Sep 15, 2013

Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please?

For his just-under-30-minutes short Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? (1999), Berlin-based bad boy buggerer auteur Rosa von Praunheim (Army of Lovers or Revolt of the Perverts, Your Heart in My Head) returned to his low-camp cult roots, albeit Americanizing and Christmasizing it in the process in what amounts to a softcore cannibal Christmas special of the hopelessly hokey Golden Age Hollywood homage variety. A rare Rosa von Praunheim narrative flick shot in English in Los Angeles, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? has the grand degenerate distinction of featuring mostly-gay American porn star Jeff Stryker (Jamie Loves Jeff, Zombie 4: After Death)—a meaty moron of a man who had his member immortalized via the “Jeff Stryker Cock and Balls” dildo (apparently, the pseudo-cock made headlines when Stryker and the manufacturer of the item litigated for the rights to its likeness as part of the porn star's “intellectual property”)—as he dreams his way through American history, bumping into Marilyn Monroe and turning into German expressionist master auteur F.W. Murnau, among various other wacky things. Also featuring von Praunheim’s real-life aunt Luzi Kryn, who starred in the director’s first hit cult flick Die Bettwurst (1971) and its sequel Berliner Bettwurst (1975), Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is also a fucked ‘family affair’ of sorts that climaxes with a curious Christmas feast of the cock-chopping and limb-licking persuasion that reminds one why porn stars, hustlers, and hunks are always referred to as ‘meat’ and nothing much more. Produced by Regina Ziegler, whose creative relationship started with von Praunheim when she helped with Die Bettwurst and produced its sequel Berliner Bettwurst, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is essentially a micro-sequel to the original Bettwurst films, or as stated at, “Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? bears all the earmarks of a consummated trilogy: a kinky, ribald, diverting, hilarious Erotic Tale. And not a moment too soon, for it was the last screen appearance of the nonagenarian Luci Kryn.” Apparently, the co-star of Die Bettwurst and Berliner Bettwurst, bitchy blond twink Dietmar Kracht, made a failed attempt at swimming Lake Havel one night, therefore a true sequel never could have been made, thus Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? offers something quite different and all the more psychopathically comedic and senselessly scatological. Produced as part of Regina Ziegler’s Erotic Tales—a multi-volume series of sexually-charged shorts directed by master auteur filmmaker’s from around the world, including Ken Russell, Bob Rafelson, and Nicholas Roeg—Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is a short and sick depiction of a sexually and racially eclectic collective of cannibals, including everything from negro trannies and leather-fags to bitchy little girls and latina midgets, who all want a piece of Jeff Stryker's meatrack. 

 Opening with the off-screen narration from a German-born hotel owner (Karl-Heinz Teuber) stating quite jollily, “Christmas…is a feast of love and food but we had no idea whom to eat this year. We didn’t care about gender or race or age. We were open-minded and tolerant but we hated bad food. All the club members in our little family hotel had agreed on a special test…Only our fantasies could decide whether someone was just a piece of meat or really perfect for the main course. This time we only want the very best and we prayed and prayed he would come along in time,” Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? then introduces porn star Jeff Stryker, who has just arrived in Hollywood via bus and walks by a building with iconic movie stars like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, James Dean, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, etc. painted on it. The first thing Stryker does after arriving in Los Angeles is bumping into a girl on rollerblades who dreams of licking blood off his muscle-bound body. After the rather bizarre run-in with the ravenous roller-girl, Stryker heads to a hotel and is hypnotized by its kraut owner who warns him, “And if you’re not a good boy, you will get German discipline” before showing him to his room. Not long after, Stryker becomes JFK and has a dreamy bedroom date with a Marilyn Monroe clone straight out of Nicholas Roeg’s Insignificance (1985), but being gay, he turns her down for sex. Next, Stryker goes on a dream date with the Hotel Owner’s elderly mother Lucy (von Praunheim’s aunt Luci Kryn) and she has him go pick her up some Christmas items, including German sausage, but on the way back he runs into a big black buck leather-fag of the high yellow persuasion, who dreams of having a faggy married bourgeois life with the cracker cocksucker that revolves around yappy American Eskimo dogs and complaining at dinner like a nagging house wife. After an earthquake, Stryker loses consciousness and before he knows it, he dreams of a busty blonde masseuse (Sirena Irwin, who acts as the voice of Mrs. SpongeBob of SpongeBob SquarePants), who the porn star tells “I do have an oversized enlarged organ” after she asks if he has any muscle problems. Indeed, in terms of dialogue alone, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is not much more than a softcore porn flick, albeit of the aberrant-garde variety. 

