Nov 10, 2014

Seeds of Sin

Surely, there is nothing more depressing to a cinephile than the fact that one of their favorite filmmaker’s potential masterpieces has been butchered, botched, and/or just never plain released for whatever reason. For example, Guido artsploitation auteur Alberto Cavallone’s supposed masterpiece Maldoror (1977)—a loose psychedelic reworking of the rather mysterious French poet Comte de Lautréamont's proto-surrealist late 19th-century poetical novel Les Chants de Maldoror aka The Songs of Maldoror—has never been released in any form despite the fact it was actually completed and is considered by those handful of people that have had the truly singular honor of seeing it to be the auteur’s greatest masterpiece. While most of gutter auteur Andy Milligan’s early sexploitation films, as well as his rare 1967 uncompleted arthouse film Compass Rose (which can actually be found by collectors, though the print is horrible and inaudible) and apparently highly worthwhile campy homo bloodsucker flick Dragula (1971) are completely lost, arguably the greatest aesthetic tragedy is the fact that the director’s would-be magnum opus, Seeds (1968) aka Seeds of Sin, only exists today in a senselessly butchered form because the film’s monetary-motivated Guido producer, Allen Bazzini—a restauranteur and sometimes cherry farmer who wanted to break into the movie business whose sole other film credit is for acting as the 'presenter' of the exploitation flick The Blue Sextet (1971) directed by gay pornographer and exploitation auteur David E. Durston (I Drink Your Blood, Manhole)—later inserted softcore sex scenes that were not directed by the sub-infamous gutter auteur featuring actors that were not even originally in the film and also cut key scenes from the flick to make way for the added smut, thus making the work somewhat incomprehensible in some respects (though not much more incoherent than a lot of exploitation flicks from that era). Indeed, as Milligan’s friend and biographer Jimmy McDonough wrote in The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan (2001), regarding the work: “SEEDS is Milligan’s MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS—meaning that what exists of the film only frustrates after reading a nearly complete script. This was to be Andy’s sickest masterwork yet.”   After watching the butchered cut, I can happily report that it is still one of Milligan's greatest and most memorable works, as a cracked window into the sod filmmaker's dark and depraved soul.

 Indeed, despite being one of the handful of works that Milligan directed that was not produced by Hebraic smut-peddler William Mishkin (whose asshole lawyer son Lew would later be responsible for intentionally destroying most of the Milligan films that are now lost), who often fiddled with and molested the director’s work in various ways in the hope of cashing in, Seeds of Sin—a work that was advertised with the eloquent tagline, “Sown in Incest! Harvested in hate!”—was still perniciously defiled and now exists today as a curious celluloid oddity that feels like an unhinged family soap opera from Sodom that is routinely interrupted by lighthearted ‘commercial breaks’ of random unclad hippie-like people (including platinum blonde Swedish exploitation diva Uta Erickson of the Amero brothers’ classic 1971 psychedelic gothic hardcore flick Bacchanale) rolling around on top of each other and unconvincingly attempting to make the viewer think that they are actually fucking. A work that was indeed “sown in incest” and “harvested in hate,” the film is, like many of Milligan’s works, a thinly disguised attack against the director’s own deranged and highly abusive mother and family members and revolves around a crippled and considerably cunty wheelchair-bound old hag matriarch who self-righteously describes her own children as “a bunch of bad seeds” and who foresees the destruction of the entire family after her seemingly half-autistic incest-inclined daughter invites the rest of the family over for Christmas in a fucked family affair wherein virtually everyone dies a mirthfully gruesome death at the hands of one of their (un)loved ones. Black-and-white celluloid vile spat from the warped mind of one of exploitation cinema’s few true ‘serious’ artists (before becoming a filmmaker, Milligan directed off-off-Broadway adaptations of works by Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, among others), Seeds of Sin was somewhat fittingly written for Milligan’s one-time wife Candy Hammond (indeed, like Fassbinder, despite being a gay sadomasochist, Milligan got married to one of his screen divas), who is a horse-faced girl with a butch dyke haircut that prances around the film naked and acts like an all-around socially retarded individual, and more or less represents the director’s final word on family matters (not that the auteur quit making raunchy and hate-driven family reunion flicks after it was released), as a work featuring black market abortions, intricate incest-based bizarre love triangles, and inter-familial mass murder, including fratricide, sororicide, and matricide, among other things. 

