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 »
A soundtrack plays folk rock as a woman prepares, at noon, to take her Borzois for a walk. She goes through her dresses, all 1920's style flapper gowns, holding them one at a time, shaking ... See full summary »
From a murky landscape, a wooded mountain emerges. We watch the sun. We see a bearded man climbing up the mountain through the snow. He carries an ax, and he's accompanied by a dog. His ... See full summary »
A solitary flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook: discordant images a woman sees as she comes home. She naps and, ... See full summary »
Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be ... See full summary »
A man fondles objects, looks at himself in the mirror, poses in different clothes, smiles and makes faces at the camera while his voice on the soundtrack speaks of his despair, makes ... 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
There are thirteen different songs on the soundtrack, all U.S. pop songs that were popular in the 1959-1964 period. Contrary to rumor, their use in this film was not "unlicensed." Kenneth Anger hired an attorney to get the legal rights to use all thirteen songs in a short-subject film. He paid a total of about $8000 (slightly over $50,000 in 2007 dollars) for all the music rights, around twice as much as the rest of the film cost him to make. It has been a good investment, because "Scorpio Rising" has consistently been his most popular and most rented film over the years. See more »
One of Kenneth Anger's most popular and thematically accessible short films, "Scorpio Rising" consists of a series of montage images overlain by thirteen pop songs of the early 1960s. The film expresses nonconformist themes that herald the onset of the American counterculture movement. As the visuals focus on a group of New York City motorcyclists, viewers perceive a bohemian lifestyle, a nihilistic subtext, elements of erotica, and an amusing sense of irony from the juxtaposition of images and music.
There is no plot, no dialogue, no sets, no acting. Anger simply records on camera what he finds as he happens onto these bikers, who are not actors. Sans music, the film could easily be thought of as a polished home movie. It conveys a sense of realism and frankness. Cinematography is somewhat grainy; colors are muted. There are many close-up camera shots, and quite a few extreme close-ups.
The music gives thematic depth to the images and imposes varying moods and feelings, not the least of which is nostalgia, along with melancholy, lost childhood, rebellion, humor, and just a hint of fatalism. Probably one of the better sequences is the Bobby Vinton recording of "Blue Velvet" recorded over images of a couple of young guys who don their biker uniforms. A sequence or two in the middle seems either unnecessary or out of place. Editing is a bit fast and erratic in the second half.
Prospective viewers should expect the unexpected, given that "Scorpio Rising" is a 1960s underground film. It is definitely different. This is one of several that Anger made, all experimental. In retrospect, he can be thought of as a poetic visionary whose cultural influence is still being felt in the 21st century, especially in cinema.
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