 After his rough erotically-charged massage with the masseuse, Stryker goes on a date with a Hispanic chick in a debauched guided tour of Hollywood in a hearse, where the driver shows places where star actors died and/or got busted for sex crimes. Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s dubious anecdote from his tabloid masterpiece Hollywood Babylon (1959) told by the creepy tour guide, Stryker imagines himself as German master auteur F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans) dying in a car accident after a sexual mishap involving giving his 14-year-old Philippine servant driver a blowjob. The tour guide describes how Murnau’s death was a tragedy as the director could have potentially directed a sequel to his masterpiece Nosferatu (1922) entitled Nosferatu II: Going Down for the Count were it not for his tragic premature death. Later that day, Stryker is approached by a terribly hungry little girl who bites his arm and runs away like a wild animal and immediately after, a black tranny named Vaginal Davis dreams of licking whipped cream off the porn star’s toes. After taking a shower in a scene where Rosa von Praunheim gets to show off his film's star's meat, Stryker receives a curious phone call from Mexican midget Selene Luna (Firecracker, My Bloody Valentine 3D), who fantasizes about the sexual athlete washing her car. After all his odd encounters with the many eclectic perverts around Hollywood, Stryker is invited to a Christmas feast by the Hotel Owner. When Stryker arrives, he runs into all the perverted people he had met previously that day and it is declared “A Christmas miracle” by said perverts, and before he knows it, the Midwestern meatrack is laying on the dinner table and being covered in disgusting and grotesque neon-colored sauces. Before chowing down, the Hotel Manage declares, “Dearest friends and club members…And as you all know WE ONLY EAT WHAT WE LIVE; isn’t that right?! We believe in the beauty of human nature and with that in mind, I would like to propose a toast. Will you all please raise your glasses to human nature.” After that, Stryker’s body parts are eaten by his new friends, with little latina Selene Luna chewing on his exaggerated wiener and the Hotel Owner eating his eyes, but an earthquake puts a stop to the La Grotesque Grande Bouffe and the porn star wakes up, realizing it was all a dream. While sunbathing poolside at the hotel, Stryker is served giant sausages by a young twink waiter, who asks him: Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? 

 A sort of strikingly stupid and scatological Sunset Boulevard (1950) meets Paul Morrissey’s Heat (1972) made in the style of the Grand Guignol and pre-Hollywood John Waters, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is a sexually aberrant and sardonic film of the killer kitsch cannibal variety that wastes no time in associating the human body and sexual subversion with a sort of natural cannibalism that is not only to be practiced, but celebrated. Essentially, the film glorifies and ‘takes ownership’ of the age old Christian libel of associating homosexuality with cannibalism, thereupon making Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? a satirical cinematic platter of poof political incorrectness that is bound to offend more high-strung homos and provide great propaganda for the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Of course, director Rosa von Praunheim did not stop his interest in camp cannibalism with Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? as he followed up the work with the macabre low-budget melodrama Your Heart in My Head (2005) aka Dein Herz in meinem Hirn, a nasty bit of digital video diarrhea funded with German government tax money that is loosely based on the life and times of real-life German cannibal Armin Meiwes. Around the time he was making Your Heart in My Head, von Praunheim admitted he had been studying cannibalism for over 20 years, stating regarding his interested in the Meiwes case, “What interests me is the gay aspect and that it's also about sadomasochistic experiences.” In an interview he did with the regarding cannibalism and Your Heart in My Head, Praunheim stated, “I don't know if it will shock people. People tend to react with disgust on the one hand and curiosity on the other. We always say I love you so much I could eat you,” and, indeed, “I love you so much I could eat you” is essentially the main theme of Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please?, though the director seems to mistake love with sleazy sex and fetishism, which is certainly an apt way to describe homosexuality. That being said, gay porn star Jeff Stryker made the perfect star of Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? as his greatest talent is being a piece of high dollar meat on display who is respected more for his cock and carnality than his character and creed.  Not exactly Fred Halsted's vision of Los Angeles, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is essentially Jeff Stryker plays himself for the pleasure of perverts everywhere.  A film that will undoubtedly be more of interest to Troma and cult movie fans as opposed to queenish fanbois of Queer as Folk, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please? is also probably the most unwaveringly depraved and morally intemperate Christmas-themed film ever made, even making slasher Santa flicks like Christmas Evil (1980) and Silent Night, Deadly Night seem tame by comparison, though it makes for a great double-feature with Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974), which features Warhol Superstars, homo-auteur Jack Smith (Flaming Creatures, Normal Love), and Tally Brown, the latter of whom von Praunheim directed a documentary about entitled Tally Brown, New York (1979).  A patently pun-possessed piece of prepubescent-minded celluloid perversity, Can I Be your Bratwurst, Please? ultimately makes for a rancid raspberry dessert of thematically 'cocky' and aesthetically cannibalistic celluloid culinary art that tastes repulsive going in and leaves a bad aftertaste, yet is still unforgettable nonetheless.

-Ty E

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