Monday, September 26, 2011

Short Film: Kunstbar (Canada, 2002)

Information about this nifty little Flash animation short seems to be sketchy at best, but from what we could learn it's been around for over a decade. Well, it's never too late to give a good film well-deserved attention.
The word Kunstbar is German (and according to one on-line source, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and Estonain as well) and translates into "Art Bar". This 3:55 minute film uses a typical Joe Schmoe – who, a to Christain lim, is modeled as "homage to Rob Petrie, Dick Van Dyke's character in The Dick Van Dyke Show – to answer the question, as placed at (among other places) the Directors Lounge Berlin 2006: "What would happen if you drank an Yves Tanguy?" (Some pretty weird shit is the answer.)

As far as we could uncover, Kunstbar was made by a group of folks – Steve Whitehouse, Denis Gonzalez, John Halfpenny, Chris Labonte and Paul Teglas – who call themselves The Petrie Lounge and have been based in Toronto for over twenty years. They all seem to have a lot of experience in mainstream Saturday morning and late afternoon cartoons programs such Care Bears, Beetlejuice, Duckman, Sam & Max, etc, etc. Going by their sadly under-maintained website, they rarely do a solo project – but let's be thankful that they at least did Kunstbar, for it kicks more than just turpentine.
To an oddly endearing (mostly) atonal soundtrack, a man wanders through a Giorgio DeChirico's landscape when his attention is drawn to an arty bar populated by arty customers and with a menu of interesting cocktails (named after artists) with truly interesting side effects. A funny and well made Flash animation short, it tests your cultural knowledge as it entertains, presenting a lively selection of references to modern and contemporary artists and paintings (and some selected Old Masters as well). Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

R.I.P.: Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt
14 Oct. 1943 (Redondo Beach, CA) - Tuesday, 13 Sept. 2011 (Redondo Beach, CA)

There are filmmakers out there that, despite a career spanning decades, have never directed a truly good film. Paul Hunt, who died of a heart attack at the age of 67 in his home town of Redondo Beach on Tuesday, September 13, was one of them. Which is not to say he did have a career worth noting.
A surfboard maker by trade, Paul Hunt made his acting debut as a surfer in 1964 in the movie North Swell, a seemingly lost film about which nothing is known; two years later, in 1966, he directed and filmed his first film, another lost film entitled The Psychedelics – from there on, he not only produced, wrote and directed numerous B-movies of his own, but also worked as a cinematographer, gaffer, sound recordist and editor for other directors, often under the pseudonym H.P. Edwards, and even worked with Orson Welles on the latter's controversial unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind (1970).

His obituary at Variety claims that he also was also active as a producer in underground films, but the films he produced were perhaps less underground art than Z-grade and mondo exploitation, many of which he distributed in the 1960s through his own company, Canyon Films (and, later, Pacific International Pictures, Filmmakers International Releasing and United Filmmakers). According to Paul's surfboard firm website, Canyon Films "made over 60 films [...] and released experimental films for all the top filmmakers of the time including Andy Warhol". According to some sources, he worked in one form or another with such noted filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, John Huston, Frank Marshall, Don Siegel, Claude Chabrol, Paul Mazusky, Curtis Harrington, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and many others.

Paul Hunt – may he enjoy the ultimate waves wherever he is now.

Below, a selection of the films he participated in; some of those of which we could find no documentation on the web (like House of a Thousand Dreams [1969], an assumed lost project supposedly starring David F. Friedman) are not included.

North Swell
(1964, dir. unknown)

Hunt plays one of the surfers in this film, the "plot" of which is unknown, just like the director... more or less. The poster/ticket graphics shown here are by Grant Rohloff), a "well known" surfer photographer and filmmaker. Thus, although we could find not verifying source on the web, we would hazard to guess that Rohloff directed the film as well. Below is a short documentary on Grant Rohloff and his films, made and narrated by his son.
Documentary on Grant Rohloff:

The Psychedelics
(1966, dir. Paul Hunt)

