The nature of transgressive cinema has shifted over the years, ranging from the early days of adult cinema to the underground post-punk film scene in the 1980's. Over the past decade, the term has been switched over more to the horror genre, often dealing with an assortment of titles that have been filed under the “torture porn” moniker. (A term itself that has some issues, since the images that come to my mind involve either leather, chains and greased up car batteries or sitting through the IQ-hating “Debbie Does Dallas.”)
With films like “Hostel” and more recently, “A Serbian Film,” being hotly contested, the whole matter has pushed fans and writers alike to ask, “How far can too far go?” My question, though, is what will be the new definition of “transgressive cinema?” In this day and age of, to quote a pretty good Jane's Addiction album title, nothing's shocking, what new frontiers of transgression are there to pursue?
The only path to really pursue at this juncture is, in my opinion, is to be pure DIY. Trying to ape someone else or worse, one up them, is a losing game. Aping puts you at the risk of looking like a pale imitator and one-upping is impossible in this age of war and POW video footage all over the net. So the only truly shocking option is to just do your own thing. After all, while original ideas might be hard to come by, original approach is always possible. Creative transgression is ready for a new landscape, one that will not be defined by certain acts, but instead a harder to pinpoint approach and atmosphere. Of course, it is all a wait and see sort of affair.
Speaking of wait and see, there is an upcoming Kickstarter coming up for “German Angst,” an anthology film featuring work by famed cult director Jorg Buttgereit (“Nekromanatic,” “Schramm,” “Captain Berlin”), Andreas Mitchell (“Tears of Kali”) and Michal Kosakowski (“Zero Killed.”) The trio of shorts will involve stories ranging from mind altering drugs, sex clubs and neo Nazis. The biggest news out of all this is that “German Angst” will be the first new material from Buttgereit after several years out of the filmmaking game. The project sounds highly promising, with their Kickstarter page going live in the next few days, so keep on the lookout.
October is a great month for newness, since the latest print issue of Paracinema is out and it has been well worth the wait. There are some terrific articles featured, including pieces on everything from the aforementioned “A Serbian Film” to “Penitentiary III” to the later years of action heroes and even racial politics in post-Reagan teacher features. There's enough wit, humor and film smarts to make even the most jaded fringe-cineaste smile. On top of all that, it also has my own article on Stephen Sayadian's “Nightdreams” and “Dr. Caligari,” so if you're a juice dog then you know you gotta giddy-up on that action.
If creatures like vampires are more your thing, then you can get into the Halloween mood and listen to me speaking (aka ranting and rambling) with the great Frank Cotolo on his podcast The Cotolo Chronicles. This past Thursday we talked about the king vampire himself, Dracula and his many incarnations. Listen and thrill and put on your favorite plastic black cape and enjoy!
There will be more things to keep you entertained in the near future, say stay tuned cats and kittens!