In terms of sheer ambitiousness and intrinsic cinematic insanity, Kuchar’s rare feature-length film The Devil's Cleavage is arguably the filmmaker’s magnum opus and certainly one of the great unhinged masterpieces of the American underground. Indeed, it is hard to argue that Hold Me While I'm Naked is superior to the fecal-flavored tragedy and chiaroscuro-laden doom and gloom of Kuchar's bizarrely ballsy black-and-white feature. Modestly described by Kuchar himself as “an impressionistic series of romantic set pieces filmed in seedy interiors,” the innately fucked feature reeks of perverse pulchritude and grotesque glamor, as if the aberrant auteur was attempted to direct something as ethereally beauteous as an avant-garde flick directed by French auteur Marcel Hanoun like L'été (1968) meets Josef von Sternberg's Shanghai Express (1932) for morally retarded John Waters fans and Troma turds. A sort of all-the-more-eccentric big sister film to the Kuchar penned and McDowell directed black-and-white pornographic cult horror classic Thundercrack! (1975), the film is equally grotesque as it is gorgeous as an unrelenting scatological farce that satirizes classic Hollywood melodramas by European-born filmmakers like Douglas Sirk and Josef von Sternberg and gritty film noir flicks by Nicholas Ray and Sam Fuller. Hopelessly convoluted in terms of plot and storyline as a cinematic work that feels like it is set in some alternate unhinged universe where time and place are dictated by the wayward whims of the mostly mentally unstable and sexually insatiable characters, The Devil's Cleavage is, in many ways, not much more than the psychosis-ridden fantasy of an obsessive cinephile that demonstrates more interest in golden age Hollywood than the sort of avant-garde and experimental cinema that Kuchar was loosely connected to. In other words, the film was not made with the intent of giving experimental cinema gatekeeper Jonas Mekas a hard-on.
When Josef von Sternberg said, “Shadow conceals—light reveals. To know what to reveal and what to conceal, and in what degrees to do this, is all there is to art,” it seems that Kuchar tooks these words of cinematic wisdom more seriously than most. Indeed, there is probably not one single shot in The Devil's Cleavage where a character is not at least partly lurking the shadows, as Kuchar wants you to know these sad and mostly sexually depraved individuals are shameful slaves of their lustful longings. As many of his films rather hilariously reveals, Kuchar, quite unlike his sex-saluting cocksucker comrade Curt McDowell, was a sexual neurotic of sorts. In The Devil's Cleavage, the viewer is treated to what might be best described as low-budget neurotic erotic neo-Expressionism where carnal crimes are mostly boldly highlighted via the lack of lighting.
Meanwhile, a seemingly severely wounded Ginger is coerced into following a slutty pseudo-blonde home where the female protagonist is more or less raped by the pseudo-blonde’s hyper horny sleazebag husband. While being sexually savaged by the sleazy scumbag husband, Ginger sees her beloved dog Bocko outside and cries out for him, but he does not even respond. Indeed, it seems that even Ginger's beloved canine Bocko no longer wants anything to do with her. When Ginger complains, “I’m afraid. I’m so afraid” while symbolically bent over in a doggy style position, the sexually sadistic husband replies in a stern matter-of-fact fashion, “We’re all afraid” and then proceeds to penetrate her puss in a relatively savage manner. Upon being forcibly fucked, Ginger seems to finally accept her pathetically perverse plight in life as an unlovable slut that is not even loyal enough to be a dog owner. As one can expect from a Kuchar flick, love destroys all in the end and virtually all of the characters are left completely emotionally wounded. Undoubtedly, if there is any special insight that The Devil's Cleavage reveals, it is that everyone is foredoomed to live in isolation and emotional solitude and that love can only end in devastating heartbreak and, in some special cases, a very ugly death.
Indeed, for a film that is well over 40 years old, The Devil’s Cleavage is still shockingly subversive and, aesthetically speaking, nothing short of an otherworldly celluloid orgy of delectable obscenity and blissful odiousness, among other things. Certainly, in no other film will you find such a seemingly aesthetically schizophrenic mix of trashy toilet humor and chiaroscuro-heavy celluloid majesty. Indeed, Kuchar is probably the only filmmaker that has ever lived that has managed to so blatantly blur the line between excrement and ecstasy, dementedness and deliciousness, and pathology and poetry. In other words, The Devil’s Cleavage offers unwavering happiness in a steamy and fiercely fecal fly-ridden filmic form that is seductively shadowy as Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr (1932) yet as scatological and schlocky as the most shamelessly morally bankrupt of Troma turds. Undoubtedly, the fact that the film has never been released in any home media format is a crime against cinephilia and a sure sign that American cineaste oriented companies like the Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber Films are run by uptight prudes that rather peddle communist poverty porn and senseless feminist dribble than authentic American cinematic art.