Oct 7, 2015


Somewhat hilariously, while Cinema of Transgression anti-messiah Nick Zedd (They Eat Scum, Electra Elf) went of his way to attack certain famous American avant-garde filmmakers, most specifically Structural filmmakers associated with Jonas Mekas' inner-circle, in his not-quite-infamous piece of aesthetic agitprop The Cinema of Transgression Manifesto (1985) by denouncing the supposed “laziness known as structuralism” and “profoundly undeserving non-talents like Brakhage, Snow, Frampton, Gehr, Breer, etc,” he would later eventually attempt to create his own experimental work in a fairly similar vein to the films of some of these filmmakers. Indeed, Zedd’s 12-minute piece of explicitly childish (anti)pornographic collage Whoregasm (1988) resembles the sort of cinematic work experimental film maestro Stan Brakhage (Dog Star Man series, Mothlight) might have assembled had he suffered severe brain damage in a car wreck, became obsessed with collecting badly damaged vintage stag films, and tried in vain to reinvent himself as the most insipidly iconoclastic filmmaker in cinema history. Comprised of vintage erotic found footage, scenes of the director having unsimulated sex with his girlfriend, outtakes from the proudly obnoxious art-trash filmmaker’s surprisingly narratively conventional black-and-white anti-cop short Police State (1987), and a fairly complimentary art-rock noise score by Sonic Youth, the film might be Zedd’s most overtly experimental, abstract, and visually and structurally anarchistic cinematic effort to date, but it also exposes the fact that the aberrant auteur is a one-note celluloid transgressor who merely makes films to offend, as if there is any great merit to merely offending for offending’s sake.  Whoregasm is also notable for being one of a couple of films where Zedd appears in drag, though instead of attempting to suck a limp dick like he did in Richard Kern’s wholly horrendous 5-minute short King of Sex (1986), the filmmaker uses his mouth to molest the lips, tits, and twat of his dead-eyed junky then-girlfriend Susan Manson, who returns the favor while her beau is sporting a tacky cheap dress that probably no real-life crack-addled drag-queen would ever be caught dead in. 

 Following in the filmic footsteps of a couple of the shorts featured on the ‘legendary’ The Cinema of Transgression Vol. 1 (1986) VHS tape, including Mutable Fire (1984) directed by Bradley Eros (aka ‘Erotic Psyche’) and Shithaus (1985) directed by rocker Jon Spencer (of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), Whoregasm demonstrates that Zedd must have been desperate for film ideas (and of course money and fresh film stock), as he might have gone so far as founding a certain somewhat mythologized film movement, but it was not long before he was parroting the ideas of others filmmakers associated with said movement. Shamelessly advertised upon its release with a flyer with the sensational quote, “Banned in 13 countries!!! Banned forever in Canada!!! Seized by Montreal Customs!!! The film The Voice won’t dare review!!!  The most obscene film ever made,” and an image of naked painted dwarf and matching Dalmatian dog that was stolen from German-Jewish dyke Ulrike Ottinger’s aberrosexual epic Freak Orlando (1981), the short might be Zedd’s most innately experimental work to date but it is also certainly one of his most derivative as a mess of an anti-movie that looks like it was hastily assembled over an afternoon while the director was high on speed because he wanted to meet a deadline for an upcoming film festival. A rather fittingly titled work in that sense that it is probably Zedd’s most obvious and desperate attempt to both literally and figuratively whore himself out for his proudly obnoxious (anti)art, Whoregasm is ultimately a pseudo-sleazy botched celluloid orgasm directed by a man whose idea of sexual pleasure is downing drag-queen dongs and being defecated on by dirty diseased dames with tasteless tit tattoos like the one that appears in the film. 