Not to be confused with The Devil's Sisters (1966) by William Grefe, also a lost film from the same year also released at one point under the title The Psychedelics. According to the Pandit Ravi Shankar bio @, Ravi Shankar did the music "in Paul Hunt's English flick The Psychedelics (1966)". This film also seems to be unavailable or lost, for there is a definite dearth of info on it. But more than one site says the films features the cult fave Pat Barrington, her second film after making her film debut on the infamous Ed-Wood-scripted Orgy of the Dead (1965 / clip). Aborgast loves Pat Barrington; we do, too – but her costar of Orgy, John Andrews, didn't: "She thought she was going to be a big fucking star. And she couldn't even scream and make it convincing. She couldn't do shit. And those tits are plastic, by the way." About the last, well, she had a damn good job done 'cause they look a lot more real than what you find in Playboy today. Here at A Wasted Life, we couldn't find visual record anywhere of The Psychedelics, but we did find a nicely psychedelic short set to the music of the Switchblade Symphony featuring Pat, amongst other bosoms; we've included it below for your visual pleasure.
Switchblade Symphony playing Mine Eyes:

Mondo Mod
(1967, dir. Peter Perry Jr.)

Paul Hunt appears as himself in this "documentary". Dvd Drive-In says: "Cruising into Mondo Mod to the strains of its cheesy title tune, one would expect a fabulous time capsule of outta-sight fashions, far-out hairdos, and all the hip dialogue you can stand. But instead, Mondo Mod is rather a documentary not aimed at the Mods it documents, but the outsiders who want to be hip and would like a 10-step program narrated by L.A. DJ Harve Humble in the process. Sure, there's footage of the Whiskey a Go Go and its terrible house bands, a kooky boutique called 'Belinda's,' and some drugged-out footage of a stripper and a love-in, but the Mod comparisons stop there. What does go-kart racing, karate, bikers, and protests have to do with the Mod scene?"

(1967, dir. Milton Blair)

Aka Blue Surfari, Blue Surf-Ari; Paul E. Hunt as executive producer. Dangerous Minds says: "There was a glut of sixties Hollywood surfing films in which stars [...] never got wet. And then there were the low-budget indie documentaries that featured bona-fide surfers like Ricky Grigg and Greg Noll riding real waves. Blue Surf-Ari was one of those films. Despite threadbare plots, cheesy voiceovers and lots of footage of teenyboppers milling around waiting for something to happen, these flicks did deliver when it came to awesome wave action. What the low-budget surf films lacked in narrative, they made up in some dynamite footage of surfers shredding down the walls of big-ass waves, shooting the curl and being battered by merciless bodies of water. This is for the old skool."
8:44 Minutes of Blue Surf-Ari:

Killers Three
(1968, dir. Bruce Kessler)

Hunt was only the cinematographer for this hicks-on-the-run exploitation film directed by the man who gave you Angels from Hell (1968 / trailer) and The Gay Deceivers (1969 / trailer), but it stars no one less than Dick Clark, who also produced the film, so we just had to include it here.
Robbery Scene from Killers Three:

Four Kinds of Love
(1968, dir. William Rotsler [as Shannon Carse])

According to imdb, Paul appears uncredited as "Paul" in this sex film directed by Renaissance Man William Rotsler. At imdb, john22900 says: "There's not much to this movie. The women in this movie are much better to look at than the men. For the most part the women have nice bodies and pretty faces. Two of the men that are almost instantly recognizable are Jay Edwards and William Rotsler aka Shannon Carse. The best looking brunette is probably Carol Turner who is very hot but there is a blonde with a nice set of large breasts too. This film is in black and white and most of the film is spent on nudity and sex. No plot to speak of. The film is better when it concentrates on the naked women, not the men who thankfully keep most of their clothes on during this movie."
The NSFW film clip below is not from Four Kinds of Love, but rather from Suburban Pagans, a Rotsler film from the same year... but since the above description literally fits the scene below as well, we're including it for your visual pleasure.
Mostly Nude Go-Go Scene from Suburban Pagans:

(1968, dir. William Rotsler)

Theme Song to Lila:

Better known in (its edited form) as Mantis in Lace. According to imdb, Paul appears uncredited as a member of the audience – a slim connection at best for including the film here, but it is Rotsler's masterpiece and does have a great title song. Plot, per imdb: "A topless dancer attracts, seduces, then murders the men she sleeps with. She does it with a twist, however; she kills them with garden tools." As Girls, Guns and Ghouls puts it: "If you're looking for a nice, humble sleaze-film that relishes its vintage strip-club environs, go no further than Mantis in Lace. It doesn't drench the screen with gore or even that much sex, but there's something quite effective about the whole demented little endeavor.
Trailer to Mantis in Lace:

Blow the Man Down
(1968, directed & written by Hayes Dupree)

