‘The Cannibal Next Door’ (2023) Story Recap And Ending, Explained

Is cannibalism even possible in the 21st century? Broadcasted on Channel 5 on April 26, 2023, and directed by Calum Farmer, the documentary The Cannibal Next Door revolves around the story of Armin Meiwes, one of the most notorious cannibals, and how he perpetrated his crimes on his victim.

The documentary begins with Lois Jones (Journalist and author) sharing that Armin Meiwes started exploring the dark web under the pseudonym “Franky,” looking for a healthy male between 18 and 25 who is willing to sacrifice his life. The horror just begins here, as he got a few replies, and one of the people went to the mentioned farmhouse where Armin lived. Mark T. Hofmann (Cyber Analyst) tells that Armin performed a “kind of consensual cannibalism role-play” and marked with a marker on the naked body which parts he would cut and eat first of his victim. Interestingly, it was just a fantasy for his victim, but for Armin, it was by far the truth and desire. When the man understood this, Armin let him loose, as for him the sacrifice needed to be consensual.

Armin again comes back to the dark web, where one can post anything from their dark fantasies to graphic violent content. Mark T. Hofmann says that he created a fake identity to go undercover to find out how serious these people are on the dark web. Months went by, after which Armin found his desired match, Bernd Brandes, whose dark fantasy was to be eaten. Mark T. Hofmann says that Bernd Brandes’ desire was a progressive form of masochism where he wanted to get humiliated and destroyed. On February 5, 2001, the user of the pseudonym Cator99 (Bernd Brandes) replied to the advertisement of Armin Meiwes, and they conversed for a few months to get to know each other.

To know how these fantasies of cannibalism begin in Armin, Lois Jones traces back to the beginning. Armin lived in Wustefeld and was the youngest child of his mother, who had married three times. At the age of 8, his half-brothers left, and so did his father, making Armin very lonely. His mother ordered him around and never let him grow into his own identity. He was bullied at school and never really had a friend, so he created an imaginary one by the name of “Franky”. While exploring the different parts of the farmhouse, he has seen the slaughter of animals and has become obsessed with the idea of it. After getting the idea of eating another human being from Robinson Crusoe, his idea to fill up his void of loneliness transformed into that of cannibalism. The desire grew more intense in his adolescence and slowly turned into a sexual fantasy. Armin joined the army at the age of 19 and retired after 12 years. Then he used to work at a software firm. In 1996, when Armin’s mother met with an accident, he was there for her, and they became reliant on each other. His mother passed away in 1999, and he was all alone in this world. One of his friends says that Armin used to put on his mother’s clothes and imitate her voice in the house. Soon after that, Armin’s wandering into the cannibalism forums shot up, and not only did he watch but also started creating content. On the other hand, Bernd Brandes grew up in a middle-class family, and her mother died in a car accident. Bernd, as a child, blamed himself for her mother’s death, and the only way he could compensate was by self-annihilation. The story of Bernd was different from Armin’s, as he was very well-liked, went to university, and even had a serious relationship with a male companion. But deep down, his desire was strong where he wanted to get eaten up as a sacrifice.

Both Armin and Bernd struck a deal, and Bernd even gave permission to film his slaughter. On March 9, 2001, the day arrived, and Bernd had kept himself starved for two days at the request of Armin to make his meat tastier. They met up and bought some supplies, including sleeping pills and schnapps. They went to Armin’s place, and after having sexual fulfillment, somehow Bernd felt that Armin was too weak to carry out what he said. He asked him to take him back to the train station, but later reconsidered and decided to try again. This time, as desired by Bernd, Armin hacked off his penis and tried to fry it for eating, but it got burned. Bernd was bleeding out slowly and asked for a warm bath, and in the meantime, Armin was reading a Star Trek novel. After Bernd slipped into unconsciousness, Armin cut his throat and was now ready to fulfill his desire to butcher and eat human flesh. He filmed the whole act, stored the portions he considered edible, and buried the rest in the garden.

After he failed to show up for work or at home, concern started growing for Bernd. His boyfriend, Rene, contacted the police and a local journalist to file a missing person report. When they booted up his computer, they found all his files had been deleted. With no further leads, the police dropped their investigations, and the journalist put him in the missing person’s column. Armin found out that the murder of Bernd had gone unnoticed, and he cooked the remains of Bernd for the next 18 months. Though Armin got what he wanted, he was not satisfied and wanted to commit again to reach the perfect level in the fantasy world. After 5 months, he again got back on the dark web with his advertisement for a slaughter. Four men came, but for them, it was just fantasy, and Armin could not get a deal. One student really got scared by Franky’s deal and contacted the local police, who went undercover to chat with him. Just before Christmas 2002, three policemen arrived and found various evidence of cannibalism in Armin’s farmhouse. Armin understood it was just a matter of time before he got arrested, so he turned himself in after consulting with his lawyer. The news broke out, and the commoners of Germany were in shock. In December 2003, Armin’s trial began at the Kassel Regional Court. The video was played for the jurors and members of the courtroom who were in shock, but for Armin, there was no moment of remorse. The German judiciary system was not prepared for such a case as it did not have any punishment for cannibalism. Armin was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. But the public got angry, and the prosecutors wanted a retrial. In May 2006, Armin received life imprisonment as he was charged with murder. In 2019, Dr. Nahlah Saimeh (Forensic Psychiatrist) interviewed Armin and found him to be highly manipulative. Armin’s application for release was rejected in 2021, but wearing a disguise and accompanied by police, he has the right to visit outside. The cannibal forum still operates and has members growing day by day, and such a shocking and violent incident is just a stick away from occurring again.

‘The Cannibal Next Door’ Ending

It is really hard to believe the act that was committed by Armin in The Cannibal Next Door. It questions the mental state of certain human beings and how their dark desires turn into something grotesque and force them to commit such an act. These disorders, if not discussed and talked about openly in a person’s childhood, can often lead to a fantasy that can become fatal.

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