 Beginning with a drawing of a brown eyeball that looks like it might have been smeared with feces, Whoregasm seems to immediately warn the viewer that that a tidalwave of sloppy steaming celluloid shit is about to be rudely excreted onto their eyes. As is standard procedure for a Nick Zedd flick, the film wastes no time flashing swastikas for no apparent reason, albeit this time the glorious Hakenkreuz is connected to a crucifix as if to insinuate Christianity is ‘fascistic’ or some other absurd asinine bullshit belief that is typically spouted by sub-literate left-wing lemmings that worship at the golden calf of passive nihilism and/or see Jello Biafra as a sort of Christ-like figure. Not surprisingly, an imagine in the spirit of the degenerate art of kraut commie John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld) featuring Adolf Hitler with a skull-like face subsequently appears. From there, things get extra degenerate with an image of a tranny proudly showing off their cock as well as footage of Susan Mason pulling a bloody tampon out of her seemingly festering cunt (notably, later in the film, you can see blood oozing out from between her legs, but that does not stop Zedd from chowing down on her meat-curtain). In a demonstration of Zedd’s assumed approval of racial cuckoldry and miscegenation, vintage footage of a white whore sucking a darkie dong is intercut with pseudo-psychedelic footage of a guy riding a horse. Arguably the most infamous part of the film is of an assumedly doctored photograph featuring a masculine man with an erection standing behind a little boy who has his pants pulled down and his bum right in front of the muscular homo’s member as if he is about to violently deflower the tiny tot. After various gay and NAMBLA-approved images of aroused naked man, scenes of a used up old whore showing off her somewhat large tits and similarly sized derriere are juxtaposed with color outtakes from Zedd’s Police State, including the filmmaker being arrested. Of course not film set in NYC would be complete without a random appearance from a panhandling negro hobo, who is holding a sign that curiously reads, “Except for the grace of god there stand I. I’m blind. Please buy a pencil.”  I certainly hope some bought the poor superstitious spook a nice pencil, as I doubt he would want to be associated with such a film, especially without getting paid for his efforts.

 Although segments of the footage are featured inter-spliced throughout the entire film, almost the second entire half of Whoregasm is dedicated to a fairly static and largely anti-erotic ‘sex tape’ featuring Zedd and his then-lover Ms. Manson. Judging by the footage, one can only assume that Zedd enjoys every single sex act aside from actual standard fucking. Indeed, dressed in full-drag with blood red lipstick and a flamboyant dress, Zedd seems like he is attempting to duplicate Manson’s appearance to the point where they seem like they inspired deranged British tranny Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s Pandrogeny Project where the seriously sexually confused musician attempted to become a single entity with his lover Lady Jaye by mirroring her physical appearance (while P-Orridge went so far as getting serious cosmetic surgery done, the results were quite dubious to say the least). Due to the fact that he never asserts himself by actually penetrating her puss with his prick and dedicates virtually all of his mostly frivolous fucking to meek and passive acts like shoving Manson’s foot in his mouth and performing cunnilingus on her, Zedd seems more like a lesbian than a heterosexual man, at least as far as his oralcentric approach to carnal knowledge is concerned. In a shot that is probably symbolic of Zedd’s somewhat preternatural sexuality, Manson gives him a blowjob while he has his dress hiked up. Towards the end of the film, shots of Manson fellating Zedd are intercut with a shaking hand holding a revolver in an erratic montage sequence that seems to demonstrate Zedd’s clichéd affinity sex with death. In the end, the film comes full circle by concluding with a shot of the same eyeball that appeared at the very beginning of the short, albeit this time drenched in red as if to compliment Zedd's fetish for menstrual blood. 

 It is probably worth noting that Whoresgasm ‘heroine’ Susan Manson dumped Zedd after starting a lurid love affair with a lesbian and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in pornography. Seeing as Zedd has never paid any of his gutter superstars to star in his films, one can only assume Manson eventually came to the important epiphany that, if she was going to bear the shame of sucking cock and exposing her beaver on film, she might as well get paid for it. While I cannot be sure, I can only assume that Whoregasm is not unlike Zedd’s mind-numbingly banal pseudo-experimental documentary The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983) in that the film was made as a sort of revenge against his ex-girlfriend for dumping in. Not surprisingly, Zedd was involved in much more disgusting sex with Manson than the fairly tame fucking that is depicted in his film, or as the auteur hilariously wrote in his book Totem of the Depraved (1996) in regard to the last night he ‘made love’ with his sweetheart before she left his sorry ass for good, “When it came time for me to take a piss, she opened her mouth and a hot stream splashed down her throat. She inhaled lines of dope as I crouched over her and allowed my bowels to empty a load of shit onto her back. I then smeared the soft brown excrement over and around and onto her two big breasts as she pulled me down onto my back and straddled my head with her legs. A shower of shit blasted out of her rectum onto my face as I opened my mouth to taste the warm oozing substance. I then violently vomited onto her face and licked the puke and shit up in order to gag and vomit again. I felt totally clean. My sides were empty and covering the woman I loved. We rolled around and covered ourselves in vomit and shit and continued to lick each other’s assholes until our tongues were sore. I snorted two bags of coke and puked all over a copy of the Good News Bible before passing out. When I awoke the next morning, the color TV and both VCRs were gone. Sue left a note saying she wouldn’t be coming back.” It is only speculation, but I am going to have to assume that Miss Susie Poo decided that Zedd’s flagrant fecal fetish was the last straw as far as their relationship was concerned.  In Totem of the Depraved, Zedd also notes that Manson found vaginal sex painful due to psychological issues, which is certainly an important insight to have when watching a film that is so exceedingly anti-erotic as Whoregasm where it seems like the dope-addled autistic American grandson of Georges Bataille decided to make a home-movie of his weekend excursion with a punk hooker and then edit together the footage as final project for some preposterous postmodern art class.