Paul Hunt, as H.P. Edwards, produced this film, possibly the first film of Hayes Dupree, whose small number of follow-up films were all hardcore pornography (his next film, Getting Off (1979) featured the body fluids of, among others, two legendary performers, John Leslie and Desiree Cousteau). Peter's Movie Posters says: "Blow the Man Down [proves] yet again that taking drugs, particularly the menace LSD, leads the youth of today down a desperate road to graphic toplessness. A no-budget exploitation film from the pinnacle of the counterculture movement's influence, both the film and the poster provide a licentious warning to troubled teens and the perverted squares who enjoy watching their naked shenanigans." With Pat Barrington (billed as "Camille Grant").
The book cover shown here has absolutely nothing to do with the film, but we like it so much that we've decided to include it anyways.

All the Way Down
(1968, dir. Zoltan G. Spencer)

Cinematography by "Hayes Du Pree". Paul Hunt produces another "underground" film, as sex films were often called back then, directed by an obvious pseudonym – supposedly of one "Spence Criley / Crilly" (although, who knows: it could be the other way around). Supposedly not a hardcore film, despite the following description from Something Weird: "Once you've tasted the fantasy life of Strip Row, you're hooked! There's nowhere to go but All the Way Down! Joe (Joe Weldon) books the talent at a sleazy Sunset Strip go-go club. He's got an eye for the ladies and handpicks dancers [...]. The first dancer we're treated to is Collette [...]. Collette and Joe go back to his place and, while he wheels and deals on the telephone, she performs an impromptu striptease. Lesbians Sultry Sandra and Busty Billie are the star attraction at the club. They perform a nasty S&M routine with Sandra as a masked, whip-wielding mistress and Billie as her shackled love slave. [...] When the gals don't show up for work, Joe convinces Cindy [...] to fill in. He plies her with liquor and sweet talk, then sticks it to her good on a pool table. Cindy immediately enjoys the customers' attention as everyone digs her wide-eyed but not-so-innocent quality. Unfortunately, her sudden star status doesn't sit well with the other dancers...."

The Harem Bunch
(1968, dir. Paul Hunt)

Scripted by the great sleazemeister Bob Cresse, who brought us Love Camp 7 (trailer) the following year. A comedy taking place in the future, in 1984. Plot according to Sandra Brennan: at V-Guide: "The never-ending feud between the Israelis and the Arabs is parodied in this farce. The story begins during a cease-fire. An Israeli leader – who considers fighting a favorite hobby – begins plotting a way to provoke the Arabs into breaking the peace. To do so, he sends three lovely spies into Arab territory where they are willingly captured. This is done to make the enemy believe that trouble is afoot. Then the women meet a handsome Arab leader who beds them all simultaneously. The exhausted, but happy ladies soon reveal the whole conspiracy. This stops the fighting and the Arab and the Israeli leaders become best friends and jointly open a tailor shop." The poster is from, where the plot is told in detail; the film still was found at the, which is a fun site to go through but is way out of our price range.

Wild, Free & Hungry
(1969, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

Once again, Paul Hunt as H.P. Edwards. TV Guide gives it one star and says: "A mega-melodrama about a carnival owner who gets mixed up with the mob and a motorboat racer. Romance, violence, and fast-paced speedboating leave their scars on the carnival owner who eventually loses his wife, fortune, and carnival, while retaining his only true love, a carnival employee. A happy ending has all his lost property returned to him. Tune in next week for another episode of..."

The Pleasure Machines
(1969, dir. Ronald Victor Garcia)

Paul Hunt, executive producer and cinematography. Director Garcia went on to have a real career as a cinematographer and occasional TV director. The plot synopsis from the AFI Film Catalog: "Comedy. Harry Short, an inventor, builds a love machine. His wife, Martha, catches him in the garage with the lifelike, female robot and demands that Harry build a male robot for her own use. Soon, all the neighbors want love machines, and Harry cannot keep up with their requests and his wife's orders for a variety of additional male robots for herself. He constructs two robots for Martha – omitting the on-off switch – and Martha dies of overexertion". Alt. titles: Pleasure Machine, Love Machine, The Love Machine. Released: March 26, 1969 (Champaign, Illinois). Cast: Barbara Lynn, Beverly Walker, Patricia Miller.

