Scorpio Rising (1964) is a short film by experimental film maker Kenneth Anger. Through an artistic look at biker culture of the 50s, Scorpio Rising addresses masculinity, sexuality, and the darker sides of humanity. The film features a soundtrack composed of contemporary pop and rock songs, which serves to further enhance its often disturbing and unsavory subject matter. This approach is used later to stupefying effect by the likes of Tarantino, yet Anger finds an excellent balance. Also notable is the film’s cinematography. To offset the black and chrome of the bikers and their bikes, Anger sparingly uses red and green lighting. This creates hellish scenes filled with machinery, and bikers, all cast in surreal colors. As the film nears its end, Anger increases tension through crazed montages and distorted action. With no dialogue or plot, the viewer is left to confront all concepts and notions touched on by Scorpio Rising, leaving them wholly unsettled. At less than half an hour, the film is worth every minute of your time.
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Peter Schulman 16’