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Scorpio Rising (1964)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,734 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 31 critic

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 »

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Title: Scorpio Rising (1964)

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Ernie Allo ...
Joker (uncredited)
Bruce Byron ...
Scorpio (uncredited)
Frank Carifi ...
Leo (uncredited)
Steve Crandell ...
Blondie (uncredited)
Johnny Dodds ...
Kid (uncredited)
Bill Dorfman ...
Back (uncredited)
...
Jesus Christ (archive footage) (uncredited)
John Palone ...
Pinstripe (uncredited)
Barry Rubin ...
Fall Guy (uncredited)
Johnny Sapienza ...
Taurus (uncredited)
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Storyline

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 <cl_navarro@infonie.fr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1969 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Scorpio rising  »

Box Office

Budget:

$16,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The party in the "Party Lights" sequence was actually the annual all-night Halloween party of the motorcycle club he was following, held in a Brooklyn garage. Kenneth Anger's contribution was four kegs of beer for the revelers. According to him, he staged nothing, but just brought in some lights and "filmed it like a documentary." Although the party looks completely all-male and gay, in fact all of the bikers were heterosexual and had girlfriends, who were present at the party but whom the young men did not want to have filmed. So all of the young women stood behind the movie camera, watching and giggling as their boyfriends carried on, pretended to be homosexuals, and in one or two cases wore drag clothes (i.e., dressed as women). Kenneth Anger has never been sure how much of the rowdy homo-erotic horseplay he caught on his film was natural joking around and how much was the result of him being there with his camera. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: Damien Darko (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

He's a Rebel
(uncredited)
Written by Gene Pitney
Performed by The Crystals
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User Reviews

 
Simply put, one of the most important pieces of cinema ever made
17 April 2006 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

As another reviewer stated, this is as revolutionary a film as "Breathless". While there was certainly innovation in the 60s mainstream cinema, a lot of groundbreaking went ignored. Some of the most important and innovative films of the time were made in the underground. Films such as "The World's Greatest Sinner", "Scorpio Rising", and "Flaming Creatures" presented images that Hollywood wouldn't dare show for many years, used filming techniques that were inaccessible yet innovative and made the most of the film medium, and touched upon themes that would still cause controversy even today. Warhol's films of the same period were also innovative, yet are incredibly boring and worthless as films themselves. "Scorpio Rising" employs many original film-making practices and is captivating for the film's brief duration. The latter can not be said for Warhol's films. If the film was full-length, it would become dull and repetitive. However, Anger is a filmmaker of intelligence, and manages to say all he wants to in little over a half-hour.

One of the most creative and new ideas the film had was to use pop music (unauthorized of course) for ironic moments. Through out the film, the images are visceral and assaulting on the senses, with brill-building pop tunes in the background. For instance, "Blue Velvet" is used to show a homo-erotic shot of a biker wearing blue velvet. Another interesting aspect of the film is the constant homo-eroticism. Anger questions the camaraderie of the bikers. They are shown engaging in activities that question their sexuality. The party scene is the biggest example of all this.

The budget of this film is non-existent, and with a few examples of background sound, there is no dialog. All Anger needs to convey his point is the images. The film stock is grainy, but it all adds to the underground atmosphere of the film. Also, he takes footage from "The Wild One" and a cheap religious film. The incorporation of the Jesus walking with his disciples footage with the bikers going to the party had me on the floor. Quite frankly, it was one of the most amazing sequences I had ever seen in a film. Also, the use of Nazi imagery was quite shocking yet like all other elements of the film it managed to blend in. The film accumulates with what seems to be a race and a subsequent suicide of a biker, all set to "Wipe Out".

Film is an art form, and you don't need resources to create an amazing film. This short proves that point. Despite all the experimentation, the film is accessible, and is a recommended started point to anyone interested in 60s underground cinema. It should be as much a mainstay for college film courses as for midnight movie showings. The cult following this short has gained proves that fact. It is one of the greatest cult classics and experimental films of all time. For sheer vision, it's hard to beat this. Due to the unauthorized use of popular music, it is commercially unavailable. However, bootlegs do lurk around, and see it if you are ever presented with the opportunity. It is the greatest short film I've seen, and is highly recommended. I can't say enough good things about the film, so I'll just leave you with this - see it. (10/10)


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