One day, Angel gets a knock at the door from some strange fellow who wants to hire her to investigate the mysterious murder of Congressman White. Angel also learns about the billion dollar beef between FieldsCo and NAVCO and how both companies are competing to create a super weapon called the ‘BFW’ for the United States government. Eventually, Angel makes her way to the FieldsCo company bar and intentionally bumps into Tony Demmer, who she pseudo-seductively asks, “So, you wanna fuck or not?” as if she is god's gift to man (which she most certainly is not!). Of course, Tony wants to fuck, but his cockblocking cripple boss Field makes that impossible because every time the crude chauffeur goes in for the fuck, his boss calls and asks him to do something for him. A marvelously misogynistic man with a high strung heart of garlicky coal, Tony strangely begins to fall for fatso femme fatale Angel and even shows her his beloved pet Boa constrictor. Needless to say, being a virile Italian-American conman with the self-control of a rabid pit-bull, Tony eventually loses his cool, wastes his cockblocking cripple boss, and blows up the NAVCO company building with a super laser. Of course, Angel tries to stop him and when Tony yells to her, “Your brains are up your ass…you don't even know how to use that gun,” she eloquently responds by yelling back, “I'll blow your fucking head off.” After Angel loses control of her gun, Tony shows her his genetic talent as a born wifebeater and gives her a couple punches to the face. With his boss dead, Tony also manages to slip his prick into Angel via forced entry while the poor gal is semi-unconscious, but she inevitably awakes from her slumber and the goombah corporate gangster eventually loses his life after his true love electrocutes him and knocks him off a very high building.
As co-director Beth B stated in the somewhat recent documentary Blank City (2010) directed by Celine Danhier regarding the troubled production of Vortex, “That was the last film Scott and I made together and I think that it suffered because our collaboration was really not working, although it got a lot of attention.” Personally, I think Vortex is the best film Beth B and Scott B ever made together and that their deteriorating romantic relationship only added to the starkly stylized pessimism and misanthropy of the film. After Vortex, Beth B would go on to make what is arguably her ‘masterpiece,’ Salvation!: Have You Said Your Prayers Today? (1987) starring a relatively unknown Viggo Mortensen and his future wife/ex-wife Exene Cervenka of the Los Angeles punk rock band X. A highly sardonic satire of televangelism featuring an excellent soundtrack by New Order and Cabaret Voltaire, Salvation! is no less ‘punk’ in spirit to the films of the No Wave and, unlike most of the dimestore cinematic works of the NYC-based art movement, actually manages to rise above the level of totally tasteless pseudo-subversive juvenile celluloid swill. Indeed, while I do not regret watching Vortex, I have seen similar films (i.e. postmodern neo-noir punk work), like Betaville (1986) directed by Alyce Wittenstein, which manage to do much more in much less time. Indeed, ultimately, Vortex, not unlike Beth B’s subsequent features Salvation! and Two Small Bodies (1993), seems like a short film stretched out to an ungodly length. That being said, I must give Vortex some credit for being the only film I have seen featuring Lydia Lunch that did not inspire me to fantasize about herding corpulent feminist cunts into cattle cars and dropping them off in crack and AIDS-ridden black ghettos, which is certainly no small achievement!