Have you ever been so lonely and depressed to the point where you’ve wanted to consume another person’s flesh? Yeah, me neither. But in the psychological horror, Grimm Love, starring Keri Russell, two German men contact each other for that very purpose. The 2006 film is terrifying because its disgusting premise is actually based on a real life crime that occurred in Germany in 2001. Remind me never to go to Germany.
The horror, which was a part of Fangoria’s 2006 Fright Fest, follows college student, Katie (Russell), as she researches the notorious cannibal, Oliver Hartwin, and his willing victim, Simon Grombeck. Katie becomes increasingly obsessed as she studies the infamous cannibal murder-case while she’s attending school in the pair’s homeland of Germany.
The film brings the audience back to the very beginning of the lives of both men respectively, showcasing just how the pair became influenced by their families and the way that they were brought up. The willing victim, Simon, realized he was gay at a very young age and when his mother discovered his secret, she took her life. From that moment forward, Simon always felt responsible for his mother’s death and grew up being ashamed of the man he was, despite finding love in his boyfriend, Felix.
Just a few towns over was the reclusive Oliver who seemed to be left by just about everyone, besides his psychotic mother. Oliver’s only friend was imaginary and while he wasn’t playing with him or being bullied by his classmates, he was developing a creepy fascination with flesh while spying on local butchers at work. On top of his already fragile state of mind, Oliver’s mother played on his guilt and sympathy by making him feel like he had to take care of her, essentially making him terrified of ever moving forward with his life and leaving her behind.
Both boys grew up to be very unhappy later in life mostly due to their mommy issues. Mother’s are always the root of the problem behind all serial killers and sociopaths–did you ever notice that? Charles Manson became the man he was due to his whore mother never loving him and Ed Gein’s mother professed the evils of women and sex to him so much that he ended up hating them enough to wear their skin. So, be careful how you raise your kids ladies…you could be dealing with a future serial killer.
As the film tells the story of how both men came to be, Katie is still investigating for her thesis paper and she even visits the home of Oliver, where the murders took place. Katie finds herself being sucked in deeper into the story, wanting to learn more about their relationship with each other and how it came to end.
The two crazy bastards fatefully meet on a website designed for Cannibals (Oh, how friggin romantic) where Oliver posts an ad for a young male who is willing to be eaten. The sick post receives tons of replies from sadistic and perverted young men who get off on the idea of eating flesh or being eaten. Oliver sets up his home to actually butcher a human and his first participant backs out at the last minute.
Then, the sexually ashamed Simon, who also has a morbid fascination with flesh and dismemberment, replies to Oliver, even sending a photo along with it. After a few pleasurable messages back and forth, the pair agree to meet and perform the deed, with Simon adamant about having his penis cut off. I’m seriously getting grossed out even as I write this. Yuck.
The two men meet and go back to Oliver’s childhood home and Simon fills himself up with sleeping pills, coughing syrup, and alcohol to sedate him for the procedure. Um, I’m sorry but that’s only going to make you drowsy and sleepy. If you don’t want to feel the pain, which makes no sense because isn’t that the point, then why not use an anesthetic to the area? UGH!
So, after Simon becomes sleepy the pair get on with their agenda, which now involves Oliver recording the situation so that he can remember it like “a wedding day”. Creepy bastard. The scenes that follow don’t really show much rather it makes you cringe at the thought of what is supposed to be happening as Simon screams in agony.
After Oliver removes Simon’s penis, the pair feast on it together. Yummy. All of this is shown to us through the video recording of the incident which Katie receives and decides to watch to further her research. However, by watching it she becomes upset and realizes how messed up the men and the situation truly are.
The movie was super creepy, dark, and really sad when you realize that the story really happened. It’s depressing to think that two people could be so messed up from the way that they were raised and treated to the point where they would commit such heinous acts with one another. I couldn’t possibly understand why someone like Simon would even volunteer to be eaten, no matter how ashamed of his sexuality he was. Does no one ever think of trying therapy or medication?!
The film is based on the 2001 case of Armin Meiwes who met his willing victim on a website called, Cannibal Cafe. The pair met on March 9 and carried out the acts depicted in the film, recording and all. The videotape of the scenario actually exists, showcasing the two dining on the victim’s penis together at the dinner table. GROSS.
I think that the film is a decent study of the human mind and what goes wrong in certain instances, however, I felt like the beginning of their lives could have been expanded more. I just don’t understand why Oliver became so obsessed with consuming human flesh. He doesn’t have any friends other than his mother, so what? Why the hell did that make him a cannibalistic weirdo? He did have a weird fascination with watching pigs get butchered but the film didn’t delve deeper into that scenario. There should have been more examples or further explanation for why he was obsessed with flesh and why it gave him sexual satisfaction.
Simon hated himself and he hated who he was, which was why he wanted to rid his body of the thing that essentially killed his mother. He was never happy with himself and he didn’t want people to know what he was. I just don’t understand how he became fascinated with cannibalism and death. He never exhibited any of that fascination in his childhood, at least, they didn’t show us that. If he wasn’t happy with his penis then why not have a friggin sex change?! I don’t get it.
Other than the lack of development or reasoning behind the pair’s creepy obsessions, the film did a good job of building up the sense of dread. We knew right away what happened to the pair but we weren’t shown what happened until the very end. It was a very slow process and I found that it worked well to make me terrified of what was going to happen.
The film isn’t super great and the topic is a little hard to watch, but it’s an insanely interesting and sad story to follow. I think it’s definitely worth a watch because it’s a horror about real people who were seemingly normal, other than their cannibalistic desires, who happened to take their problems too far. The thing that makes it more terrifying is how nice and almost harmless Oliver was presented, until he cut up and devoured Simon, of course. But it was all out of love!