 Apparently, a ten-minute segment of Whoregasm featuring Ms. Manson masturbating with money was lost forever when a shipment of Zedd’s films was seized by the Canadian government in the spring of 1988 just before the filmmaker arrived to put on a showing of his work in Montreal. Additionally, like his subsequent sci-fi schlock-art epic War Is Menstrual Envy (1992), the short is meant to screened via two-screen double project, yet the VHS and DVD versions only feature a single screen. While British-born Zedd proponent Jack Sargeant wrote in his book Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground (2008), “Zedd still screens WHOREGASM as a two screen double project, and one video edit of this exists under the spurious title FUCK YOU (ASSHOLE VERSION). A single projection version of WHOREGASM has also been released on video. Neither of these versions are particularly satisfactory, illustrating the major problem with video when film goes beyond its traditionally prescribed limits,” I certainly cannot imagine the dual screen version of the film being much of an improvement and I say that as someone that appreciates works like Warhol’s Chelsea Girls (1966), Werner Schroeter’s Argila (1969), and even Brian De Palma’s Dionysus in '69 (1970). Of course, double project is only one of the many outmoded cinematic gimmicks that Zedd has in his figurative auteur toolbox, with avant-garde collage films featuring pornographic imagery not exactly being something new or innovative and with Whoregasm oftentimes feeling like a poor punk’s take on the ‘avant-garde home-videos’ of French actor and sometimes experimental auteur Pierre Clémenti, especially his magnum opus New Old: Chronicles of the Present Times (1979). Of course, Zedd’s film seems like bratty child’s play and truly masturbatory juvenilia compared to the celluloid homo Hades conjured up by Luther Price in his experimental work Sodom (1989), which utilizes gay pornography in a sort of metaphysically diseased fashion.

 Ironically, despite trashing the Structural filmmakers in his 1985 Cinema of Transgression manifesto, Zedd has acknowledged that one of his greatest influences is the Viennese Aktionism and the movement's main filmmaker, Austrian-Jewish Structuralist auteur Kurt Kren, films embody a true cinema of transgression and do not resort to the uniquely unrefined post-Kuchar grade school shock values that the Lord of the Cockrings (2002) director is infamous for. Personally, as far as his more experimental cinematic works go, I think that it is safe to say that Zedd's most original and idiosyncratic film is his early short The Bogus Man (1980). Additionally, aside from being fairly derivative and unoriginal, Whoregasm suffers from lacking the energetic spirit of Zedd’s early works like They Eat Scum (1979) and Geek Maggot Bingo or The Freak from Suckweasel Mountain (1983), but then again he was addicted to ‘Cocteau’s kick’ when he was making it, hence his particularly unprolific output during that time.  After feces-flinging punk rock messiah G.G. Allin's somewhat anticlimatic death, Zedd wrote about his quasi-compatriot, “G.G. went out of his way to be hated.  He spread hatred and stupidity everywhere he could.  One theory advanced for his psychopathology was a childhood of sexual abuse.  Who knows?  Furthermore, who cares?  I consider it a joke that I'm even writing about him.  His minimal talents were focused on a crude form of infantile self-promotion manifested in public filthiness.”  Somehow after watching Whoregasm, I get the impression that Zedd was merely projecting his own anti-qualities onto Mr. Allin.

-Ty E

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