Sep 5, 2014
Although very few of his fans seem to realize this, avant-garde cine-magician and devout Thelemite Kenneth Anger's (Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Kustom Kar Kommandos) imperative influence on early ‘porn chic’ era gay hardcore flicks is unquestionable. Indeed, starting with his first major work Fireworks (1947), which resulted in the director being arrested on obscenity charges in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of California, to the homoerotic sadomasochism of Scorpio Rising (1953), which also went to the California Supreme Court and was protested by Yankee Führer George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party for purportedly disgracing the National Socialist party swastika flag, Anger’s oneiric and oftentimes orgasmic oeuvre more or less acted as both the aesthetic and thematic prototype for some of the best fag fuck flicks ever made. As belated exploitation cinema expert and historian Bill Landis wrote in his Anger angering work Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger (1995)—a rather incriminating and wholly worthwhile book that offended the American underground auteur so much that he put a curse on the author (interestingly, Landis died unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2008 at the premature age of 49, so maybe the curse actually worked)—regarding the cinematic trend that was pioneered by the celluloid semen demon: “In a less academic realm, the homosexual pornographic cinema Anger had given birth to was flourishing. Many filmmakers were now using the segmented format Anger had established with SCORPIO RISING—Wakefield Poole in BOYS IN THE SAND and Toby Ross in REFLECTIONS OF YOUTH and BOYS OF THE SLUMS. The most unusual and publicly visible of these directors was Fred Halsted, a heavy user of Tuinals and acid who had been around the L.A. leather scene since 1960.” More recently, Anger experimented with full-blown pornography for his decidedly disappointing digital video effort I'll Be Watching You (2007), which the director described in an interview with the UK magazine Electric Sheep as a, “tribute to my late friend Michael Powell and his 1960 film PEEPING TOM.” Of course, it should be no surprise that someone would actually direct a not-so-inconspicuous gay hardcore homage to Anger and his films. Indeed, Night of the Occultist (1973) directed and produced by pseudonymous auteur ‘Kenneth Andrews’ (indeed, the mysterious auteur could not have used a more blatant tributary pen name) is more or less a Kenneth Anger fanboy fuck flick that is so bad at parroting the seemingly half-crazed Crowleyite cine-magician that it almost seems like a perverse parody piece gone terribly wrong, albeit in a strangely charming way that is nothing short of unforgettable.
Initially, Night of the Occultist starts rather stereotypically for a gay porn flick with an ostensibly heterosexual man reminiscing over a fight he had with his wife over the dubious future of their deteriorating marriage while rolling around his bed restlessly with his balls hanging out of his tighty whities in a rather unflattering fashion. Indeed, proto-preppie protagonist Chuck Paxton (played by Qwave Dalton aka Quave Dahon, who later appeared in Roger Earl’s brutal classic 1975 S&M flick Born to Raise Hell) remembers how while being “inside” his wife Mary, he was thinking about any and everyone but her. After four years of marriage, the tall blond Nordic-like protagonist moved out the home that he lived in with his wife and now lives on his own and is constantly haunted by the ghosts of his less than sexually satisfying past as an unhappily married man with a sexually starved spouse. A sort of pseudo-playboy that lives in his own lurid one-man fantasy world of banal bourgeois luxury, Chuck spends his days working a terribly prosaic job at a bank, but when he comes home at night he becomes the master of his own domain. Indeed, after putting on an obscenely ostentatious silk robe that screams “gay,” Chuck reads a newspaper, listens to some generic champagne music, and masturbates on his sofa as if narcissistically wallowing in his own self-loving glory. Of course, Chuck's domestic lifestyle will change drastically after looking through a newspaper with the glaring headline “SEX SOLUTIONS THIS WEEK” and reading an ad for an “Egyptian sexologist” who he thinks may be able to help him regarding his lack of sensual interest in his wife. Not seeing the warning signs that sexologist might be a Svengali-like individual with ulterior motives (for starters, "666" is part of his phone number), Chuck the limp fuck calls the eroticism specialist and soon makes his way to crypto-magician's scantly furnished office.
Not surprisingly considering the doctor's dubious profession, Chuck is immediately repelled upon meeting the so-called ‘Sexologist’ aka ‘Occultist’ (Gareth Burton), whose flamingly flamboyant button-up shirt, goofy LaVey-esque facial hair, propensity to talk pseudo-sophisticated esoteric mumbo jumbo, and preposterously pretentious persona reeks of carny-like charlatanism. Of course, it is also a little odd that the Sexologist claims to be descended from ancient Egyptian royalty despite the fact that he looks like a little Irishman. Chuck manages to take the Sexologist slightly more serious when he mentions that he is a “descendent of the royal priest of ancient Egypt” and a “graduate of the University of Cairo” and explains that he wear the flamboyant “getup” to appeal to the “average man.” Before Chuck knows it, the Sexologist absurdly attempts to coerce him into dabbling in homosexuality as a patently preposterous potential cure for his spouse-based impotency. Indeed, after Chuck confesses that he no longer can have sex with his wife Mary after four years of an initially sexually satisfactory marriage, the Occultist posing as a sexologist begins channeling Crowley and describes an ancient ritual in his country called the “Sacrifice to Osiris” where, “an adolescent boy is sodomized by four priests in the shadow of the great pyramid.” From there, the film cuts to an expressionistic scene of the “Sacrifice to Osiris” ritual, though the “adolescent boy” is really a 30-something-year-old man with a goofy goatee and the so-called priests look like a bunch of rejects from sort of third rate Mexican amateur wrestling organization as they sport silly cardboard costumes that seem like they were made by a couple autistic teenagers who read one-too-many Harry Potter books. Before breaking out into a fierce fog-fueled fivesome of the four-on-one sort, the ersatz-adolescent sucks off all the priests to initiate the rather ridiculous ritual. Needless to say, the bearded boy is more than a little sticky and shaky after being manhandled by four men in majorly moronic masks.
