The following message was posted by a user of the now-defunct fetish website The Cannibal Cafe:
“Seeking well-built man, 18-30 years old for slaughter.”
Months ticked by. Multiple people answered the ad and backed out at the eleventh hour. At one point, the user was offered a small boy to purchase. In the end, the right contender answered the call with a message reading : “I offer myself to you and will let you dine from my live body. Not butchery, dining!!”
The events that followed would capture the attention of the German media and government, the terminally morbid, and the notorious industrial metal band, Rammstein.
In March 2001, as per the arrangement made on the website, 42-year-old Armin Meiwes killed and consumed 43-year-old Bernd Juergen Brandes. Before Meiwes stabbed him to death, the two consenting gentlemen ate parts of Brandes together.
As to be expected, Rammstein found themselves fascinated by the case. Guitarist Richard Kruspe told MTV: “I was really interested to find out about why he would want to kill a man and eat [him]. What I figured out from some research was that Meiwes’ mother totally destroyed all kinds of relationships he had in his childhood. So, he felt that if he did this, his victim would stay with him forever. It was just a really interesting story, so we decided to make a song about it.”
The lyrics are far from ambiguous, with lines translated from German that read in part: “Today I will meet a gentleman / He likes me so much he could eat me up / Soft parts and even hard ones Are on the menu,” as well as: “The dull blade / good and proper / I’m bleeding heavily and feeling sick / Although I have to fight to stay awake / I keep eating while in convulsions.”
Since Meiwes videotaped his encounter with Brandes, Rammstein tried to use the footage for the song’s video. However, the tape being in police custody made it inaccessible. Instead, director Zoran Bihac shot various scenes of seemingly random surrealist violence among the bandmates. Kruspe said: “The director had everyone in the band come into the room for two hours and do anything he wanted. And nobody knew what the other guys were doing. It came out even darker than I thought it would. But I’d still like to see the police video.”
Armin Meiwes was found guilty of manslaughter and received an 8 ½ year prison sentence. He attempted to sue Rammstein and the creators of horror film Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story for depicting fictionalized accounts of his life. Although nothing ever happened in the Rammstein suit, Meiwes did succeed in blocking the release of Butterfly for several years until the decision was reversed in 2009. In a statement through his lawyer, he said: “I feel used.”