Nov 20, 2013

Drive (1974)

Over three and a half decades before mainstream Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn delicately assembled his 2011 synth-fueled neo-noir arthouse flick of the same name starring heterosexual alpha-twink Ryan Gosling, unrivaled ‘master of narrative gay porn’ Jack Deveau (Left-Handed, A Night at the Adonis) directed the avant-garde X-rated psychedelic fag fuck flick Drive (1974) starring a gigantic gay cast of no less than fifty longhaired cocksuckers. Not unlike Fred Halsted (LA Plays Itself, Sextool), Peter De Rome (The Fire Island Kids, The Erotic Films of Peter De Rome), Jacques Scandelari (Beyond Love and Evil, New York City Inferno) and more recently, Bruce LaBruce (The Raspberry Reich, Otto; or Up with Dead People) and Todd Verow (Frisk, Bottom X), Deveau—who had a background in architectural and graphic design and who got into the movie business after being convinced by his Sicilian-American sodomite actor friend Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause, Exodus)—was essentially an artist who made pornography, thus his cinematic works would ultimately hold up much better today than those of many of his sleazy celluloid contemporaries, with Drive being arguably his most accomplished celluloid work as a film that works best today as sadomasochistic camp of the radically raunchy retrograde sort. Featuring a rather vainglorious and psychopathic cock-castrating Candy-Darling-wannabe drag queen as the main villain who could be Marlene Dietrich's demented fag-hating fag grandson and who is conspiring to destroy the sex drive of every person alive (hence the film’s title, which is also a reference to the sports-car-loving hero), Drive is one of those oh-so rare and ridiculous gay porn flicks that is not only a peversely ‘penetrating’ piece of patently celluloid quasi-art, but a work of crudely and conspicuously corrupt black comedy, albeit of the cheesy science fiction sort. Part tribute to bad sci-fi b-movies from the 1950s, part degenerate dick-dangling disco cabaret show, part sodomy-saluting S&M dungeon debauchery, and part sass-saturated slapstick skin flick, Drive is the sort of insanely idiosyncratic celluloid work that needs to be seen to be believed, as a work that forever stays with the viewer no matter how much they would like to barf it out of their brain. A pre-AIDS, disco-digging dick-fest featuring double-fist anal penetration, debauched dungeon orgies, and decidedly disgusting drag queen histrionics, Drive is also a work of absolutely aberrant agitprop made when assaulting heterosexual America and establishing a sort of gay pride of the anti-bourgeois was vogue. Humorous homo hedonism from hell, Drive is like taking a bath in the contaminated sweat taken off the floor of a cocaine and popper fueled gay bar. 

 As the blonde drag queen villain Arachne (Chris Rage aka Mary Jim Sstunning) of Drive reveals in a long and drawn out sassy suicide letter/public service announcement right before putting a bullet in his/her makeup-adorned head, “Dear World: ARACHNE will tell you the truth because I am the only one that understands the truth. By the time the official version has been announced and interpreted by the press, the facts will be distorted beyond recognition. It is the duty of the few who hear the voice of truth to speak to the masses. The masses hear nothing. And so I speak to you. I will begin with a scientist…He invented the drug…A drug that terminated the sex drive. It was the government’s idea to misuse the drug for birth control in underdeveloped nations. I sent my men to capture this scientist for it was my idea to use the drug to liberate the world. Scientists will not listen and governments are too busy talking to hear. If I had been forced to deal only with the scientists it would have been simpler but there was another man. His name was Clark and he was one of those special agents that the government is so fond of employing. I have hidden cameras that give me access to the files the government keeps on men such as Clark. His file described him as intelligent and unquestioningly obedient. I thought he was quite beautiful. I began on work with one theme and a simple pattern and then, as circumstances allowed, I spun a more complex web. I am a rational person.” Indeed, without Arachne’s narrated confessional at the beginning of the film, it would be nearly impossible to follow what is going on in Drive, but plot and storyline are secondary in such a visually visceral and exceedingly extremist work that is nothing short of aesthetic terrorism of the foully frolicsome sort. 

