From Kenneth Anger’s homoerotic bike boy classic Scorpio Rising (1964) to Italian auteur Liliana Cavani’s tragic yet titillating S&M themed dark romance The Night Porter (1974) aka Il portiere di note to totally tasteless exploitation excrement like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975) to the Danish-Swedish skinhead-themed gay drama Broderskab (2009) aka Brotherhood starring popular Danish Thure Lindhardt, Nazis and Nazi imagery have more than proven their worth in terms of filmic fetishism, so it should be no surprise the shadow of Uncle Adolf’s 12-year-long millennial Reich would also darken the gay pornography world, especially in regard to the leather-bound sadomasochistic realm. Indeed, a typical yet somewhat standout example of this is the gritty fag fuck flick Boots & Saddles (1982), which is the third film of a four part tribute to gay porn icon ‘Scorpio’ by Cream of the Crop Entertainment that should not be confused with the 1975 homo hardcore flick by Zachary Strong of the same name. Directed by the sexually flexible pornographic auteur John Amero of the Amero brothers (Christopher Street Blues, Killing Me Softly) under the pseudonym ‘Francis Elise,’ this sub-low-tech porn piece depicts what happens when a bourgeois bitch boy falls prey to the decidedly depraved desires of a long-haired neo-Nazi lunatic with a foul fetishism for brutally beating strangers with big black dildos and raping the mouths beta-boys while posing in a Breker-esque fashion next to his beloved swastika flag. If Amero and his straight brother Lem (Checkmate, R.S.V.P.) somehow managed to turn New York City into a foreboding psychedelic Gothic nightmare for his masterful heterosexual experimental blue movie Bacchanale (1971), he opted to utilize the sleaze, slime, and true grit of the rotten Big Apple to give Boots & Saddles a rawer and more realistic vibe. Starring old school porn icon ‘Scorpio’, who previously starred in Amero’s morbid male-only chamber piece The Death of Scorpio (1979), as a sadistic neo-Nazi that cruises local gay bars for potential victims that he can bring home, tie up, and bugger in front of a large portrait of Hitler and a swastika flag, Boots & Saddles is surely a sicko classic that reminds the viewer that maybe William Friedkin was not that out of hand when he sparked protest with his absolutely savage sodomite slasher flick Cruising (1980). The closest thing to an urban gay revisionist western and the perfect companion piece to Friedkin’s Cruising, Amero’s film was made at a time when the gay porn industry had still had some testicular fortitude and was not afraid of scaring queens with depictions of unhinged masculinity. The most warped and sexually perverse reworking of the western genre since Neuer Deutscher Film alpha-auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder's underrated racially-charged work Whity (1971), Boots & Saddles certainly makes the few gay erotic westerns that exist like Song of the Loon (1970) seem like castrated sentimentalist celluloid swill.
Beginning with a shot of a pair of Gestapo-esque boots sitting in front of a white background, Boots & Saddles—a film that borrows its name from the name of the bar that the characters regularly ‘cruise’ for urban cocksucking cowboys—then cuts to an shot of sadomasochistic gay neo-Nazi ‘Karl’ (Scorpio) walking down a New York City street while sporting a maroon bomber jacket (the typical ‘uniform’ of neo-Nazis), black leather boots, and a National Socialist iron cross necklace. Indeed, for whatever reason, Karl has a rare “Spanish Cross” aka “Spanienkreuz” in silver, which was awarded to German troops who participated in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the nationalist general turned Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Somewhere, not far away, an effete bourgeois type from Albany named ‘Bob’ (Chip Kingsley) visits the apartment of a female business associate, but as he learns from her exceedingly extroverted neighbor Jack Wrangler, who is outside sweeping in an uncommonly jubilant fashion, the woman moved away three months ago. When Bob asks Wrangler where he can get some “good Irish coffee,” he says, “yeah, right up stairs,” and then the two proceed to dine upon one another’s bodies upon entering the rather messy flat. While the two men share oral pleasure via 69, fuck, and cum again, Bob freaks out when he finds a letter while looking for matches sitting around the apartment revealing that his new joy boy has a venereal disease. When Wrangler asks him if he found the matches, Bob replies in a bitchy fashion, “I sure did. Thanks for nothing, I hope” and then proceeds to run out of the apartment in fear that he might have contracted an STD. Ultimately, Bob decides to head to a gay bar called ‘Boots & Saddles’ where he will inevitably meet a menacing psychopath with a fetish for swastikas, iron crosses, and bound boys.
