Friday, June 29, 2007

Night of the Bad Film

Or, as my classmate exclaimed, "That's two hours of my life I'll never get back!"

Last Tuesday we screened the cinematic wonder, "Daughters of Darkness." This movie was so bad, the only redeeming factors were the laughs we got from the really cheap effects and sound track. Ray picked this film as one of the best of the genre, however, which is the "Lesbian Vampire" flicks.
The Lesbian Vampire Genre developed first in Europe. in the 1930's . Many of the vampress characters are based on one Hungarian Countess, Elisabeth Bathory (17th century), became very infamous for taking the lives of her young virgin maidservants and drinking their blood in order to preserve her own youth. True story.
Film classes often examine such titles as Vampyros Lesbos- Die Erben des Dracula (1971) and La Novia Ensangrenada (1971) Black Sunday (1960) Le Viol Vampire (1967) La Vampire Nue (1969) all portray violent sado-masochistic lesbian images. But although these films were made specifically for the straight audience, they represent an alternative from the shame-full victim or the cruel butch bitch as lesbians were usually portrayed. Within this genre, the vampress is a "merging two kinds of sexual outlaws... more than simply a negative stereotype... at one an image of death and as object of desire..." (Vampires and Violets, A. Weiss)

We also screened the love scene from The Hunger (1983) between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. I'm sure you all remember that one. It was actually very hot. Although reportedly, Miss Deneuve refused to shoot the scene and they used a body double. What a prude!

On Thursday we screened extended clips demonstrating the device of camp, and really delved into the thin muddy line between camp and stereotype.
The Gay Deceivers was , I suppose, a comedic attempt to reverse the situation of gays having to always pass in a straight world. I found the movie offensive and homophobic. Others thought that, as it portrayed a couple of straight guys posing as gay lovers to get out of the draft, it shed light on the kind of discrimination gays face every day, and even flawed as it is, it does show the gay men as the ones who have the "normal" life and the two straight bunglers have all the problems. OK, I'll give it that. But I'm not convinced that in 1969 the director was so enlightened. If anyone knows Bruce Kessler, could you ask him for me? Thanks.

Reform School Girls (1986) however, is full on camp, and highly enjoyable as such. What a perfect laugh to watch Wendy O Williams as a jail-house bitch who whacks around the innocent newbies while dressed scantily in g-string and big 80's hair. "It's time you put on your Fuck You boots & start kicking! " This really bad film gets 2 thumbs up!

And finally, we have Car Wash (1975). Why? you might ask...
This film is actually pretty amazing when you think about it. It manages to take stereotypes and apply camp, all the while treating it's "wacky cast of characters" with dignity and grace. Antonio Fargas plays Lindy, a very femme gay guy, who is not really teated as anyone special or outside of the other characters. He gets teased and he teases back. He's not besotted with guilt or mental illness or social disorders, he doesn't get killed or commit suicide. He's a real person, at least as real as any of the characters are. Besides, it's the first time you ever heard this line:
"Honey, I'm more man than you'll ever be and more woman than you'll ever get."
Oh, and did I mention the soundtrack? What's not to love?

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chuck b. said...

Wow, except for the Hunger, I've never seen any of those movies. Car Wash, I know, represents a huge gap in my education. Funny that I know the soundtrack backwards and forwards, but I've never seen the movie. And how the heck did I miss Reform School Girls in 1986? I was 17. Never even heard of it. Somehow the lesbian vampire scene passed me by although I know all about it, except that I never heard of Elisabeth Bathory.

Great work here... keep it comin'!

Can I come to class with you one night? What's coming up?

anile said...

Sure, you can come with!
Meet me at 25th and Noe at 6:00 on tues or thursday. 7/3 is "Fox and his friends" by ranier werner fassbinder and on 7/5 we have "tongues untied" On 7/12 it sounds interesting: "Tiny and Ruby: Hell Drivin Women" and on 7/17 it's "Urbania"
Just let me know when you want to come!

Private said...

Hi Anile! Great blog and I love the wine recommendations on the main page :)