Ultimately, the Occultist convinces Mr. Paxton to devote his free time to hooking up with local homosexuals, but first he must “get to know them” and “investigate” before diving into full-on shit-stabbing. To find real live fags, Paxton first goes to a gay bar called “Go Go Bar” that advertises “Nude Boys” and features two rather effeminate go-go surfer boys with long pseudo-blonde hair and swarthy black pubes dancing exceedingly gaily on stage. Chuck also later checks out a porn theater where they have a new 3-hour hardcore show every Thursday. At the theater, Paxton finds himself giving his own ‘one man show’ in the shadows while watching a rather crude vintage boy-on-boy blue movie that makes Night of the Occultist seem like a lavish erotic epic. For whatever reason, Chuck also develops a somewhat peculiar predilection towards doing the five-finger-shuffle while driving around in his fancy convertible. Upon stopping into an nondescript handyman shop/garage to get his trusty lighter fixed, Chuck is initiated into the wild and wanton world of sacrilegious sodomy after the store clerk—a greaser with a greasy pompadour—takes him aside and aggressively smokes his pole like the most masculine of lumpenproles. Indeed, being a bourgeois bank boy, it is only natural that Chuck learns to fuck from a real working-class mensch. After Chuck busts his load and the greaser once again takes his member in his mouth, Night of the Occultist abruptly cuts to a full-blown 6(66)-man S&M sodomite orgy set in some sort of dark and fiery homo Hades featuring whips, big dicks, bondage, and mischievous men whose skin has taken on a red demonic tone. During the final shot of the film, which is certainly the most Scorpio Rising-esque scene of the entire flick, a close-up of the words “The End” written on the bare bum of Chuck, who is hogtied and sporting a leather-jacket, is juxtaposed with the Occultist narrating, “And so this orgiastic ritual continues into the night and tomorrow the participants shall resume their respective roles in conventional society,” thus reflecting the literally occult-like nature of homosexuality during the 1970s. Indeed, by using black magic in the LaVeyan sense (“the change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable”), the Occultist/Egyptian sexologist has managed to convert heterosexual protagonist Chuck Paxton into a hyper horny hedonistic homo who has learned to have one hell of a time hanging out in hemorrhoid hitman hell.
It should be noted that Night of the Occultist was one of the three big “hits” of the now-defunct gay porn studio Jaguar Studios, which is probably best known for their “serious” male-on-male melodramas The Light from the Second Story Window (1973) directed by David Allen and Stu Drexyl and The Experiment (1973) penned and directed by Gorton Hall. Clearly, Night of the Occultist was the studio’s most idiosyncratic production as an aberrant-garde flick featuring the lo-fi aesthetic of Mike Kuchar’s underground cult classic Sins of the Fleshapoids (1965), the heretical hermetic mysticism and bike boy fetishism of Kenneth Anger, the uniquely unhinged underworld counter-culture cocksucking of Steven Arnold's sensual surrealist masterpiece Luminous Procuress (1971), and the gritty, raw, and mostly macho ritualistic sadomasochism of Fred Halsted. Indeed, if you're planning to watch the film with the intention of using it as some sort of preternatural masturbation aid, you will surely be disappointed, as the work features nothing new in terms of blue movie buggery and will mainly only interest the more discerning sin-ephile who thrives on uncovering dirty little forgotten gems of celluloid excess. Indeed, with its horrendous yet strangely hypnotic audio (much of the dialogue is completely inaudible and features far too much reverb), no-budget neo-expressionistic set-design (aside from the naked dudes, the set of the “Sacrifice to Osiris” scene seems like it could have been designed by some of the same people that worked on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), untalented yet unforgettable acting performances, and preposterous pretense towards being serious ‘erotic art,’ Night of the Occultist is nothing short of a lost cocksucker cult classic that reminds libertine cinephiles why they are obsessed with obscure cinema in the first place. While best known for influencing MTV music videos and inspiring Martin Scorsese's obsessive implementation of pop music, Kenneth Anger is probably personally more proud of the fact that he influenced more ‘sinister’ and underground cinematic forms and this is nowhere more obvious than in Night of the Occultist, which may not be up to par with Wakefield Poole's Bijou (1972), Fred Halsted's LA Plays Itself (1972), or even Jacques Scandelari's New York City Inferno (1978), but it is certainly one of the most endearingly (pseudo)evil erotic fag fuck flicks ever made.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 4:25 AM
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