The Scavengers
(1969, dir. Lee Frost)

AKA Ambush. Paul plays "Sgt. Ivers" in this exploitation western, for which he supposedly also worked on the music and editing. Directed by the great exploitation filmmaker Lee Frost, maker of numerous trash "crapsterpieces", including Policewoman (1974 / trailer) and The Black Gestapo (1975 / trailer). The Scavengers was rereleased in 1971 with added sex scenes as The Grabbers. For a full plot description and trailer in English, go here to Something Weird.
French Trailer:

The Toy Box
(1971, dir. Ronald Víctor García)

The opening credits:

Paul Hunt, acted as producer (along with the great Harry Novak) and cinematographer for Garcia's infamous trash favorite, The Toy Box. Girls, Guns and Ghouls says: "Ron Garcia [...] created a pure gem of a film in The Toy Box, one of the most enjoyable little movies I've seen in many a year. I can only urge any cult, horror or sleaze fans out there to pick it up, I can't imagine anyone who reads these pages regularly being disappointed. Then again, how any film that shows buxom screen goddess Uschi Digard naked on a revolving bed, being caressed by the bedsheets of the bed can be passed up by anyone is beyond me." (Full review here.)
The great Uschi Digard having fun with bed sheets:

Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns
(1971, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

"Harry Novak presents the first movie bold enough to be called Machismo."
Pycal at imdb says: "This is indeed one of the most incompetent and amateurish looking films I have ever seen. [....] Some of the nighttime photography in this thing is so bad that it makes one of the principal actresses look like a two-headed camel. The film's plot is really nothing new and is essentially a cross between The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen: A group of Mexican bandidos (led by a Danny Trejo look-alike) receive a pardon for their crimes if they are willing to ride into town and defeat a gang of American outlaws who just made off with a large supply of gold (these details relayed to the viewer through one of the most inept and unintentionally funny voice-over jobs I have ever seen)."

Erika's Hot Summer
(1971, written & directed by Gary Graver)

Paul Hunt produced this early sexploiter by Gary Graver, who went on to do dozens of hand-helping visual aids of gynecological detail under the pseudonym of Robert McCallum. The Erika of the title is no one less than the great Erica Gavin (seen here to the left) of the fun Russ Meyer film Vixen! (1968 / trailer), the Russ Meyer masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970 / trailer) and Jonathan Demme's entertaining directorial debut Caged Heat (1974 / trailer). Erika's Hot Summer also features Playboy December 1972 Playmate of the Month Merci Montello (seen here to the right). Plot? Well, basically, Erica vs. Merci for the heart and wiener of "Steve" (Walt Phillips), a fuck-around photographer.
Eight NSFW Minutes of Merci Moanin' & Groanin' in Erika's Hot Summer:

The Clones
(1973, dir. Paul Hunt & Lamar Card)

Paul shared the directorial seat with Lamar Card, who went on to do such intellectually challenging films as Supervan (1977 / trailer) and Disco Fever (1978 / trailer), with a script by Steve Fisher, who wrote the original (great) novel to the great film noir I Wake Up Screaming (1941 / trailer) and tons of other good stuff. Hunt also appears briefly as a physician in the film, which numerous websites claim to have been a hit the year it came out, supposedly even setting box office records – impressive, considering that no one knows anyone who ever saw it (compare, for example, how many people you can probably find who went to see Westworld [trailer], which came out the same year and actually did well enough to garner a sequel. The trailer to The Clones is probably one of the most boring ever made – wonder what the film is like....

The Great Gundown
(1977, dir. Paul Hunt)

AKA Savage Red, Outlaw White. Steve Fisher returns to supply the script to a story by Hunt and Robert Padilla, Padilla being the man who played the lead in Machismo. Hunt also appears in the film as Jim the Gunsel. says: "Violent American film patterned after Italian westerns. Mario, weary of killing for pay, leaves his gang to return home to his wife and son who assumed him long dead. Now he is hunted by both sides of the law and shunned by his wife." Described by "scherpschutter" on as being "a combination of David Hamilton-like erotica and Peckinpah-like violence."