While hanging out the bar, Bob watches as the Bartender’s hustler boyfriend (played by Roy Garrett) enters the bathroom followed by a cocksucking cowboy who proceeds to suck him off to the fitting sensual sounds of “Like an Eagle” by gay porn star turned disco singer Dennis Parker aka Wade Nichols. Naturally, the Bartender gets rather pissed by his Hustler’s boy toy’s “riding” of the cowboy and complains to him, “Listen, you dumb bitch…where do you get the balls to fuck around right in front of my face? When we moved in together, we agreed that you would hustle and I would bartend. Well, your ever faithful lover wants a piece of it and he wants it now!” Indeed, the Bartender and Hustler go up stairs and bang next to a bunch of boxes of Heineken beer. Eventually, Scorpio arrives at the bar and wastes no time cruising Bob and coercing him to come back to his apartment with him. Despite the fact that he thinks he has probably just contracted an STD, Bob has no problem blowing Scorpio. Meanwhile, Wrangler calls around looking for Bob and discovers that he was spotted at the Boots & Saddles bar. When Wrangler arrives at the bar and asks about Bob, he learns from a bartender that he left with “that crazy one with the cross.” After complaining that “Karl…that fucking Nazi” has taken his beloved new beau Bob, he naturally makes his way to the fag Führer’s swastika-adorned apartment.
When Bob notices the portrait of Hitler and the Nazi flag that are hanging in Scorpio’s apartment wall while being sucked off by the sadistic would-be-SS-man, he complains, “You know, I don’t feel so good. I think I better go” and attempts to make his great escape, but he does not get far. After telling Bob, “You’ll leave when I’m through with you and not a moment before,” Scorpio handcuffs his victim to a chair and forces him to fellate him while he wallows in pleasure and glory next to his swastika flag. To the grating sounds of Marlene Dietrich singing in German, Scorpio perniciously penetrates Bob’s man-cunt. After blowing his load on a meager untermensch, Scorpio begins beating Bob with a giant black dildo (!) and states to his victim in a sinister fashion, “this should help you get your rocks off.” Of course, Wrangler soon shows up at the apartment and yells, “open up you twisted bastard!,” while beating on Scorpio’s door. After breaking down the door, Wrangler knocks out Scorpio, calls him a “twisted bastard” again, and rips his swastika flag off the wall, thus causing a fire to start when the flag lands on a candle (since Scorpio is a sadistic creep, he likes to have tons of candles lit while ritualistically raping men in an almost satanic fashion). When Scorpio becomes conscious again, he gets in a physical struggle that results in his balls and bunghole being burned. Ultimately, Wrangler handcuffs and leaves him in the middle of his apartment so that his landlady will find him. As a completely humiliated would-be-Übermensch who has been beaten and defeated, Scorpio cries out, “Mein Gott” in German. In the end, Bob and his hero Wrangler discuss living with one another. Indeed, as it turns out, the chivalrous Wrangler apparently no longer has a STD and only kept the letter as a “souvenir.”
While depicted as a brutal ‘blond beast’ of the savagely sexual and marvelously masculine sort in Boots & Saddles and various other fuck films, Scorpio was apparently an effeminate mamma’s boy in real-life who worked as a hair stylist after retiring from porn. Of course, Scorpio was also as far from a National Socialist as a person could be, as a sort of gay chauvinist who even refused working with “gay for pay” porn stars, as demonstrated by his remark, “I'd rather work with a complete gay cast, instead of straights. I don't like straight people in a gay film. I want someone that's going to reciprocate. I don't need a 'do-me queen.'” As he described himself in the documentary Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon (2008), Jack Wrangler was a quarter Jewish (his paternal grandfather was a Jew) and he somewhat identified with his Judaic side, thus his role in Amero’s film as a heroic character who saves his beloved from a nefarious neo-Nazi and then literally burns the balls and buttocks of said neo-Nazi had more personal significance to him. In fact, that is not the only way the film had personal meaning for Wrangler, as his half-Jewish father Robert Thurston Stillman was a Hollywood film and TV producer who produced a western-themed TV series called Boots and Saddles (1957-1958), hence the assumed tongue-in-cheek origin of the title of Amero’s film, as well as its unconventional use of genre conventions. Indeed, any John Ford would know almost immediately upon watching Boots & Saddles that is a sort of wanton reworking of the western genre, albeit set in urban NYC instead of the rural Wild West and featuring neo-Nazis instead of Indians as villains. After all, one of the main settings of the western genre is a saloon, which is largely where Amero’s film is set. Of course, the appearance of a rowdy and raunchy urban cowboy who uses a hustler like a cowgirl, Boots & Saddles also gives a cynical nod to John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy (1969). With its curious cocktail of Nazi leather-fags, gay disco music, hustler-humping cowboys, men with mustaches, and seedy gay bar inhabited by rugged men, Amero’s film features a virtual catalog of vintage gay stereotypes and clichés, thus making it mandatory viewing for any self-respecting fan of porn chic era fuck flicks.