Upon finally regaining consciousness, Prince Gianbeno goes looking around the house for Vivianna but instead finds his Fleshapoid servant Melenka making electric love with Xar, which he finds quite unsettling. Indeed, as the narrator states regarding the Prince’s shock, “It was incredible for Gianbeno to understand how two robots could feel affection for one another. ‘It’s against nature,’ he screamed. ‘Against the laws of the universe…That bodies made out of nuts and bolts could feel the pangs of love in their aluminum hearts. This would upset the very foundation of life itself. What would become of the human race if these two lifeforces meet? War? Slavery? This time, the human being the slave. An unknown hideous force thus as this must be removed from the face of the earth in shame. Gianbeno must disconnect them.’” From there, Gianbeno proceeds to ‘disconnect’ Melenka by opening her dress and fiddling with a device near her robo-boob that causes her entire body to instantly shutdown. Not willing to tolerate a pansy prince who has messed with his lover’s mechanical mammary glands, Xar violently slams Gianbeno to the ground and then proceeds to turn Melenka back on. After the narrator pseudo-moralistically declares, “Man has created this new race of creatures. Now he must pay the punishment and vengeance they set upon him,” Xar grabs Gianbeno’s hand and declares “I’m negative” while Melenka grabs his other hand and declares “I’m positive.” From there, the two android lovers prove that opposites truly attract by simultaneously frying the Prince to death with red rays of electricity that is so powerfully electrifying that the only thing left of Gianbeno when they are done is his charred skull. While the two robots prove that love conquers all in their seemingly effortless liquidation of the Prince, Melenka subsequently cries “S-S-Something is wrong” while staring at Gianbeno’s skull and then proceeds to fall to the floor while moaning hysterically with pain. While initially seeming like the film might end on an unhappy note, things become what auteur Kuchar once described as “so preposterously cute” when a cuddly baby robot emerges from between Melenka’s legs, thus ushering in what is probably the world’s first android baby birth.
While financed solely with money Mike Kuchar earned while working as a photo retoucher, Sins of the Fleshapoids was such a relatively big success for an underground movie upon its release that the director earned enough in royalties that he was able to pursue his dream of not having to work a ‘real’ nine-to-five job for about six years (though it should be noted that, like his twin brother, Kuchar lived fairly modestly). With Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1964) and Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s Chelsea Girls (1966), Kuchar’s magnum opus is regarded as one of the three most influential American underground films of the 1960s and it was even argued by avant-garde gatekeeper Jonas Mekas that Slavic-blooded frog skirt-chaser Roger Vadim ripped off the film with his mainstream sci-fi sexploitation flick Barbarella (1968) starring neo-bolshevik bimbo Jane Fonda due to both films featuring a scene where characters have sex via their hands. Notably, when asked by Jack Stevenson about the purported influence of his film on Vadim’s flick, Kuchar dismissively replied in a somewhat humorous fashion, “You’re referring to the smoking fingertips in BARBARELLA, when the actors hands touch in mock lovemaking, but I had sparks of lightning shooting out of the fingers – not smoke – when the robots make love in SINS. If Vadim’s screenwriters did lift ideas from my film, I can’t understand why they would pass up on the idea of using comic book “thought bubbles” floating above the actors when they are required to think.” Thankfully, in the same interview, Kuchar reveals denies the idea of insufferable dyke Hebrewess Susan Sontag’s obscenely overrated 1964 essay Notes on Camp influencing his work, remarking, “I have never read ‘Notes on Camp’. My own definition of the word is this: You pitch your tent (camera and crew) in an established theme park. In the case of SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS, we pitched our tent on sci-fi comic book territory and the Hollywood style of moviemaking. Then you go on holiday with the established form, consciously accentuating the artificiality inherent in the styles and techniques they used to manipulate the audience. Thus the soundtrack music becomes loud and obvious, make-up is over-applied or blatantly misapplied, and the actors are obviously ‘acting’, or even better, they can’t act at all!...It’s a sort of vandalism, a form of good natured sabotage.” Indeed, the difference between Kuchar's films and the completely forgotten cinematic works of Sontag is that the former were the expression of a rich and eccentric soul who made films because he loved making films while the latter were the product of a soulless wench with an affinity prosaic and pedantic intellectual masturbation, hence what differentiates the Sins of the Fleshapoids director and his brother from most of the Structural filmmakers that were associated with the 1960s American underground.
Personally, I see ‘camp’ as a form of ‘good natured rape,’ with Sins of the Fleshapoids feeling like the natural result of Aubrey Beardsley pillaging every single wet orifice of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960). Indeed, I would be lying if I did not admit that the scorching warm colors of Kuchar’s made me feel in the mood for lurid electric love, albeit not the sort involving sparks of lightning shooting out of fingers. While some might refer to Kuchar’s magnum opus as keenly kitschy trash cinema, there is undoubtedly a strange quasi-aristocratic spirit to Sins of the Fleshapoids, even if it is a debauched one, so it should be no surprise that Kuchar also stated in his interview with Stevenson regarding his influences, “Gregory Markopoulos… he was an inspiration. If there is such a notion as “Gay Pride” – he was it! You don’t need to flaunt it when you’ve got the regal poise and golden ideals of this guy. He was memorable, an impeccable aristocrat who dined at the Automat (an inexpensive, now extinct, cafeteria where you put nickels into a slot to receive plates of hot food from behind glass doors). Had he lived in another age, Gregory would have been perfectly at home in a powdered wig and buckled shoes.” While Kuchar never directed a film as elegant and meticulously constructed as Markopoulos’ avant-garde masterpiece Twice a Man (1964), Sins of the Fleshapoids unequivocally proves that he is a celluloid alchemist as a rare filmmaker that could turn shit into gold. Indeed, maybe it is because I associate such Hollywood sci-fi flicks with fat ugly dorks that suffer from Asperger syndrome, but I would much rather re-watch Kuchar’s film over Planet of the Apes (1968), any of the Star War films, David Lynch’s Dune (1984), or virtually any other big budget science fiction flick any day. Of course, Sins of the Fleshapoids has about as much to do with science fiction cinema as Anger’s Scorpio Rising has to do with teen rebel biker flicks and John Waters’ Desperate Living (1977) has to do with classic Disney fairytale movies, hence its uniquely undying charm as classic piece of American camp that has never and can never be properly imitated or duplicated, even by queer filmmakers like Rosa von Praunheim (who considered the Kuchar brothers to be one of his main influences and even hired Mike to be the cinematographer for a couple of his films). If you're a happy-go-lucky misanthrope like me and can fathom a world where androids are more morally sound than the majority of humanity, you will probably not find a film that is more delectably decadent and kitschy yet cultivated than Sins of the Fleshapoids which, in its unflattering depiction of a pathologically cosmopolitan dystopian society that is plagued by perverse hedonism and is too impotent for far, is the 1960s underground's equivalent to John Boorman's cult classic Zardoz (1974), albeit all the more otherworldly and patently preternatural.