 When her live-in adult daughter Carol (Milligan’s wife Candy Hammond) invites the rest of the family over for Christmas without telling her, wheelchair-bound matriarch Claris Manning (elderly Milligan superstar Maggie Rogers, who died two years after the film was released)—a seemingly rotting old violent hag who resembles an elderly high yellow negro tranny sporting a Warhol-esque blonde wig who would make for a great girlfriend for 'grandfather' of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)—states the forebodingly prophetic warns to her scheming progeny, “You mark my words, you’ve destroyed us.” As a girl who started having sex with her blood brother Michael (Anthony Moscini of Milligan's Compass Rose and the lost 1968 flick Gutter Trash) when she was just 13 and he was 17, Carol—a dyke-like chick with an aesthetically repellant butch haircut who masturbates to the sort of vintage muscle mags that were big with fags before the deluge of homo hardcore flicks that followed the release of Wakefield Poole's classic crossover cocksucker flick Boys in the Sand (1971)—has her own reasons for wanting the family back over for the holidays and it is not just because she wants to reboot her unsavory sex-scapades with her big bro, who is now unhappily married to a lying bitch. A hate-driven and glaringly grotesque old repulsive über-wench who looks like she would radiate a rather revolting stench while stewing in her wheelchair, mad matriarch Claris receives constant help from her one-eyed servant/cuckold/baby-daddy Mortimer (Jesse Bigelow of Gutter Trash) and a crooked crackpot doctor named Dr. Kram (Paul Eden of Gutter Trash and pornographic auteur Peter De Rome’s 1976 hardcore psychedelic horror Poe adaptation The Destroying Angel), who performs regular blood transfusions on the old hag. Dr. Kram also performs an emergency illegal coat-hanger abortion on a hysterical young chick named Bonita (Magie Dominic of the lost 1968 Milligan flick The Filthy Five) after her husband Drew (David Hazard) makes a botched attempt himself. To pay for the $1,500 abortion, Drew, who is the gay boyfriend of Ma Manning's youngest son Buster (though the viewer will not be able to figure this out by watching the film), steals his girlfriend's bracelet and gives it to Dr. Kram as payment. When Bonita screams hysterically just as Dr. Kram gets in between her legs to abort the unborn baby, Drew punches her in the face and knocks her out, thus eradicating the need for anesthesia. 

 When all the siblings and their partners arrive at the matriarch’s house and meet for dinner, Ma Manning is wheeled out and makes the following seethingly hateful speech to her progeny after getting seated: “I might as well make it clear right here and now; I didn’t invite any of you. Don’t get your hopes up. Carol, I guess thought she was doing me a favor when she asked you here. There isn’t anyone at this table that I give two cents for. Well, it’s not entirely your fault…Its mostly mine. I spoiled you when you were children. I spoiled you rotten. The good book says “he shall reap what he thou sow.” […] You’re a bunch of bad seeds! Well, you ruined my life and now I’ve just ruined your dinner [laughs sinisterly] Go ahead and eat! [continues laughing maniacally],” to which one of her children mockingly replies, “To our dear sweet mother, long may she live.” When Claris remarks that she could outlive all her children, her eldest child Margaret (Lucy Silvay)—a blonde bitch who married a dumb and violent Guido ex-gang leader named Jonathan (who hilariously later states with a glaring NYC dago draw to his wife, “I love you so much I could kill you”) because he is a “beautiful animal” with “sadistic urges”—states, “I don’t think nature would allow that.” Rather nonsensically, Margaret slaps one-eyed cuckold Mortimer on the face after he insults her momma and asks, “who do you think you are?,” so mother Manning grabs her, smacks her in the face in an even more violent fashion, and says “he’s your father,” thus revealing the dark family secret that she is the bastard spawn of her mommy’s 'kept-man' and all-around bitch. Of course, that is just one of the many sick secrets regarding the family. 

