Thursday, March 27, 2014

Character Analysis: Otto

Character Analysis: Otto

By: A. Aleister Sirrat

    Okay, I know I’ve already reviewed this film before, and it might be considered “cheating”, but I really did want to do a “Character Analysis” on Otto from the German film “Otto, or Up with Dead People”.  I am also aware that Oancitizen also did a very in depth analysis of Otto’s character in his own video review, but I still wanted to attempt to do my own character analysis.  So without further adieu here is my Character Analysis on Otto from Bruce LaBruce’s 2008 film “Otto, or Up With Dead People”.


     Otto is a young man in his late teens-early twenties who claims to be an actual zombie.  He has no memory of his life before becoming a zombie, and wanders through the city of Berlin, Germany.   It is here where is discovered by a filmmaker named Madea Yarn, who casts Otto in her documentary “Up With Dead People”, which is a mock-umentary about the Gay Zombie Revolution.  However, nobody believes that Otto is an actual zombie; they think he is just dedicated role player/performer.  
Hello, Otto
That’s half the fun of the Otto’s character in the film; it is never really established whether or not he is a zombie or if he’s pretending to be one.  There is evidence to suggest both are possible.  At one point Otto runs into his ex-boyfriend, Rudolf, and he tells Otto that he has changed.  Rudolf tells Otto that he used to be a vegetarian and that he loved to read books, before his family sent him off to a Mental Hospital.  Maybe Otto is suffering from severe depression and pretends to be a zombie as an outlet. All these things would imply that Otto is a human, but I’m still not entirely convinced he is one.
Otto believes he is a zombie, and he does some very zombie-like things.  He eats road kill that he finds in the streets, he speaks in a very dreary monotone voice, he never bathes, he never sleeps, he sees exclusively in the color pink (I’m not sure if that counts as side effect of being a zombie or maybe it’s part of a neurological disorder) and he claims to not remember anything before being transformed into a zombie.  I mean there’s one scene where a guy invites him back to his place for sex, and then it cuts to the next morning and there is blood everywhere!  You think the guy is dead, but then the wakes up and tells Otto that “[he’s] amazing”.  I honestly think Otto killed the guy and then turned him into a zombie.                       
    His story is kind of tragic.  Everyone seems to have their idea of what Otto is, except him.  Everyone he comes across wants to use him, exploit him, or have sex with him.  


Actor Jey Crisfar plays Otto in the film.
Otto is played by a Belgian actor by the name of Jey Crisfar.  To this day it is the only film that Crisfar has appeared in.  Even though he is from Belgium and the film takes place in Germany, it has the benefit of being done entirely in English.  Crisfar’s English is not very good but—then again—none of the other actors in this film speak English very well either.  I think Otto’s accent actually works to his advantage.  If we are to believe he is a zombie, then his speech should sound somewhat impaired shouldn’t it?  I think Jey Crisfar did a wonderful job in this role. I really can’t picture any other actor in this role or wanting to play this role.


     My minds blank here.  I can’t think of any other films that feature a gay zombie character, so Otto is pretty unique.  If anything, I’d say he’s like a dramatic version of Phillip from the 2004 German Horror Comedy “Night of the Living Dorks” because both characters are social outcasts who become zombies that find it even more difficult to fit in the human world since their transformations.


     At the end of the film we see Otto completing the final scene of Madea’s film “Up with Dead People”.  Madea asks Otto where he is going to go now.  He tells her he’s going off on his own. The last shot we see is of him hitchhiking out of Berlin.  Maybe Otto is going to find other people/zombies like him?  Maybe he’s going to try to find out more about his past?  We never know what happens to Otto after the movie ends.  It actually is a perfect way to end a film about a truly unique, intriguing, and mysterious character.

Where did you go, Otto?
Click Here to Read My Original Review of "Otto, or Up With Dead People"

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