Aug 31, 2014

Corruption (1983)

Undoubtedly, a multi-film collaboration between underground exploitation auteur turned nihilist pornographer Roger Watkins (The Last House on Dead End Street, Shadows of the Mind) and Hebraic porn chic leading man Jamie Gillis (Through the Looking Glass, Water Power) was a malevolent match made in celluloid hell. Naturally, this uniquely unsavory collaboration ultimately produced two of the world’s darkest and most unhinged, mystifying, and nihilistic fuck flicks ever made, which is saying a lot considering that they were made within an quasi-underground industry that is dominated by mostly degenerate and forsaken lost souls who make a living exposing their most sacred moments and body parts. Out of the two films that the mischievous movie men made together, Corruption (1983) and Midnight Heat (1983), the former is undoubtedly the greatest, sickest, and most provocative, as a sort morbid masterpiece of the late porn chic era. Watkins directed both films under the pseudonym ‘Richard Mahler’ (a somewhat ironic amalgamation of the names Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler), which indicative of the director’s love of classical music, which is also quite clear in Corruption. A ‘loose’ (and I mean LOOSE) reworking of Teutonic maestro Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold—the first cycle of the composer’s four-cycle Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”) opera Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876) aka The Ring of the Nibelung—that the director originally hoped would be three hours and more faithful to the source material, Corruption is probably the most wanton and wicked ‘Wagnerian’ flick ever made as a work featuring an Hebrew born on the same day as infamous Wagnerite Adolf Hitler in the lead role, a prissy porn actress reading a vintage copy of Cosima Wagner's Diaries: 1878-1883, and of course music from Das Rheingold. Needless to say, Watkins’ film is certainly more wicked than wanton, as a work that is more likely to inspire the viewer to shoot themselves than their wad. A fucked flick with truly filthy fucking that feels like an unholy marriage between the paranoia-addled labyrinths of Franz Kalka, the unhinged underworld lechery of David Lynch, and the politically incorrect urban nihilism of William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese, Corruption may be an aberrant adaption of Das Rheingold, but it really owes most of its soul-stabbing sensationalism to the sorry socio-political climate of the post-counter-culture era, as a work set in a world where there is not only no such thing as “free love,” but only the renouncing of love, and where sex comes at the price of one’s soul. Directed by a truly reluctant pornographer who had never seen a porn flick previously and who refused to direct the actual sex scenes, Corruption is a conspicuously corrupt piece of sleazy celluloid featuring ‘honorable’ businessmen selling their souls, seemingly Satanic Kalfka-esque whorehouses run by bitchy Wagnerites, treacherous Gothic top-hat-wearing necrophiles, and ungodly bastard brothers that reminds one that there is indeed such a thing as a cultivated hate-fueled fuck flick. The film also reminds one that the least interesting think about Jamie Gillis is his circumcised kosher cock, as he barely demonstrates his carnal knowledge in the flick yet it ultimately features the actor at his greatest and most strangely understated. 

 As stoic lead Mr. Williams (played Jamie Gillis in a role that seems to be modeled after the character Wotan, ruler of the gods, from Wagner's opera) states at the beginning of the film to a gangster named Mr. Franklin (Michael Gaunt), “I believe in business. I believe in honoring my contracts. I believe…without honor…all business becomes quite useless,” yet little does the businessman realize that business will ultimately lead to him entering a literally and figuratively dark realm of the sexually taboo and sensually meta-sadistic. Mr. Williams is involved in a dubious business deal with a dubious dude of the seemingly mafioso-oriented sort named Mr. Franklin involving a mysterious suitcase. While Williams half-heartedly claims that he loves his wife Doreen (Tiffany Clark) because she doesn’t ask for much (?!), he is completely obsessed with his spouse’s little sister, Felicia (Kelly Nichols), who he spies on masturbating. For a major business transaction, Williams makes the seemingly moronic mistake of sending his feeble-minded partner Alan (George Payne) to carry out the truly curious transaction.  Little does Williams realize that Alan will betray him and join the other side. Indeed, to carry out the transaction, Alan enters a subterranean whorehouse where the whores, who do not even show the slightest traces of empathy and love, force him to follow their debasing command.  Ultimately, Alan will come to the realization that he enjoys power and pleasure over purity and love as a result of his experiences at the semi-surreal brothel.  Alan will also come to the realization that he is an exhibitionist and necrophile who gets off to copulating with corpses, especially in front of men who he betrays.