 That night, brother Matthew (Milligan superstar Neil Flanagan)—a gay priest who molested his own military school cadet brother Buster (Gene Connolly of Tommy Goetz’s 1969 film A Bride for Brenda and C. Walsh’s Sweet Taste of Joy (1970))—is totally oblivious to the fact that his nymphomaniac girlfriend Barbara (Milligan superstar Susan Cassidy) has snuck into his brother Michael’s room and seduced him. After screwing Mike, who has no qualms about cheating on his wife Susan (Eileen Hayes of The Ghastly Ones) since he resents her and the fact that he had to marry her when she got pregnant (apparently, with another man's baby), Barbara goes to take a bath to assumedly wash all the spilled seeds out of her overworked snatch so her Catholic cocksucker boyfriend does not notice, but before she finishes someone knocks a radio playing degenerate jazz into the bathtub, thus electrocuting and killing the debauched dame.  After getting done talking to Ma Manning and learning that her husband’s father—the matriarch's second husband—is imprisoned in a house for the criminally insane, Susan goes back to her hubby Michael and accuses him of cheating on her, so he unleashes a tidal wave of verbal venom and reveals that he never wanted to marry her in the first place and that he started an incestuous sexual affair with his sister Carol when he was a teenager and she was barely a teen. Totally horrified by what her hubby has just told her, Susan runs out of the room and grabs a butcher knife in the kitchen so she can stab her already broken heart, but she does not have to finish the job as some mysterious killer slams a door into the handle of the weapon, thus killing the hysterical wife instantly. Although Dr. Kram absurdly writes off the deaths as suicides, Ma Manning knows better and tells her cuckolded servant/lover Mortimer, “everyone in this house is capable of murder, including you and me” and then proceeds to burn a $100 dollar bill while proclaiming that if she knew that she would die tomorrow (ironically, she does die the next day), she would burn all her money just to spite her children. 

 When Mamma Manning tells her gay pervert criminal son Buster—a pedomorphic bibliophile and military school cadet who has been kicked out of every school on the east coast yet absurdly sports a West Point uniform—that she has not written him into her will and then berates him for being kicked out of multiple private schools for having sod sex with and blackmailing other boys, among other things, the loony lad flies into a hysterical queenish rage, runs outside while flailing his arms and screaming about wanting to kill himself, and then proceeds to slit his own wrist with a broken bottle while laughing maniacally. Meanwhile, matriarch Manning’s two young servants, Peter (Jonathan East of Milligan’s lost 1968 film Tricks of the Trade) and Jessica (Patricia Dillon of Milligan’s Gutter Trash and 1970 medieval horror flick Torture Dungeon), who are carrying on a lurid love affair behind their employer’s back, have forged their boss’ will and are plotting to poison her, but right before they attempt to do so, someone ironically poisons them. Meanwhile, sister Margaret reveals to her bohunk hubby Jonathan that her mother is a cripple because some unknown person pushed her down the stairs, thus breaking her neck and spine in the process. Margaret also states regarding the incident, “nothing can kill a bitch like momma. Ever since that day she’s grown more and more hateful. Like a cancer on the whole family. It was as if we were the puppets and she controlled the strings, making us share her pattern of hate.” Margaret also discusses how her little sister Carol has always hated her because she is jealous of her beauty. Indeed, Margaret is right because not long after telling her husband about her bitchy little sister, Carol kills her by throwing acid in her face and then proceeds to kill Jonathan, although she is not revealed to be the killer for a couple more scenes. From there, Carol seduces her bro Michael and they make ostensibly passionate love after flirting like grade school children for a little bit, but when the big brother kicks her out of the bedroom when she gets too lovey-dovey, she flips out and starts singing “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” while standing topless in the hallway in a discernibly deranged state. When Ma Manning calls for her daughter while in an absurdly drunken state, Carol pops out of nowhere like a rabid cheetah and pushes her down the stairs in her wheelchair, thus killing the mad matriarch (apparently, elderly actress Maggie Rogers was actually seriously hurt during this scene, as the film crew members lost control of her wheelchair and she ran directly into a wall after falling down the steps), who realizes just before she kicks the bucket that her favorite child is the one that is responsible for crippling her. When Michael walks in the room to see that his sister has just killed their mother, he becomes so enraged that he strangles her to death, thus making him the only surviving member of the family. 

