Aug 24, 2014

Visions (1977)

Admittedly, surrealist operatic porn seems like a superlatively stupid and patently pointless concept, but then again it also sounds quite intriguing, especially if you’re a somewhat peculiar person like me who only watches old school blue movies for potential aesthetic value. As far as I know, the only somewhat operatic fuck flick that exists is the lost classic of lechery, Visions (1977) aka Larrys saftiga porrdrömmar directed by stage manager/director turned porn auteur turned ‘legit’ exploitation hack Chuck Vincent (Blue Summer, Roommates) under the curious Hispanic pseudonym ‘Felix Miguel Arroyo.’ While best known for humorous yet hot porn flicks starring sensual superstars like Veronica Hart, Samantha Fox, and Jamie Gillis, Vincent is best known for creating a seriously dark, phantasmagoric, experimental, and just plain bizarre feature with Visions, hence why he probably opted for using a pen name instead of his own, as it certainly does not seem like it was directed by the same pornographer. A sort of marginally melancholy heterosexual equivalent to Wakefield Poole’s avant-garde fag fuck flick Bijou (1972) as a mostly silent film that is largely set in a sort of pitch black pornographic pandemonium featuring giant genitals and phantom butt-fuckers, Vincent’s transcendentally salacious piece of celluloid has been described by some reviewers as the porn film you might expect Nordic Northern American auteur Guy Maddin to make, yet the film is far too serious and ‘sexually sound’ to have been directed by the incest and all-around-perversion-obsessed man that directed such idiosyncratic works as Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988) and Careful (1992). Indeed, one of the most intriguing things about Visions is that everything is played ‘straight’ and is never tongue-in-cheek, which is quite unusual for a man whose specialty is comedy-driven cumshots. Of course, like the equally artistically endowed auteur pornographer the Amero Brothers (Bacchanale, The Death of Scorpio), Vincent was a rampant homo who made rampantly hetero porn flicks during the great Golden Age of Porn aka ‘Porn Chic’ era. Indeed, a work featuring a fairy-like fellow with a prepubescent mustache performing cunnilingus on an extra-exotic flapper sitting on a swing juxtaposed to the potent yet hardly pornographic sounds of Richard Wagner’s “Die Walküre” aka “The Valkyrie,” as well as a watching passively as the ghost of his beloved wife sucks the cocks of jagged rock formations, Visions is a curious collection of vice-ridden Gothic and absurdist visions contained with tantalizing and oftentimes even tasteful tableaux that reminds one that there is oftentimes a rather thin line between art and pornography, for both typically wallow in ritual and fetishism. 

 Melancholy musical composer Larry (played by Wade Nichols of Armand Weston’s 1978 pornographic Oscar Wilde adaptation Take Off and Radley Metzger’s 1979 work Maraschino Cherry) cannot get over the tragic death of his lover (Susan McBain), so he spends all his free time composing music while imagining his wife dancing to his compositions. One night while practicing at a study, Larry is approached by a philosophizing Janitor (W.P. Dremak) who asks him if he does anything aside from practice like party. Of course, as Larry explains regarding his music, “this is my party.” After giving Larry a swig of liquor, the Janitor proceeds to get on his figurative soapbox and begins berating the composer’s work for its lack of soulfulness, stating in bastardized American English: “Larry…I’m gonna tell ya’ something. Your playin’ ain’t so hot. Oh now, you got all the notes right, but it’s empty…you lack mystery in your music…soul…you understand what I mean? You gotta get a life-force in it. All those longhairs had to do it, like that, uh, Beethoven fellow…didn’t he die of cirrhosis or syphilis or something like that? Yeah, and Mozart…MOZ-ART…now he was a wild one too. How do you think they wrote great music? By feeding great emotions! Did you ever fall in love with anybody? Really in love with them – more than yourself. I did.” After Larry once again sees a vision of his dead wife, he leaves the studio room to follow her, which makes the Janitor think that he has offended him with his harsh words, so he yells to the musicians, “I think you’re gonna be great one day. I really do.” When Larry enters another room, he bumps into two dorky looking burglars (David Christopher and Michael Thorpe) and is soon hit over the head and knocked unconscious by one of the goons, thus transporting him to a sexually surreal netherworld of gigantic genitals and operatic orgies. 

 After entering the sexually surreal underworld, Larry follows his sensual somnambulist-like lover through various rather risqué orgy rooms. After a long romantic rendezvous with his lover on a fur-adorned bed in what seems to be a cave which is lit up by hundreds of cameras, Larry loses his significant other after being temporarily woken up by the Janitor, who ultimately fails to fully revive him. From there, Larry enters a vice-ridden vaudeville-themed room featuring a cunt-licking Uncle Sam with a faggy frog mustache, a swing-riding flapper with exotic make-up, a midget ringmaster (played by Luis De Jesus aka ‘Mr. Short Stud’), a raunchy redhead, and a construction worker who looks like a member of the Village People. Although Larry does not really join in their somewhat sinister seeming sexscapades, he does get erotically embroiled in an angelic all-white orgy room where he is treated to a long session of skull-buggery, which is topped off with classic coitus. After suffering a heart attack after being checked by two dorky paramedics, Larry enters a hardcore hedonistic hell where he is tiedto a stake and is forced to witness the sadistic torture of the two burglars that hit him over the head by big black beastess and her equally cruel Caucasoid comrade. After one of the burglars faces death via medieval sword to the chest, Larry is set free by his captors and is reunited with his lover who takes him to a dark yet fiery room where they make love and are ultimately united forever. Indeed, while the Janitor yells to Larry’s corpse, “Larry, don’t leave us. You can make it,” the musical composer decides to stay with his love for eternity by accepting death. 

 Like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948) meets a heterosexual take on Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) with a splash of gentile vaudeville, Vincent’s Visions is not only a visually fantastic fuck flick that is more about phantasmagoria than frivolous fetishism, but is also a genuinely romantic porn picture that will most likely be more enjoyable to lovers than erotically-challenged losers who live with their grandmothers and are merely looking for a cheap and quick masturbation aid.  Indeed, more than anything else, the film seems like the most ambitious and desperate attempt of a real creatively repressed artist who is forced to make a living as a pornographer at truly expressing express himself.  Needless to say, as a work of celluloid art, Visions is a somewhat incoherent cinematic vision, but as porn, it is an unequivocal singular masterpiece that manages to reasonably successfully seamlessly combine poetry and pornography in a way that sometimes makes you forget that you're watching a woman sucking the cock of a rock.

-Ty E

1 comment:

LCSG said...

"As far as I know, the only somewhat operatic fuck flick that exists is the lost classic of lechery Visions (1977) aka Larrys saftiga porrdrömmar"

If you're interested, there was another one released in 2003. It's imaginatively titled Opera.