Twisted Nightmare
(1987, dir. Paul Hunt)

Written by Hunt and Charles Philip Moore, who joined forces again three years later for Demon Wind. We actually caught this one at a long-gone grindhouse in downtown San Diego – it was pretty lousy; all we can remember about it are the kitties and the weightlifting Asian character (he had an amazingly crappy haircut but big muscles). Bad acting galore. Made in 1982, it took till '87 to reach the grindhouses, where no one noticed it; today, it could possibly be good in a bad way, but someone else will have to find that out. "A group of teenagers win a trip to a summer camp they had attended as children. However, soon after they get there they begin to disappear one by one."
Paul Hunt once said, "I personally hate horror films and did Twisted Nightmare as a favor for Ed DePriest." In regard to this film, Charles Philip Moore has said: "Twisted Nightmare [...] is the sorriest piece of drek ever put on film. When Hunt wasn't bombed on coke he was coming down with hash. Hunt hired inexperienced wannabes just so he could screw them out of their pay." (See Demon Wind below to learn Hunt's opinion of Moore.)
Twisted Nightmare – Flashback Scene:

The 13th Floor
(1988, written & directed by Chris Roache)

"Even office buildings can be haunted..."
Not to be mistaken with the really nifty 1999 Sci-fi flick directed by Josef Rusnak also entitled The Thirteenth Floor (trailer): No, this is the only film Chris Roache has directed to date – and it isn't surprising, even if it is "Ozploitation". Paul, who must have been there on a surfing vacation, for he shows up as the character "Nick" in this tepid horror flick. Plot from imdb: "As a child, a girl witnesses her father electrocute a young boy. When she grows into an adult, the ghost of the murdered boy appears to her, and together they set out to expose the crimes of her father."
You can watch the whole film for free on YouTube here.

Demon Wind
(written & directed by Charles Philip Moore)

"We have beer, Coke, water and goat's milk."
Paul Hunt helped produce this mildly popular piece of flotsam. The plot description in accordance to the blog the enematic cinematic: "[T]wenty-something Cory (Eric Larson) reconnects with his old drunk of a father only to find him still babbling on about the devil and zombie demons that killed Cory's grandparents years ago...blah, blah, blah. After their awkward encounter, the old man kills himself perhaps out of shame or boredom. Cory then drags his girlfriend and a shit ton of his couple friends out to his grandparents old farm in butt-fuck nowheresville, Idaho (state undetermined) to find out if everything his dad talked about is true. Eventually he learns his grandparents dabbled in a little bit of witchcraft here and evil sorcery there and somehow this all came back to burn them, literally." This film lies in the "To Watch One Day" pile of A Wasted Life.
Of director Moore, Paul Hunt once said: "He's best known for shooting himself in the arm while cleaning his gun and probably one of the most negative people I have ever met. He hates himself more than anyone else that knows him." (See Twisted Nightmare above to learn Moore's opinion of Hunt.)

(1993, written & directed by Paul Hunt)

AKA October 32nd. PG crap co-scripted by Nick McCarty – there's a reason you've never heard of him. Paul Hunt's last directorial endeavor, as always a testament to his talent. He also appears in the film as the Mayor. The guy who played Merlin (Rodney Wood) never made another film after this – are we surprised? Cult actors Richard Lynch and James Hong sleep walk through the film, their careers unscathed – are we surprised? Fantastic Movie Musings & Ramblings explains: "A female reporter discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake, and she is destined to try to keep the magical sword from falling into the clutches of the evil Pendragon, the son of Mordred. [...] The action sequences are confusing and the storytelling is pretty rotten. Unless you're a big fan of Richard Lynch (who plays Pendragon) or James Hong (who plays the Lady's guardian Leong Tao and who should really shave those hairs on his left cheek), there's little reason to bother with this one."
The first 15 minutes for the masochists out there:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Timewsweep (USA, 1987)

At the end of the final film credits, there is a line that states that Tim, Dick, Harry and Jane – or whatever the surviving characters' names were – will be back in Timesweep 2, The Quesdrov Factor. And while the optimism of the filmmakers is admirable, it is more pleasing to know that the prediction proved false. There has never been a part two, and there probably never will be – indeed, Timesweep is the type of movie that never really deserved to be made, much less deserve a sequel. It's not just cheese; it's disgusting, stinky cheese – as in: the head cheese dripping from an unwashed turkey weenie.
The plot is a simple one: a bunch of faceless people of various ages get together to tour an old, deserted movie studio when there is a sudden flash of light and the fattest woman of the bunch is killed. In terror, everyone goes running this way and that. Locked in the building, now surrounded by an acid fog, they are confronted by killer cockroaches, killer zombie-like aliens, blood-thirsty savages, an ex-girlfriend, killer three-fingered hands, a giant hungry dinosaur head and other scary stuff. Crossing paths with a cop from 1968, they realize that they are all caught in a time warp. Why doesn't anyone say "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"?* Is there any means of escape? Who will survive? Do you really care?
The answer to the last question is a resound "no".
That first-and-last-time director Dan Diefenderfer was trying to make a campy, culty "bad" film is obvious; aside from referential names like "Roger Agar" and "Vincent Hill" and "Mike Romero", the warehouse walls are decorated with posters of classic "bad" films such as Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966) and Tarantula (1955 / trailer) and there is a running "gag" about the lost film London After Midnight (1927). But try what he may, Diefenderfer fails, and the sum of the whole seems less the final result of intentional ineptitude than real ineptitude: that the dull direction, third-rate acting, all-over-the-place script and truly inane dialog never achieves any level of apparent ability is forgivable, what is not is that it doesn't achieve any level of entertainment or manage to become interesting.
Much like the newer but equally disastrous warehouse-bound horror film Museum of the Dead (2004), Timewsweep also suffers greatly from its single-structure setting: the inordinately large cast of characters spends way too much time running back and forth, up and down, this way and that. Boring!
True, much of the cast does die gory deaths – the newscaster's death is fun for a startled jump, while the truly bloody gratuitous titty scene is the true highlight – but the cast as a whole is so faceless, the action and camerawork so lackluster, and the film so tedious that the mild highlights do little to make the viewing experience pleasurably memorable. Oddly enough, the script has so many "Huh?" moments in it that it virtually screams to be enjoyable as a turkey, but Timewsweep simply gets mired too deeply in its own mediocrity to flip over into total gonzo trashiness like, say Slugs (1988), Night Train to Terror (1985) or even Robot Monster (1953 / trailer).
Some bad films have that magic "something"; Timesweep doesn't. Hard to believe that anyone involved in this thing actually went on to do anything else in films...**

*The film was made in Kansas City.
**The actor playing "Vincent Hill", Kevin Brief, has had countless two-line appearances on TV shows as well as in flicks such as Visible Scars (2011 / trailer) and Midnight Movie Massacre (1988 / selected scenes). "Mike Romero", or rather Michael Cornelison, who had a career before Timesweep, can be seen somewhere in such films as Superstition (1982 / trailer), Lost in America (1985 / trailer), Mommy (1995 / trailer), Mommy II: Mommy's Day (1997 / trailer), Collapse (2010 / trailer) and Husk (2011 / trailer). The inside line in the industry is that he's to host next year's Oscars ceremony.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

R.I.P.: George Kuchar

George Kuchar
August 31, 1942 – September 6, 2011

One half of a set of twins, George and his brother Mike Kuchar shared a wonderfully warped aesthetic that they carried through film and art projects since the mid-1960s, when they first began gaining attention for their 8mm films in the underground film scene of NYC. Their early joint productions featured melodramatic flashes and campy narrative that that had more to do with Douglas Sirk than, say, Jonas Mekas or the initial exercises in visual boredom practiced by Andy Warhol. The campy B-movie aesthetic he favored influenced numerous directors who went on to achieve much greater mainstream fame, most notably John Waters, who was inspired by Kuchar's lowbrow productions to make his own. (Simply said, without Kuchar, there would be no – amongst other great films – Pink Flamingos [1972 / trailer] and no Desperate Living [1977 / trailer] – and the world would be a poorer place for it).
He and his brother made films both together and individually, but when George lost his commercial art job in 1971, he left NYC for a teaching post at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he remained until his death from prostate cancer on September 6th, 2011. An excellent draughtsman and painter, in San Francisco, George also got involved in the underground comix scene of the 70s. (His brother Mike is likewise an excellent artist, but his graphic output has remained decidedly homoerotic and tends to feature a notable obsession for bearded, muscular men with pacifier-like nipples, long foreskins and massive tools.)
In all truth, here at A Wasted Life we appreciate George Kuchar the filmmaker more for his influence than for most of the 200-plus films that he made over the course of his life. His production after leaving Manhattan tends, for us, to be too arty, banal, unstructured and full of the production itself to enjoy – see I, An Actress for clarification of what is meant. Be what it may, we will forever put him upon a pedestal, for without him there would surely never have been a John Waters, a David Lynch or a Guy Maden – not to mention two of my favorite underground films from the 70s, Thundercrack! and Screamplay, with which he took part.
George Kuchar, R.I.P. – and thank you for helping to enrich the world. Below, for your viewing pleasure, is a selection of his short films as well as short films from others and trailers to films he was involved in.

