Thursday, May 1, 2008

Color Him Lurid: George Kuchar

Some filmmakers deserve our constant gratitude and admiration. Two of these are the Bronx’s own Kuchar Brothers, George and Mike. I have to admit that while I enjoy Mike’s movies (Sins o f the Fleshapoids is genius), I have a better knowledge of, and a diehard fan-fascination with, the warped, no budget creations of his twin, George. I think it’s an absolute shame the Brothers aren’t better known, and each time I see their best-known fan John Waters paying tribute to the exploitation filmmakers who inspired him, I wonder if he couldn’t throw just a little spotlight their way, as they are without question the first great no-budget genius-trash filmmakers (yes, he’s acknowledged their influence, and no, they didn’t have any actors the like of Divine, Mink Stole, or David Lochary — although their Bronx babes were mighty cute in a homegrown way — but it’s inarguable how much their work is the natural precursor to Waters’ classic midnight-movie classics). In other words, they need the press at this point — as much as I love and worship the work of Russ Meyer and H.G. Lewis, I think their reputations are safe as this point; the same with the great Kenneth Anger. It’s a tragedy that the sum total of their work on DVD is the sole release of Mike’s Sins….

In searching the Net for evidence of George’s crazed and wildly influential underground cinema at this exact point in time, you find that the Video Data Bank website has wonderfully lurid write-ups of the pics by George himself.

A bunch of the Kuchars’ films had been up on YouTube, but are now down. This could be due to the Brothers themselves or their copyright holders (VDB?) asking that the films be removed. OR it could be the most annoying aspect of YouTube, the ridiculous “three strikes” rule — wherein if you get three complaints or removals, all your videos are taken down (as ridiculous as the no-nudity-cuz-we-in-’Merica-ain’t-mature-enuf-ta-handle-it rule). For the time being only two GK pics are up:

Wild Night in El Reno (1977)

and I, An Actress (1977)

Someone has put up the very end of George’s perfect Hold Me While I’m Naked (the sound is loud, turn your computer down!):

Ten of George’s films, including the above trio, are available for viewing and downloading on the Ubuweb site. My advice is to download the files (right click and you’ve got ‘em), as watching them on the site always freezes up my computer. As the Brothers’ films continue to be restored in an ongoing project run by UCLA to preserve the greatest American underground films, I’m looking forward to SOME KIND of DVD releases of their finest, exquisitely gonzo work.

Here’s the UbuWeb URL. Have a lurid feast for yourself:
Click here

No comments: