In the 16th century, Gasteiger (Peter Simonischek), the sort-of squire
of Eisenerz, a village in the Styrian Alps, sends his miners deep into the
mines of the Erzberg to bring him the perfect iron flower, an expedition
that costs many a miner's life. But since they have found his iron flower,
Gasteiger argues the loss of life was totally worth it - which is met with
outrage by the locals, who soon form your usual angry mob with torches and
pitchforks to have their revenge. Gasteiger however is unfazed by that
because he has big plans - make the iron flower the centerpiece of an
especially crafted case that will allow him to escape into another world
and live forever ...
The 20th century: Student Barbara (Katharina
Konstantin) returns to Eisenerz to do some research on Gasteiger's iron
flower case, but at first she is met with dismay everywhere she goes, with
most even denying the existence of the case. Howevver, she suspects Mrs
Wagner (Barbara Steele), owner of the local museum and mother of her
boyfriend Hans (Hans Platzgumer), to know the secret of the case. Mrs
Wagner however won't talk ...
Hans meanwhile tries to make it big as a
musician, even though his band (Platzgumer's real-life band H.P.Zinker) is
hopelessly bad, as he has to discover at his first gig outside of
Eisenerz. Then though, he somehow gets in touch with Gasteiger from inside
the iron flower case, who promises to make him and his band great
musicians, but in turn he has to hand him over the first one who crosses
his path. Gasteiger keeps his part of the deal, and all of a sudden Hans'
band sounds great as can be, but the first one who has crossed Hans' path
was Barbara, and Hans is not willing to give her up - but Gasteiger isn't
open for re-negotiations. Thing is, for his redemption, Gasteiger needs to
deflower a virgin, and since Hans never had sex with Barbara ...
tries everything to prevent Gasteiger from getting his hands on Barbara,
but Gasteiger cuts off all of Hans's support, like his bandmates and even
Hans's mother, who was incidently Gasteiger's mistress all over the years.
Ultimately though, Hans finds Gasteiger's iron flower case and smashes it
... but with Gasteiger outside the case, that doesn't do much good, and
ultimately, Gasteiger revives the dead to ... well, actually, the dead
don't do anything, they just walk around zombie-like. It's just the more
dead he revives, the more crowded it gets for the living ...
finally manages to seduce Barbara, but having sex, he notices she's a
virgin no more (just because she didn't have sex with Hans doesn't mean
she didn't have sex), so he kills her, and now he's more and more keen to
have his revenge on the living. Enter professor Seligmann (Gerhard
Balluch), Barbara's tutor at university, who knows how to defeat
Gasteiger: He has to be lured back into his irion flower case - bad thing
though is that Hans has already smashed it. Still, Seligmann is somehow
able to fix it, while it's Hans's job to fetch a new, perfect iron flower
from inside the Erzberg ...
In the finale, Hans has to perform with his
zombiefied bandmates while Seligmann can convince Gasteiger to return into
the iron flower case since the real world isn't everything it promised to
be - and ultimately, the dead return to where they came from while
Barbara, Hans's mum and his bandmates return to life.
follows Gasteiger into his iron flower case to learn the secrets of
eternal life - but Hans and company think it's best to smash the case ...
a wonderfully weird film!
A self-consciously self-ironic blend of gothic
horror and floklore, Eurohorror and musical, romantic fantasy and zombie
motives - and somehow, director Willi Hengstler manages to keep all these
aspects in balance to deliver a suspenseful film without ever taking
himself too seriously, with often even addressing the slight (but
intentional) silliness of his plot. And believe me, Hengstler's dancing
zombies come across much better and funnier than those in Michael
Jackson's/John Landis' Thriller-video.
In all, an immensely
enjoyable film, but one that never really got much of a proper release and
that's for some reason incredibly hard-to-find nowadays, even despite the
participation of horror queen Barbara Steele.