It Came from Kuchar

Movies
2 out of 5 stars
It Came from Kuchar

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

When you hear someone mention film titles such as Sins of the Fleshapoids and Hold Me While I’m Naked, do you (a) scratch your head or (b) start salivating, Pavlovian-pooch style? Should your answer be the first one, check out Jennifer M. Kroot’s docu-portrait of those responsible for such salacious ’50s and ’60s gems: George and Mike Kuchar, the Bronx-bred twins who trotted out tawdry, trashy melodramas shot for less than the price of a hot meal. Buck Henry, Guy Maddin and John Waters attest to their greatness; eccentric, obsessive and wildly prolific—both are still making no-budget epics well into their autumn years—these “Mozarts of 8mm cinema” are legends of personal, perverse shock-and-schlock filmmaking.

If you don’t need an introduction to the brothers or their back catalog, however, It Came from Kuchar won’t offer much insight. Kroot traces their rise from unknowns to underground movie sensations, but offers little context as to how they influenced that microcosm’s embrace of camp, or vice versa. Any Crumb-like explorations are superficially skimmed by, and too many gushing testimonies from George’s San Francisco Art Institute students come off as empty praise. (Only critic B. Ruby Rich offers anything approaching an in-depth look at their work.) These guys belong in the avant-odd pantheon. They also deserve a stronger, more penetrating tribute.—David Fear

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