 Aside from opening with Arachne’s nauseatingly narcissistic letter to the world, Drive also features a bloody montage of the psychopathic tranny grabbing the cock and balls of an unfortunate gentleman and slicing them off in a very careful and dainty manner with a kitchen knife. As Arachne reveals during the film, s/he was not always a creepy cock-chopper, but previously someone who longed for love in all the wrong horny men and has since then dedicated his/her life to masterminding a conspiracy to destroy all sex drives. When not perniciously plotting destruction, Arachne moonlights as a campy cabaret singer in a disco hall where horny homos hump each others' legs. Though seeming to lack even the most meager inkling of humor and humility, Arachne also is known to wear a gorilla outfit on stage. Using his/her less than androgynous minion Androgene (Peter Fersen), Arachne hopes to steal the liquid castration formula that will destroy all men’s sex drives, sinisterly stating, “I will have the formula… I will succeed. The world will remember Arachne…,” but rather unfortunately, a government secret agent named Clark (Kirk Luna) gets in the way. While attempting to steal the formula from its creator, Dr. Vincent Hardison (Sydney Soons)—a hippie-like degenerate who looks like a more gawky, zit-faced version of Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro—Arachne’s plans are thwarted, thus resulting in the death of one of his minions and a pole-smoking scientist. To relieve the stress of failure, Arachne fondles glass cases carrying castrated members s/he has carefully collected. In between cruising for cocks while driving around Manhattan in his red Lamborghini and engaging in full-force fisting in foggy gay bathhouses (even using government money to foot the bill!), Clark is on the glittery trail of Arachne. In the end, Clark find Arachne’s secret dungeon and stops the deranged drag queen before s/he can hack off a young twink's prick. Of course, with all the torture devices in the makeshift Milligan-esque dungeon, Clark makes sure to sexually service the tied up prisoners before freeing them. As for Arachne, s/he has more red liquid on his/her face after sucking on a handgun and pulling the trigger (rather unfortunately, one does not get to see the drag queen’s post-suicide facial). 

 A sort of celluloid missing link between Steven Arnold’s Luminous Procuress (1971), Women in Revolt (1971) directed by Paul Morrissey, Michael Kalmen's Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972), and Troma brand cinematic sleaze, Drive seems like nothing short of a filmic anomaly today as a work created during a time where they seemed to be an overlap between pornography and the avant-garde. The fact that Drive also features avant-garde pornographer Peter De Rome (Adam & Yves, The Destroying Angel) only adds to the film’s curious cult cred. Ultimately, Drive is the sort of film that Russ Meyer would never had the balls, nor the love of balls, to make. Of course, being a debauched hardcore flick, Drive is sometimes slowed down and aesthetically subverted by its explicit sex scenes, yet compared to the average fuck flick, Deveau has an uncommon balance between buggery and storyline, as if the director really wanted to make a cult flick, but found himself a little bit too infatuated with the ‘actors.’ Featuring melodic mono orchestral music and foreboding synthesizer-driven sci-fi-like sound effects, as well as Riefenstahl-esque trapeze artist imagery superimposed over semen-soaked sauna room orgies, Drive is like being thrown into director Deveau’s diseased brain and wondering if one is lost in a sort of pandemonium between homo heaven and Hades. Featuring a deranged drag queen who vomits at the sight of two sauna room sodomites ejaculating in unison and disco dick-suckers who live for unsafe promiscuity, Drive, aside from being too artsy fartsy, is far too politically incorrect to have been made in contemporary times as the sort of sodomy-sanctioning work created by proud poofs who had nil interest in getting married, joining the military, or any of the other culturally conservative cocksucker crap promoted by the LGBT propagandists in the mainstream media nowadays, which is just one of the various reasons why Deveau's work is worth checking out if you wallow in extremist cinema.

-Ty E

No comments: