An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this ... See full summary »
An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this underground film by cult director Anger. Written by
According to Kenneth Anger, Scorpio is the zodiac sign that rules both the sex organs and machinery, so it seemed like a good choice for the title. "Rising" implies the astrological term "ascendant." See more »
The film turns out to be a riff on the gay fetish for black leather - and all the imagery/rites associated with it.
The Black Leather scene - certainly in the 60s - was very codified, and incorporated drugs (much like all gay culture at the time).
The songs chosen have, no doubt, much appeal to the gay community of the time ("Heat Wave" is also heard in "Boys in the Band), most of them citing lustful love from a female point of view.
There are coy/blatant references to water sports, anal rape, fisting and "pussy" (in the form of an on screen cat).
Anger's black leather queens doll themselves up in leather gear which is uber-accentuated with studs and other forms of steel (no real bikers ever wear that stuff). This is then intercut with footage of genuine, presumably str8 biker clubs (note the motorcyclers in the exterior shots - those racing each other - do not sport all the "accessories" that the black leather queens do, but, rather, "simple" black leather jackets, besides which, the biker clubbers actually seem to be wearing SHIRTS under their jackets - as opposed to the leather queens who do not).
There is also plenty of idolization of James Dean and Marlon Brando, two movie stars who, in addition to having gained fame as young punks who wear leather jackets, were also two of the most sexually-ambiguous male stars of their time. Anger, having grown up in Hollywood, might even have known men who slept with Dean and Brando! The whole Jesus/male-bonding thing is ingenious. As for the references to Hitler, well, perhaps Anger was Jewish and put Adolf in there to make it seem as if the life of a black leather queen is one which continually lived on the edge, always testing limits to see how far can go beyond them. Or maybe Anger was simply citing irony in the persecution of gays during the Third Reich compared to the subsequent gay American leather culture of the 50s/60s which is grounded in the role-playing of bondage and domination.
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