We first find Otto pushing up from the earth and roaming the streets of Berlin like a organism instinctively drawn to something without any intellect to give it reason or direction. What small traces of life left in Otto surface in flashbacks of he and his boyfriend in full, colorful love hysteria. We surmise that that's where Otto's body is leading him... to a reunion with the man he left behind when he went to the grave. When they finally meet-up by chance, Otto's ex is in military garb (was he perhaps shamefully secretive about his homosexuality?) and brings up Otto's time in a hospital over a "sickness" (did Otto die of AIDS?).
Such questions may seem judgmental or simple-minded, but when Otto takes his shirt off, and LaBruce lets the camera linger on that soft bruised chest of his, it's impossible not to ponder those kind of questions.
Since LaBruce has been making low-budget films since 1990, he must have a desire to get annoyances off his chest. Running parallel to the tale of Otto is the story of Medea Yarn, a stereotypical Euro film-school phony better at regurgitating college lecture talking points than at actually making a film. While trying to finish her political zombie-porn project, Medea's path crosses with Otto's and she instantly scoops him as the perfect muse and star for her masterstroke. On a trip through a garbage dump, Medea rants to Otto, "look at all this... it's like the mass grave of capitalism." From reading an breif interview with LaBruce, it appears that he genuinely shares sentiments such as these, yet it also seems that he's wise enough to poke fun at the absurdity and rigidity of hard line political ideology that rarely stops to crack a smile.
LaBruce doesn't totally dump on Medea as he uses her for a vessel to his own personal views and ego-centric reference points (something LaBruce does too openly and often and, indeed, can come off a bit phony in itself). Though Otto; Or, Up With Dead People breaks past what is stubbornly expected of movies that fall within the zombie sub-genre, it's not quite clear what LaBruce's total intentions are. All of the passages featuring Otto are excellent, and strong enough to carry the film, but scenes containing zombie gut-fu*king and zombie orgies leaves one wondering if LaBruce is perhaps just participating in the same trash art he chastises Medea for.
I haven't seen any of LaBruce's previous films, but in browsing his web site it appears that "trash art" may be the exact category that his earlier films fall into. It's too hard to tell at this point. After witnessing LaBruce's creation of Otto, I'm curious to find out if he stumbled onto something special this one time, or if he has a humanity in him that exists beyond one character.