Movie Time: Grimm Love

September 27, 2019

Feeling a bit run down/under the weather today so taking a movie break. It took a moment to decide if I would be taking my chances with another random new flick or rewatching an old favorite, but it turns out I am in the mood for the latter so Grimm Love it is.

I cannot tell you how many times I have watched this film. It is dark, twisted, atmospheric, well-written, somewhat romantic and most interesting of all, based on a real crime case of murder and cannibalism in Germany in the late 1990's. Some of the narration is long-winded but I love so much of the dialog in this film it is hard to know which parts to quote. The film opens with graduate student Katie Armstrong talking about the dream she has;

"I have this dream sometimes. In this dream my life is smooth and ordered. Purposeful, everything has a reason, everything is in its place and I'm no longer afraid. Because somehow in this dream, I've left my old self behind. The graduate student, the compulsive note taker, the eternal question asker, the girl who's searching for something to fill that dark hole inside of her and quiet her loss. I've left all of this behind to become something more, something pure. Because I finally found what I've been searching for. Because in this dream, I'm not alone. Someone else is there. I can't see them yet, but all of me is moving towards this person. This person obscured but most definitely there. And knowing this person is there, I feel all my fears beginning to life off me, like fog rising from the lake. And then I wake up.

Is it wrong to want to find someone who can see inside of you? Into the darkest corners of your heart and still love you."
-Katie Armstrong

The film follows Katie, a young woman who became so obsessed with the details of a 1998 crime that she moved to Germany to be closer to the subjects of a criminal psychology thesis she always knew she wanted to write; the case of Oliver Hartwin and Simon Grombeck. Two men who met on an internet chat room. Ten days later, one of these men would be dead in what turned out to be a very twisted case of love, despair, desire and ultimately cannibalism.

Katie's studies into the case take her to the very homes that the two men grew up in, the roads they walked on as children and in search of a video made of the crime itself supposedly circling in underground collections.

"Think about what that's like, to be so alone that you'd go through such extreme measures to be understood. To finally feel safe." -Katie Armstrong

The film flashes back and forth between several different time lines; the separate childhoods of the murderer and victim, the fateful day when the two finally meet as adults and then years after the crime as Katie investigates and dives deeper into the lives and stories of these two ill-fated men. One a self-loathing homosexual obsessed with the idea of dying and being consumed by another, the other a man who has always desired to eat another human being and goes searching for the perfect, willing victim.

This sad tale is based the the true crime case of cannibal Armin Meiwes and his voluntary victim, Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes. They met on a website called Cannibal Cafe where Armin posted that he was "looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed." Only one person replied seriously. They would meet and video tape four hours of consensual horror. The two men amputated and attempted to eat Brandes penis. This was not very successful however and Brandes, who was heavily sedated at the time, was helped into a bathtub to slowly bleed to death. When the literal blood bath did not kill Brandes, Meiwes finally finished the job by stabbing him in the throat and hanging the body from a hook.

Once Brandes had passed away, Meiwes dismembered and froze the rest of the body. He spent the next ten months consuming forty-four pounds of Brandes before getting caught after advertising on the same website for a new victim - because he was beginning to run low on meat.

In 2004 Meiwes was sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter, but because his crime was so heinous and the details of the video tape so disturbing, he was retried in 2006 for murder and sentenced to life behind bars. He has claimed to be regretful and remorseful of the crime and asked that those who suffer from the same urges as he did to seek out help before it escalates to such extreme actions. He has supposedly become a vegetarian while in prison.

The film follows the emotional journey of fictional character Katie as she investigates the lives of two men she has been fascinated with for years. At some point she comes into possession of an object she has longed to lay eyes on since first hearing about the case. She learns quickly however that some curiosities are never meant to be satisfied...

As stated before, there is much that I love about this film. It is a deep, dark and twisted tour of the most extreme kind of give-and-take relationship. It is about how far some humans will go to be understood and accepted. And throughout the whole film it seems quite obvious that the character Katie is questioning whether or not these two men had any true love for each other. Was this a brief meeting between two individuals ready to cross the forbidden lines and finally be their true selves with another person? Where they a perfect match, fated for each other? Or was it simply a strong attacker carefully manipulating a weak victim into an unimaginably gruesome end? Either way, I have always loved this movie (as well as been fascinated with the true crime) and have a feeling that it will not be the last time I watch it.

"Tragedy, accident, death… you can't help but look. Imagine falling like that, the sidewalk just coming at you. They say vertigo isn't the fear you'll fall, it's the fear you'll jump. Because in some dark part of us, maybe we all have that need. To jump." -Katie Armstrong after seeing a suicide victim on the ground

"What's natural is to wonder what separates us from them. What matters is what makes us the same. Did Simon have dreams at night? Did he ever feel his fears lift off of him?" -Katie Armstrong

"Something inside of me is growing, and needs to be seen. I know someone out there will want to see it." -Oliver Hartwin

"You are delicious." -Oliver Hartwin

"They lived nearby, in castle, the Brothers Grimm. They looked out at the woods and they saw things. Things most people couldn't see. Kind of like you and me. We don't have to talk. Just being together is enough." -Oliver Hartwin

"Imagine such a perfect understanding. Being with someone who sees you as you really are. Who reflects your image back to you as something beautiful and pure. The closer I got, the harder it became to turn back." -Katie Armstrong

Hello Sleeplessness My Old Friend

August 16, 2019

Feeling: restless

It is nearly midnight and the moon is still full. Crickets have been chirping loudly for hours. The woods are alive with wildlife and insects this time of year and each day brings many encounters with little "friends". The days have been warmer than I normally appreciate but tolerable. Another hot August up in the mountains.

The heat leads to insomnia which is reason for this entry. Sleep would probably be advisable after the long hot week but the mind simply will not slow down. So many thoughts.

The world is a stranger place each and every day. From my small, insignificant existence to events playing out all over this great, vast planet; each week brings even weirder news than the one before. Normally I enjoy the bizarre, macabre and general chaos but even I have a hard time keeping up with it all at this point. Some days I make no effort to do so at all.

Yet here I am up late on a Friday night in a quiet bedroom out in the middle of the dark woods. Almost wishing I had somewhere to go but unsure of where that somewhere would be. There are no goth or industrial night clubs in these parts. Bars are too predictable and dull. Nothing else is open after eight for miles around anyway. The silence and solitude of these rural communities is bliss most of the time but the boredom does get to you on occasion. My only other escape, the internet, has gotten a touch cold, hostile and imagination-less over the years.

I do still manage to get out to a social event once in a great while. Last week it was the county fair. I may no longer be rocking those blood red locks but it seems that a flare for the dark, goth and spooky has never gone away. So much for this personality being "a phase". ;)