The Sins of the Fleshapoids
(1965, dir. Mike Kuchar)

Although directed by his brother Mike, George worked on the screenplay (uncredited) and also acted in this film, which, along with George's Hold Me While I'm Naked, is probably one of the most influential films of its time, helping to inspire untold numbers to make weird films themselves (see the John Waters quote at the end of this trailer, which I assume to be fan made.)

Hold Me While I'm Naked
(1966, dir. George Kuchar)

According to senses of cinema, "A film that has come to stand as one of camp's defining texts." The short tells the tale of an independent filmmaker frustrated in his attempts to make art. Shooting Down Pictures says: "This movie is just too good, too poignant, and often too painful to be applauded merely as being a jokey, campy satire on Hollywood aspirations and aesthetics."
Full short film:

Eclipse of the Sun Virgin
(1967, dir. George Kuchar)

Worldwide Celluloid Massacre says: "A more extreme and confusing short by the Kuchars with a seemingly LSD-inspired hodgepodge of images and symbols: Classical music, romantic love, self-love and narcissism vs. Catholic guilt and penance, fat women and pictures of mammoths, bodily functions, and gory footage of some surgery. What it all adds up to is anybody's guess."
Full short film:

The Craven Sluck
(1967, dir. Mike Kuchar)

More soap opera camp, this proto-John-Waters B&W short was directed and written by George's brother Mike. The plot, as explained by DVD Talks: "A bored housewife decides to kill herself. When the suicide attempt fails, she goes cruising for a new lover. She finds a young hipster in the park and they make plans for a rendezvous. But it appears elements both metaphysical and interplanetary are conspiring to keep her unhappy." Other key players in the film are Bob Cowan (in drag) and Florain Connors (from whom Divine stole her look) and George Kuchar's haircut.
Full short film:

Pagan Rhapsody
(1970, dir. George Kuchar)

Starring Jane Elford, Lloyd Williams, Bob Cowan. With Donna Kerness, Brad Bell, John Collyer, Dave Somerset, Janine Soderhjelm, Phillip Weiner. Comments made in the film: "Since this was Jane and Lloyd's first big acting roles, I made the music very loud so it would sweep them to stardom. [...] Donna Kerness was pregnant during her scenes but her stomach was kept pretty much in shadow and it's not noticeable. My stomach was the same as always except it contained more mocha cake than usual since that type of cake was usually around when I filmed in Brooklyn Heights. [...] Being that the picture was made in the winter, there are no outdoor scenes because it's too cold and when the characters have to suddenly flee a tense situation, it's too time consuming to have them put on a coat and gloves."
Full short film:

(1975, dir. Curt McDowell)

George Kuchar not only supplied the decidedly weird screenplay to Curt McDowell's 1975 B&W underground classic Thundercrack!, he also tackled the part of Bing, a man with a deep, unquenched love for an ape. Anyone who likes John Waters and silent films – or simply has a taste for strange films – will love this decidedly unique cinematic experience, providing they have nothing against naturally hairy bodies conducting hardcore pansexual actions. The closing scene is even riffed on in Planet Terror (2007 / trailer), in the scene where Quentin Tarantino's weenie begins to drag on the floor. An on-the-mark review of the film, which we had the pleasure of seeing in LA decades ago, can be found here at Shock Cinema. Cinema of the World has the following to say about this masterpiece of subversive cinema: "Thundercrack! is [...] subverts not only the entire 'grammar' of film, but an endless succession of Hollywood images, situations and clichés in the process. It even manages to satirize pornography; no mean feat when such images still retain their power to shock and unsettle some people! Using the familiar 'lonely-house on a storm-swept night acting as a safe haven for lost and confused travelers' scenario, (some chance!!), it explores the manners and mores of 'normal' society with such wicked wit that only the most puritanical would not be capable of responding. [The] entire cast and, it appears, crew, throw themselves into the venture without inhibition or qualm, and the result is Hollywood turned on its head, and all those previously 'hidden' and subliminal subplots exposed for what they really are. For broad-minded adults, a most amusing and entertaining tonic, showing perhaps, that even sex should not be taken TOO seriously."
Edited opening from Thundercrack!:

The Devil's Cleavage
(1975, dir. George Kuchar)

