Jon Moritsugu  

Sometimes associated with the Cinema of Transgression due to one of his more aggressive shorts 'Mommy Mommy, Where's My Brain?' being included in the collection, but his cinema is more about lo-fi punk aesthetics, anything-goes humor, and anarchy backed by a whole lot of hot underground punk music and garage rock. You never really know what you're going to get with his films, although his earlier ones were much more exuberantly unhinged with some surprising humor and satire. He uses some trash, filth and camp, but this is just part of his toolbox and is not what his movies are about. Later movies include the surprisingly conventional and dumb trashy comedies 'Terminal USA' and 'Fame Whore' which feel like John Waters lite. An obvious influence on Gregg Araki, who didn't reproduce the punk attitude, satire and self-deprecating humor, which are the best aspects of Moritsugu.

Of Some Interest

Hippy Porn  
Somewhere in between early Godard and Gregg Araki, using the freewheeling whimsical structure and idiosyncratic auteurism of the former, and the latter's depiction of a dour and detached group of teenagers that have already become bored with sex, life and everything. Except it's neither of the above and has a punk, underground New York style attitude of its own. The collection of underground music in the soundtrack is given equal billing. There's no real story and the characters aren't interesting, but the punkish humor and some of the whimsical vignettes are amusing. Teenagers whine about how they have nothing to do but sit and complain, they throw around isms and manifestos, then make fun of these, they share their first masturbation experiences, literally rip up art (leaving one picture intact of a vista as seen through prison bars), rant against marriage love and sex but can't bring themselves to admit enjoying it, play drinking games with filthy phrases while nonsensical Godardesque intertitles confuse the senses, have fun shoplifting, perform in-your-face dirty renditions of musical classics, have bizarre dream sequences, and so on. Mildly entertaining chaos.

Mod Fuck Explosion  
You can see what Gregg Araki was trying to copy when you watch this movie. But the critical difference is that this movie makes fun of its characters and has nihilistic fun with the concept of screwed-up teenagers in a West-Side-Story type of narrative. Gangs of Mods and Asian Bikers are revving up for a rumble, while London, a teenage budding virgin slut who yearns for a leather jacket she can call her own, falls in love with M16 who reads to her gruesome news-stories over the phone. Her mother is a pedophile who fantasizes about teenage boys and plays inappropriate games with her own son, and there are bizarre dream sequences, non-sequitur scenes of teenage wild abandon, and over-the-top violence in the final battle. This is a relatively poor effort by Moritsugu and most of the humor and bizarre behaviour of the many characters falls flat, but it still has the anarchic low-budget punkish energy and moments of unexpected humor.

Pig Death Machine  
A comeback after a decade of inactivity from Moritsugu, and it's more of the same. Meaning that it's completely unpredictable, and wrapped in light anarchic humor and dynamic, raw cinematography with punk music. There are two main story-lines in this one, two women affected differently after eating rotten pig meat. One has her IQ rise from 79 to over 200, which causes havoc with her relationship with her obnoxious rich boyfriend. And the other is a neurotic plant lover who starts hearing plant voices yelling at her like a bunch of neurotic, insecure, attention-whore city-folk. This is particularly amusing, as is her horror when she cuts lettuce or steps on the grass. And then there's a random trashy movie within the movie, and a surreal stop-motion animation with Svankmajer-esque animated pieces of meat. It doesn't go anywhere however, there's no punchline, and the first story is mostly dull, but as a piece of anarchic whimsical humor, it's mildly entertaining.


My Degeneration  
Moritsugu's first full-length movie is a low-budget oddity, a kind of home-made punk version of Spinal Tap about a garage-punk girl-band that makes it big and then falls apart. They are adopted by the American Beef Institute and trained into becoming a commodity, and to sell meat and sex, renaming their band from 'Bunny Love' to 'Fetish'. One of the members is in love with a decapitated pig head with whom she has conversations (don't ask me). But the evil animated mechanical dinosaur Megator doesn't like this. It's amusing for the first ten minutes, then it gets repetitive and becomes mostly a collection of home-made music videos with dull music, uninspired mockumentary and random colorful images, until the really silly metaphysical ending.

1999- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents