Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Submit to Me (1986) – Richard Kern

Primitive? Distasteful? Immediate? As statements of a deeper artful intent or simply as deviant and prurient improvisations, I find that Richard Kerns films hit the mark as often as they miss. It's the same conundrum once said about the Butthole Surfers. Are they an art band masquerading as wild eyed hardcore psychos, or out-of-control madmen playing the role of an arty hardcore band?

It's worth noting that Butthole Surfers tracks, primarily Cherub, help flesh this out with darkly psychedelic sonic accompaniments that rival the outrageous on-screen action for your attention. The Surfers and Lydia Lunch connections were what initially got me to check these films out.

Often collaborating with others such as Nick Zedd, Beth B or Lydia Lunch, my favorites from Kern remain the more non-narrative / less linear pieces in which it's all about the visuals. During the 80s, he surrounded himself with similarly minded miscreants, artists and freaky ne'er-do-wells to populate his creations, many times performing with an amateur zeal.

Dark and extreme, often created to provoke; these are not for everyone. One of his better known pieces, Fingered - a collaboration with Lydia Lunch, created a firestorm, especially in the punk community when first released with protestations that it was just violent porn hurled about. The disclaimer provided for the film stated "Although it is not our sole intention to SHOCK, INSULT, or IRRITATE, you have been warned that we are CATERING only to our own preferences as members of the SEXUAL MINORITY."

I say make up your own mind, but be forewarned this is not for general taste or consumption...

Submit to Me (1986) – Richard Kern