Oct 19, 2008

Scorpio Rising


Kenneth Anger’s experimental short Scorpio Rising is a camp masterpiece that was a hit on the underground film circuit. Anger proved that cultureless America was also capable of art at a time when degenerate hippies were about to start spreading around America like cancer. Scorpio Rising is also a real camp film, a film full of homoerotic ambiguity (or not so)that brings the viewer into a confusingly powerful world. Now the word “camp” is thrown around by ignoramuses that think anything silly is worthy of the word. As Jean Cocteau said of camp, "it is the lie that tells the truth.”


Scorpio Rising beings with a biker massaging his motorcycle parts like they are sensitive human parts. The bikers featured in Scorpio Rising seem to worship their bikes just as much as Kenneth Anger worships the bikers. With Scorpio Rising, it becomes apparent why he’s a fan of Marlon Brando in the rebel biker gang classic The Wild One. Kenneth Anger obviously feels that the motorcycle reflects male sexual potency, power, and indestructible horsepower energy. Anger made sure that his name and the film's title were plastered on the back of a biker's leather jacket for a reason.

Kenneth Anger, like the greatest of filmmakers, is a shameless voyeur using the film medium as an outlet for his deepest of obsessions. Scorpio is a biker with a cramped room surrounded by his many obsessions. Above his bed is an old school SS totenkopf flag. Scorpio also makes sure to have pictures of James Dean plastered around his cat friendly room. On his TV screen, The Wild One is unsurprisingly playing. Not only does Scorpio have a picture of James Dean riding a motorcycle, but he is also a member of the James Dean memorial foundation. Kenneth Anger dedicated a not so flattering chapter to Dean in his controversial book Hollywood Babylon II.


Scorpio is an Aryan blond beast that casually lights up cigarettes as a display of phallic power. He also happens to sport Nazi regalia and the swastika can also be seen throughout Scorpio Rising. After all, the swastika is the ultimate symbol of white (Aryan to be exact) aesthetic domination. Kenneth Anger sees the Nazis as a group that proclaimed “we are the best because we look the best.” Hitler also makes an appearance as he was probably the most powerful homosexual ever. Lothar Machtan’s book The Hidden Hitler makes a great case for the fuehrer's questionable sexuality. Jesus is also featured cut in with footage of Scorpio strutting down the street. It is apparent that Scorpio has much more flare than the rebellious 'King of the Jews.'


Scorpio Rising
is one of the greatest cinematic art pieces of American film history. That being said, if the general public saw it, it would also be one of the most hated. Scorpio Rising is full of so many powerful taboos that I am sure Mr. Crispin Hellion Glover took notes from it during his preparation for the making of What is it? Kenneth Anger effortlessly proves that cinematic power lies not in how much money is pumped into the film, but the mastermind behind the art. If only Scorpio (or Zombie Scorpio) had his only feature length film. Maybe the elderly Kenneth Anger is still up for it?


-Ty E

1 comment:

Keith said...

I've heard of this film, but never had a chance to see it. You've definitely sparked my interest. I'll have to see if I can check it out.