Although the only known existing print of Seeds of Sin is the butchered version I viewed featuring the added softcore sex scenes and excised key scenes, Something Weird Video released a double-feature DVD of the work and its spiritual brother film The Ghastly Ones that also includes Andy Milligan’s old workprint of the film as an extra feature, thus the viewer can mentally fill in a number of blanks themselves in regard to the missing scenes from the bogus Bazzini cut. For instance, one of the excised subplots involves the gay incestuous pedo priest character Matthew being seduced by his little sister Carol, who spits in his mouth when he requests that she 'punish' him with a good beating.  Later, in a rather darkly humorous scene, unholy holy man Matthew goes to commit suicide via hanging, but he pussies out at the last minute and ultimately dies anyway when his feet accidentally slip from a chair while he still has a noose wrapped around his neck. Another scene missing from both the film and the workprint apparently involves priest Matthew and his girlfriend Barbara engaging in a “sacrilegious love scene in the rectory.” The worksprint also features an ultra-cynical extended ending where Michael cradles his sister Carol while singing a nursery rhyme to her after strangling her while Mortimer proceeds to call the police with a smirk on his face, as if he knows that he is going to inherit the family fortune after getting the surviving brother locked up in prison. Despite being blatantly butchered and featuring long and pointless sex inserts featuring random anonymous people who are not even characters in the film (including a negress!), Seeds of Sin as it exists today still manages to be a perversely potent piece of ceaseless anti-family celluloid hate and malignant misanthropy that makes the viewer realize that there is no question that auteur Milligan was himself sown from a forsaken heritage of hate.  

 Indeed, on top of having a sadistic crippled mother who used him as an emotional and physical punching-bag and forced him to regularly clean between her toes because she was so morbidly obese (at 300+ pounds, she was a fairly big momma, especially for her time period when it was actually shameful to be a lard ass) when he was just a young child, Milligan, like some of the characters of Seeds of Sin, did not find out his older brother Harley LeRoy Hull, who was a successful businessman that served multiple long prisons sentences after being convicted of serial pedophilia (interestingly, when biographer Jimmy McDonough called Hull to get information on Milligan for his bio, he recommended writing a book about his life instead and even proposed the Milligan-esque title ‘The Wayward Pedophile’), was not his full brother but actually his half-brother from his mother's previous failed marriage to a Jewish bigamist (apparently, Milligan's father resented the fact that his stepson was a mischling Jew).  Unquestionably, Milligan’s then-wife Candy Hammond gives a most believable performance in the film as a cracked cunt who kills all her family members just so she can have her beloved brother/deflowerer all to herself. As Milligan would state of Hammond in one of the rare occasions where he said something semi-nice about a woman, “SEEDS was written for Candy. Candy’s not an ordinary woman. She’s self-made, always was. Left home at a young age. Candy would talk wild, act wild, but she’s really a prude. Not about nudity—sex. She’s afraid of men in a way […] Candy and I got along well, and one day I asked if she wanted to get married. It was convenience. I knew she was gonna go back.” Indeed, one can only assume that a woman who would marry a notoriously bitchy and sadomasochistic sodomite who was constantly cruising for tricks and pricks and wanted nothing to do with women, especially in the bedroom, would have to be suffering from some sort of hang-up in regard to men and their members. Indubitably, it is quite unfortunate that Mr. Milligan did not get the gall to hump Hammond and produce a “seed of sin” of his own as the kid would surely have grown up to be more interesting and very potentially more murderous than the debauched and depraved demons seeds of his degenerate daddy's films.  Of course, oftentimes filmmakers will describe their films as their ‘children,’ with Seeds of Sin indubitably being Milligan's most nasty, rotten, and marvelously misbegotten little mongrel bastard celluloid abortion.

-Ty E


Jennifer Croissant said...

When a producer inserts completely unneccessary and irrelevant sex scenes into a movie in that way it really does make a total nonsense of the entire film-making process and is indeed proof positive that we are all still living in "THE TIME OF LIES, HYPOCRISY, AND SEXUAL REPRESSION".

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Thats right Jennifer, and when will "THE TIME OF LIES, HYPOCRISY, AND SEXUAL REPRESSION" finally and thankfully be over ?...thats guessed it...first time..., when there are millions of Heather O`Rourke and Jonbenet Ramsey look-a-likes freely and legally and sexually available on literally every street corner in America for $50 a time ! ! ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, just getting back to your current obsession with all this Andy Milligan nonsense: DEATH TO ALL PANSY QUEER BASTARDS.

Jennifer Croissant said...

Ty E, i laughed a lot when you said you thought the old slag in this movie would`ve been a perfect bride for Grandpa in TTCSM (1974).