Sunday, June 28, 2009

Andy Milligan

I pursued some interest in the much maligned filmmaker Andy Milligan years and years ago, after watching a VHS of Torture Dungeon. I really didn't know what I was in for, didn't know anything about the guy or his movies. It was the late 90s and I was starting to move away from the horror cannon and into more dangerous, exploitive, grimy stuff. The supertrashy cover art for TD grabbed me and I bought it off the toss-off rack of a local rental place. It was startlingly insane. Check it:

It was like an accidental John Waters, with a less humorous was kinda hateful stuff. In fact after viewing this, I sought more of his movies, and only found The Man with Two Heads, which at the time I thought was just too hateful and mean. After that I kinda dropped the ball on finding more Milligan movies. I think I'd like TMWTH now, and I"m cursing myself for not making a dub...for me in those days, finding movies was not about waiting for them to be released on DVD or ordering grey market tapes (too broke). Instead it was about driving to each and every Mom and Pop rental place I could find, being psyched if they had just one tape that I couldn't find elsewhere...or that I didn't know existed. Bygone days.
After not being into TMWTH and not even being able to get through any of The Rats are Coming! The Werewolves are Here! I kind of dropped the ball on Andy Milligan. Later I found out he was Staten Island based, and made all the wardrobes for his films. I also heard that a book came out about him, my reaction to which was "wow, there's a book about every fucking person now." Little did I know....
A couple of weeks ago I got a copy of The Ghastly Ones on DVD for pretty cheap...while watching it all agog one rainy afternoon, I knew that I was gonna be a die hard AM fan. God, why'd it take me so long? Torture Dungeon might be even better than The Ghastly Ones, but I think I was just not prepared for it as a spritely 19 year dude.

So I hopped on the old internet and searched with vigor! "Andy Milligan book." And up it came on Amazon for 99 cents; The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Andy Milligan...Done! A few more AM dvds? DOne! I get the book, before I start reading I am kind of confused by the pullquotes on the back cover. Time gives a glowing review? Paper says it's "one of the best books ever about the life of a filmmaker..." How did I miss that this was an important book? It sure doesn't seem like that crappy Al Adamson book I have. I start reading and I can't believe it...the guy was certifiably insane and an asshole! But the most exciting nutcase I've read about in ferrrever! This book is the complete antithesis of the Paul Naschy Autobiography I just wrote about; it's obsessive, engaging like a disease and the stories are beyond belief. I don't wanna spoil anything, but experimental theater, extreme hardcore gay S&M, suicide, murder, and cruelty all play a big part in the story.
I was also shocked when I realized after 100 pages that Jimmy McDonough, the author, is also the dude who wrote Shakey, the Neil Young Bio. Shakey really shook me when I read it a number of years ago, and it's great that this guy has gone from writing about one of the most respected artists of the past half century to a guy that NO ONE seems to like. I like him though, no matter how nasty he was. I like him a lot.
I'm not even finished and I don't want the book to end, but I felt like I had to get it out to you, the dear reader, that this one is a must-read....right up there with the Klaus Kinski Autobio.
And check out this guys films!

1 comment:

DJ Mike G said...

I'll have to check out some Andy Milligan. I read a glowing review of that book in "Shock Cinema" I believe. I thought that his films might be a little too hateful and hard for me, but that was years ago. I'm a rough hewn almost 30 now, I could probably handle em!