Nick Zedd: Steal This Video
with Lydia Lunch, Nick Zedd
Written and directed by Nick Zedd
by Karl Geising
Film Threat started out as a magazine devoted to the more – ahem – offbeat of the film genre. They soon discovered that the films that they liked simply were not available in most cities, due to lack of corporate money and the often offensive content of many films. Soon after their inception, they branched out into distributing. They now have quite a few “underground” films under their wing, including such classics as Hated – The G.G. Allin Story, Nekromantic, and Puss Buckets. A collection of shorter films was reviewed last month.
During the ’80s, one of the most hated filmmakers in New York was Nick Zedd. Working with people such as Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch, he made films that most people considered “shocking” or “offensive.” I don’t find them to be either, but I DO find them funny.
Steal This Video is a collection of five of his short films. The tape opens with The Bogus Man, a film which starts as a mock-documentary of a conspiracy to clone then-President Carter, but soon deconstructs into phallic gore and chaos. Thrust In Me is my favorite. A collaboration with Richard Kern that stars Zedd as both himself and his girlfriend. At film’s end, Zedd-as-woman kills him/herself; after that… Well, read the title. The Wild World of Lydia Lunch is the only one on the tape I didn’t enjoy, being rather long and pointless. Police State shows Kern getting the shit kicked out of him by stereotypical cops. Enjoyed every minute. Whoregasm is the best-produced, being a montage of footage from raunchy porn, previous films, and Zedd’s bedroom, with the soundtrack being the backwards part of Sonic Youth’s first album. All in all, this collection is a must if you’re into underground films. Or just weirdness.
Faring less well, however, is Lydia Lunch’s Malicious Intent. Ms. Lunch was the underground’s favorite diva during the late ’70s and early ’80s, and deservedly so, in my opinion. But you’d never be able to tell from this film. The tape is all spoken word, filmed matter-of-factly by Kern during appearances at the Knitting Factory in New York. It consists mainly of Ms. Lunch on stage, whining accusingly at the audience about how much life sucks. In her speeches, she tries to be provocative and shocking, but ends up being annoying. After a few minutes, you wish she’d just shut the fuck up. This is a shame, as I did (and do) like her previous works. They showed you how fucked-up the world is instead of just bitching about it. If you’re a die-hard fan of hers, you might like this. Everyone else should stay away.