The same year that he participated in Thundercrack!, George directed his own feature-length underground film – featuring Curt McDowell, the director of Thundercrack!, in one of the main roles. Of the film, the LA Times said: "Throughout, Kuchar displays a kind of genius at making fun of the overblown cliches and distended figures of speech in old Hollywood dialogue." Rarely screened and rarely seen, it is distributed by Canyon Cinema of San Francisco, who quote Chuck Kleinhans: "... Douglas Sirk tells us, 'Cinema is blood, tears, violence, hate, death, and love.' Kuchar reminds us that cinema, like life, is also bedpans, earwax, sleazy fantasy, ineptness, compromise, and laughter." A few odd scenes can be found on the web, but no trailer. We've chosen the following one for no other reason than that it features one of A Wasted Life's favorite singers on the soundtrack.
Scene form The Devil's Cleavage w/Mrs Miller singing:

I, An Actress
dir. George Kuchar)
Watch George teach at SFAI.
Full short film:

Wild Night in El Reno
dir. George Kuchar)
An oddly mesmerizing interplay of images, sound and song.
Full short film:

The Mongreloid
(1978, dir. George Kuchar)

A man and his dog.
Full short film:

The Cage of Nicholas
(1992, dir. George Kuchar)

Starring Christopher Coppola – ever hear of him? – and his dog Scout, George Kuchar's 1992 short film was shot at Nicholas Cage's place. (Christopher Coppola, for those of you who don't know it, is Nicholas Cage's B-movie brother.)
Full (short) film:

Music video to Solstice
OK, this isn't a film, it's a music video... but ain't it cute? Music and lyrics by Andy Ditzler, video directed by George Kuchar.
(1985, written & directed & starring Rufus Butler Seder)
"Dear Mr. Weiner, Just a quick note to tell you that the killer is approaching me from behind and, by the time you read this I may very well be dead. It's all because of my screenplay! I'll try to explain as quickly as possible. It all started a short time ago when I first arrived here in... Hollywood."
Edgar Allen Poe (Rufus Butler Seder)

Rufus Butler Seder made only one feature-length film to date, this one, and what a film it is! God only knows why he has never made another on – probably because he makes more money marketing optical illusions (see his wares at his website, Like Thundercrack!, Screamplay is a definite underground production – but though it shares some of the aesthetics, it lacks the hardcore sex. Though bought up and released by Troma, this creative B&W flick is anything but a Troma film. As puts it, "Screamplay is possibly the best Troma movie you've never heard of." If you liked Thundercrack! or Forbidden Zone (1982 / trailer), then this film is for you!
Screamplay trailer:

Tomorrow Always Comes
(2006, dir. Jacob Burckhardt & Royston Scott)

Never seen the film, but we like the trailer. Kuchar appears brefily in the film as "Desk Clerk # 1". The full plot can be found at the film's website. Our edit: "It’s late in the 1940's, and New York City is full of shady characters – none shadier than Spade Slade, the dubious black private dick. [...] Blonde and beautiful Vivian Conners Jr. visits his office and asks him to find her mysteriously disappeared husband, the wealthy Basil Conners Jr. [...] Then Slade’s secretary is murdered, bitten by an exotic snake. Slade’s quest now takes him to a murky smoke filled shop in Chinatown, and then to the Rich Millionaire’s Club where he watches leggy chorines and suavely pumps the vivacious cigarette girl Rhonda Fonda for information. After trading punches, flirtations, and threats with a variety of hotel clerks, Slade finally discovers Basil's vermin infested room and the clue to his secret plan. [...] A shipboard slugfest and a blazing shootout in the engine room, dark secrets and cheap plot twists all lead our 'second rung nobody of a private eye' to the solution of another case, the reward money, and a roller coaster ride into the sunset with his best girl Rhonda Fonda."

Megaopolis 3000
There is no film to Megaopolis 3000, and there probably never will be. According to PIX Productions: "This entertaining project highlights the unique combination of art and video production exhibits Zeum provides to the San Francisco community. We created this promotional video-on-demand mock sci-fi 'B' movie trailer with artists-in-residence Spike and Jeff, the Zeum staff and Zeum's young visitors." George Kuchar makes an appearance in it, too. Who knows from what year this thing is.
Megaopolis 3000 (the Trailer):

It Came From Kuchar
(2009, dir. Jennifer M. Kroot)
Jennifer M. Kroot, a former student at the San Francisco Art Institute, made a documentary about her mentor and his brother in 2009. Bad Lit says: "The film is a treat for both Kuchar fans and novices alike." We haven't seen it yet, but would like to – it looks as as if it could be as good as Terry Zwigoff's Crumb (1994 / trailer).
It Came From Kuchar – Official Trailer:

(PS: For a few other Kuchar films not presented above – as well as many that are – go here to Ubuweb.)
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