Three men living morbidly obsessed lives; attempt to transcend the living by rather dark measures. Through an occult ritual of carving a detailed map on a victims skin, will open a gateway into the depths of hell. However, meddling with dark forces has a rather high price. Malevolent demons are released and soon a nightmare of evil ensues.
Necromentia is a 2009 low-budget horror film directed by Pearry Reginald Teo and stars Chad Grimes, Santiago Craig and Layton Matthews.
The movie begins with a character named Hagen, He’s holding on to the body of his deceased lover Elizabeth in hopes that she will come back to life. Hagen is later approached by Travis, a man that claims you can open gateways into hell so a person can travel there and bring back a tortured soul. Travis is in pursuit of this gateway in order to retrieve the soul of his deceased brother Thomas. By the help of a demon name Morbius, Travis is given details as to making this portal. He’s told to seek Hagens help to do this and enlists him in order to create this gateway. What we come to find out is that Travis tricks Hagen in believing he’s going to help get the soul of Elizabeth but instead is using Hagen as a means for to enter hell himself. He carves the map into Hagens skin, sending Hagen into hell where he is brutally slaughtered by a huge monstrous demon that roams the corridors of hell. Little do we know that Travis is taking part in a larger plan controlled by demonic forces.
I first discovered Necromentia just two years ago and despite a few issues I have with it… I do think it’s a rather fascinating story. The movie has a feeling of Clive Barkers Hellraiser presented with the cinematography of 2004’s Saw. There’s a certain steam punk tone throughout the entire film as the chambers of hell look like underground piping systems and even the depictions of the demons. Even the sets are bare and jaded, giving it that German expressionists feel. Things like gas masks and iron rods protruding from their flesh gives them their industrial sinister demeanor. This is not a movie for the weaker viewer and something you don’t watch with your mother. It’s a dark and gritty movie full of sadistic themes of torture and murder, yet delivers a clear message I believe has been a part of mankind throughout the ages.
The Orpheus Connection
I enjoy movies that use classic mythology and make them their own themes. Modernizing basic concepts that have been passed down throughout centuries of mans existence. Necromentia is merely a modern day version of the great mythological texts or oral traditions we’ve all read about in school. The story of Travis Hagen and Morbius run parallel to the Greek myth of Orpheus. The poet and musician that ventures into hell to find his dead wife named Eurydice. Orpheus uses his talents with music to soften the hearts of Hades and Persephone, and in doing so they allow him to retrieve his loves soul and leave back to the upper world. However, Orpheus isn’t allowed to look at his wife’s soul until he reaches the upper world. On his way back, Orpheus is filled with so much passion to have his beloved Eurydice once more that he turns to see her. Eurydice vanishes never to return to Orpheus even in death. There Orpheus returns to the living world a sad and distraught man that only sings songs that reflect his tragedy. Eventually Orpheus is torn to shreds by a group of drunk savage women. So ends the sad tale of Orpheus.
The tale of Orpheus underlines how man is meek and small in thinking it can command or even negotiate with the forces of death. Hades may have been toying with Orpheus much like Morbius toys with Travis in Necromentia. There is no going to the depths of hell to retrieve our loved ones souls. Death is eternal and it is something that we cannot reverse and to meddle in it brings pain and suffering. Travis is seeking his brothers soul because he blames himself for his brothers suicide. His guilt for this leads Travis into a world of dementia and drug abuse that ultimately becomes his downfall. Instead of living with his loss, he becomes obsessed with the occult and is manipulated by the demon.
Morbius and Faust
Morbius himself is another victim like Travis. Once a living man, Morbius was murdered by his cheating girlfriend and Hagen. While in hell he bargains with a demon to seek revenge for his betrayal. Granted his wish, Morbius is the one that manipulates Travis to do his bidding and eventually gets his revenge on Hagen. However Morbius is left be transformed into the monster demon that roams the chambers of hell. This is very reminiscent of the German legend known as Faust. Faust a man so ambitious with transcending his own world and mind surrenders all moral responsibility. He tries taking his own life and in doing so makes a bargain with Mephistopheles, the devil’s representative. Kind of like a Presidents very own Press Secretary. Faust is given what he wants but in return is enslaved for all eternity by the devil. Morbius is like Faust in that he offers his soul to a demon in order to seek revenge on those that wronged him. He finds and ensnares Travis into his bidding much like his own fate!
All three characters are all the same in that their obsessions and dementia lead them into dark eternal torture. When we’re either filled with grief, lost in anger or can’t possess something we want. We like Orpheus and Faust can do terrible deeds to see our desires made real. Instead we become victims of something tremendously dark and evil.
Ugh, I Tried
Well, I hope I could explain this movie and the ideas behind it good enough. I’m not the best of writers but this is what I’ve thought of when seeing this movie. Hopefully the explanation of this movie can peek some interest. After seeing this film you may feel dirty and disgusted. But I think if you think of the tales of Orpheus and Faust. Things just make more sense and you can see the bigger picture of the film.
Necromentia may not be the most well crafted of films. It has some terrible 90’s style beginning credits and even some of the acting is kind of cheesy. There’s a great deal of dialogue that seems very fake and obviously written by a guy that at times doesn’t seem to understand how people talk. I do love the raunchiness of the film and could understand why it could be any goth kids favorite movie. If anything, you will be freaked out by Mr. Skinny, a fat looking demon that wears the decapitated head of a pig for a mask. Mr Skinny is responsible for Thomas’ suicide and he’s the craziest part of the entire movie. He dances around and sings of suicide in some early morning kids tv show jingle. It’s completely insane and awesome and should give you nightmares.
Like Hellraiser we learn that messing with demons and the afterlife is best left alone. I really like the way hell is brought back to the pre Judeo-Christian style. It’s kind of like the Greek interpretation where hell is a place all souls go and its full of demons with their own agendas. Using mortals as a way to get their own selfish desires fulfilled. There are some brutal scenes in this movie which means it’s not for those that can’t muster some graphic depictions of murder and torture. But in the end it’s an interesting horror flick that should deserve a horror fans attention. There are no typical jump scares. Instead the entire tone is scary as we take this terrifying journey into hell. It’s one big story of big fish eats little fish, who is then eaten by another bigger fish. That’s why I’ve chosen Necromentia for day twenty three of Horror Movie Marathon.