Thursday, June 18, 2009


After Scorpio's breakthrough, Anger reverted to fragmentation with Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), which shifts the juvenile romance of the machine from motorcycle to muscle car. Again this was to have been a much longer work--the Ford Foundation had awarded Anger ten thousand dollars for the purpose--but only three minutes were completed when his living expenses and film upgrading efforts consumed the rest of the grant. KKK combines astrological blues and pinks in a Pop Art evocation of Knight and Chariot (or, as Anger prefers, "Pygmalion and his machine mistress"), all set to the Paris Sisters' hypnotic version of "Dream Lover." The Maker's (Sandy Trent) All-Chrome Ruby Plush Dune Buggy is polished by the driver until it gleams lustily, offering the camera a dynamic range of slithering reflections. The powder puff with which Trent polishes his vehicle resembles a fat white cat, while the customized seats envelop his body in their warm womb. Like the mythical sculptor, the Maker has fallen for his creation and the feeling is one of erotic worship.

Anger doesn't have much to say about Kustom Kar Kommandos, but the enclosed booklet offers the film's poetic prospectus and is titled simply "Kustom." Anger's original structure was similar to Scorpio Rising's, and was to contain another pointed pop soundtrack of eight, rather than thirteen, songs. ("Dream Lover," incidentally, is not one of them, though it's hard to imagine a more perfect accompaniment.) Anger has claimed that Trent was killed in a car crash, but this has never been verified and the director's commentary is mum. Fantomas' high-definition digital transfer minimizes the original reversal A/B rolls' occasional flutter.