt at an instant cult classic, or simply as an entirely original work of art. Actually, it seems more like a combination of the three. Otto satirizes the zombie crowd's lust for films that only have merit for their shock value. In case you aren't familiar with him, Bruce LaBruce is famous for (infamous for?) his no-budget B films. He is one of few directors to have directed a porno and had a film premier at Sundance. Without seeing the film, Otto often comes across at an extremely misguided attempt to corner a niche market—gay zombie horror porn. With that said, the film is neither a horror film nor a porno. There is relatively little gore, and much less sex than the right wing IMDb trolls would have you believe. Otto may be a satire; Otto may be an attempt into instant cult status; but in any case, Otto is art.
Otto; or, Up with Dead People was shown at the Sundance film festival. However, simply being accepted into Sundance does not mean a film is good. Otto was also shown at the wonderful MoMA in NYC. Once again, this does not mean that it is a perfect film, but it should be noted in what way the film is being perceived: as a work of art. Most people will dismiss Otto as a pointless B movie, but in reality it is not pointless. Otto is one of the most original works of feature length cinema from the past decade that I have seen. And this is not simply based on the subject matter. LaBruce utilizes his distinct style and unique cinematic techniques to make Otto a truly fresh work of art.
Now onto the film. Otto (Jey Crisfar) is convinced that he is a zombie who just recently was resurrected. Stumbling around town, he comes across a flyer for auditions for a zombie movie, Up with Dead People. At the audition, the director of the film, Medea (Katharina Klewinghaus), is impressed with Otto's commitment to the character. Otto of course truly believes that he is a zombie, while Medea is sure that Otto is just a regular guy who always seems to be exceptionally dirty. Zombies are often presented as allegorical to "the ultimate consumers who all eat the same things, congregate at the same places, act the same" (Fangoria). With Otto, LaBruce completely reverses this idea. Otto is a complete outcast. Not only is he a zombie, but Otto is gay. He experiences what is either gay-, zombie-, or gay zombie-bashing and generally not accepted by society.
Another of LaBruce's interesting cinematic choices is presenting Medea's lesbian lover, Hella (Susanne Sach?e) as a silent film character. Hella is always presented in grainy black and white and her dialogue is even replaced with intertitles. Medea and other characters are still presented in full color even while the black and white Hella is sitting right next to them. As a film studies major, I am forced to attempt to find the symbolism/hidden meaning behind presenting Hella as such. However, I have come to the conclusion that LaBruce was simply attempting to present Hella as a specific type of character from the silent film era and he does so with clever blatancy.
Otto is not what most people would consider as entertaining. Otto is not what most people would consider as art. If you watch the film thinking that you will hate it, I can guarantee with complete certainty that you will hate it. Watch this film with an open mind, and don't take it too seriously or literally. Network and American Beauty are praised because they work on two levels. They exaggerate the existing conventions of Hollywood cinema in order to criticize whereas Otto cinematically breaks free of the zombie genre in its criticism. As Dr. Marco Abel would say, whether or not you like the film is irrelevant. Otto is a entirely original piece of art.
- "The living all seem like the same person to me, and i don't like that person very much" 2/26/2008 12:00:00 AM by teethgrrrinder
b-grade gay zombie porn semi-mockumentary. repetitive, irritating sound design, jokes milked longer than they should. for some, there's not enough blood and guts. for others, there's not enough porn.
But all LaBruce's films are bad! that is his charm and the charm of no-budget Cult Films! if you expect more, you won't be alone. but if you expect perfection, then you're a fool. like all those people who complained after seeing Tomb Raider or the Super Mario Brothers Movie - what did you expect?
Otto is fun. it's certainly original. it's gay politics are obvious, but accurate. the jokes range from falling flat to funny to shocking. it's polarizing, memorable and thanks to Fritz (Marcel Schlutt), it's damn sexy to watch.
Otto needs to be watched at a film festival amongst the typical gay indie films that are more sincere than their film makers can give credit to. Only then will something like SkinFlick's 'monkey rape' and Hustler White 'Stumping' hit you with the full impact that it should
like SkinGang - can't wait for the full-porno version of Otto
- "Hail Otto, Prince of the Zombies" 6/7/2008 12:00:00 AM by for_shame_jame
It takes a certain caliber of film-maker to approach a genre which was intended to horrify its audience and, instead, make it amuse and move them.
I found "Otto; or, Up With Dead People" to be Bruce LaBruce's strongest work to date. The plot was both the most linear and accessible, and at the same time the most convoluted. Even with a lack of chronology, a dizzying metafilm of movie within movie, and multiple points of view and filming techniques, the movie manages to devote more time to standard plot development than previous Bruce LaBruce works.
Perhaps this was necessary to reach out to all the viewers on a more explicit level, and create empathy for a character, who belongs to a group of otherwise reviled monsters. It was quite bizarre to leave the theater relating to characters who had been shown brutally eviscerating each other in graphic detail.
But it is this feeling of commonality with a supposedly terrifying monster that makes the movie powerful and touching. The equivocal metaphor that compares conformist society to zombies is more like a thinly veiled reality: take away the blood and guts and what's the difference between the two?
It goes to show that you don't always need a grandiose and earnest tone to say something significant. Sometimes, the silliest and most ridiculous metaphors are the ones which uncover the most meaningful truth.
- Otto is a gay zombie. Awesome. 6/15/2008 12:00:00 AM by emma-mcnicol
Elly belly, you've taken the film too seriously! LaBruce is very grounded, very modest. Genuine issues are explored but in an refreshingly 'anti Godard' manner - he just makes fun of everything! Labruce ridicules politicians but also those against them; how being 'anti-fa' or 'left' is simply a style or fashion now, (particularly in Berlin), hence Medea, too was mocked when declaring out her 'political' banter.
Laugh at the sex scenes. Crazy, absurd, funny. Not shallow, either: the pleasure one derives from viewing pornography is thrown in their face once mixed with the thrill of the blood and guts of a zombie film. Labruce shows both simultaneously, erections and intestines between the same sheets. Despite being literally 'bloody', they are by no means violent or hate motivated. ''Blood and guts'' is just part of what the zombie lovers get down to in the bedroom! They can also have sex with each other's (very very very newly created) orifices!! ha ha.
This is simply a great film, what a deadly cool way to attack homophobia. Thank god for you Labruce.