 Upon first arriving at the building that Williams has sent him to where he is supposed to carry out some sort of unspecified transaction, Alan encounters a brazenly bitchy receptionist aka “Woman at Desk” (Samantha Fox) who mocks him while flipping through a copy of Romantic maestro Richard Wagner's wife Cosima Wagner’s diaries. Alan is told to enter a room where he meets a lingerie-adorned “Woman in Blue” (Tanya Lawson) who tells him to “do nothing” while she fiercely masturbates. Eventually the blue babe commands Allan to, “Come over here and smell my pussy,” which he naturally complies with like a good little passive boy. After provocatively stating to Alan, “There’s something nice about the smell of a cunt, isn’t there Alan? Something exciting…something forbidden. Just watch…Just sit there and watch me fuck myself,” the Woman in Blue reveals to the businessman that she is not going to fuck him because she has “given upon on men.” After Alan is asked if he could give up on women and “rely on nobody” but himself, the Woman in Blue is annoyed by his uncertain answer and tells him, “what you’re looking for is beyond that door.” In the next room, Alan meets a “Woman in Red” (Marilyn Gee) who tells him to “eat me,” which the beta businessman does with a sort of hesitant gusto. Of course, while the red woman gives him a blowjob, she ultimately refuses to give him an orgasm and says, “one more door Alan, one more room” just as he says “I’m cuming.” In the third and final room, Allan meets a “Woman in Black” (Tish Ambrose) who tells him that he must “renounce love” if he wants the thing that all men desire, which is “power.” After agreeing that he will renounce love, the Woman in Black states in a bitchy tone, “Well, come and fuck me.” When the two strangers make (anti)love, the “Woman in Black” seems both bored-to-death and exceedingly annoyed and when Alan is about to cum, she states in a contemptible manner, “don’t cum inside me,” so he busts on her bum instead. When Alan leaves the final hate-fuck session, he finds a suitcase waiting for him.  Of course, Alan, who has renounced love (and thus has become like the dwarf Alberich of Wagner's play, which has been described by kosher commie Theodor Adorno as a “negative Jewish stereotype”), has already made his decision to betray Williams.

 When Williams goes to meet his low-life quasi-midget criminal brother Larry (Bobby Astyr)—a superlatively swarthy and sleazy guy that puts the “Kosher Nostra” members of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) to abject shame in terms of innate repugnance and moral bankruptcy—at a strip club where the the strippers danced in a seemingly trance-like fashion like somnambulists on crack, he begins to realize the depth of the personal hell that he has gotten himself into. Like his (ex)comrade Alan, Williams is taken by little lunatic Larry through a pandemonium of pernicious perversion where he witnesses lurid lipstick lesbianism, gimp-themed S&M brutality, and even necrophilia. Indeed, while Williams finds the necrophilia so disturbing that he bangs on the door and screams, “Open this fucking door” at the guy fucking the corpse, his bastard ½ brother Larry finds the entire scenario to by rather hilarious.  Of course, the necrophile in question is Alan and he now only has contempt for Williams and his pansy second-rate businessman ways.  Meanwhile, Williams’ feisty sister-in-law Felicia is kidnapped by one of the leaders of the mafia group that the businessman did business with.  As a result of Alan's treachery, the mafia men never got what Williams promised them, thus they want revenge.  While the mafia pig anally pillages Felicia, he sadistically states, “Williams asked us to do his dirty work for him. We knew it was only a matter of time before we owned him. I guess he knew that too…otherwise he wouldn’t have sent that fool Alan on a man’s errand.” Not long after that, Williams’ bastard ½ brother Larry comes in and blows both Felicia and the raging rapist away, or so the viewer assumes (their deaths are not actually depicted). In the end, Williams' wife becomes a soulless whore (indeed, she acts more or less like the 'Woman in Black') and says to her hubby, “You know what I want? I wanna get fucked. Not make love. I wanna just fuck. Think you can accommodate?” Of course, since Williams is more in love with a prostitute named Erda (played by Vanessa del Rio in a role named after an “earth goddess” from Wagner's opera who warns Wotan of an impending doom), he does not really care that his wife has degenerated into a debauched whore. As the conclusion of the film reveals, Larry set up Williams from the beginning. 

 On top of being one of the most foreboding fuck flicks I have ever seen, Corruption also happens to be one of the most wonderfully cryptically incoherent, as a lecherously labyrinthine work that seems like Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973) meets Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) as directed by the world's most pernicious Wagnerite pornographer. Indeed, when everything is said and done, it is almost a cinematic tragedy that it is a mere porn flick, as the film shows elements of what could have been a cult masterpiece, especially if Watkins had been able to make the 3 hour erotic epic that he originally intended, as a true pornographic ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ would be nothing short of magical.  As anyone can tell by reading an interview with him, Watkins was a real lowlife and patent underachiever who wasted his life and artistic talent on drug addiction, so in a way, it was only natural that he become a pornographer. While Corruption is, in many ways, quite anti-erotic, I surely found it more sexually appealing than most blue movies, as the sinister sleaze element certainly equips the work with a sort of debauched danger that most similarly themed films lack, not to mention the fact the film has a certain debauched dream logic that is quite singular, especially compared to similar works.  A waywardly wanton and wicked de-Teutonized pornographic adaptation of one of Wagner's most revered works starring swarthy sensual Hebrews, Corruption is a fine aesthetic example as to why Oswald Spengler was probably not nearly as pessimistic as he could have been when foretelling Occidental decline.  Indeed, somehow Wagner and circumcised wieners seem like a curious combo.

-Ty E


LCSG said...

This ones a classic. BTW, if you`re interested, "Cafe Flesh 2" is even better than the original.

LC said...

It would be nice to see 'Jack the Zippers' entire ouvre reveiwed on here.