I WAS A TEENAGE ZABBADOING (CARL ANDERSEN, 1988)
aka Vampiros Sexos
While the Cinema of Transgression movement had peaked in the mid-1980s with the work of Richard Kern and Beth B., across the Atlantic, director Carl Andersen began making films clearly in the same vein in the late 1980s. His debut film, I Was a Teenage Zabbadoing... (full title: "I Was A Teenage Zabbadoing And The Incredible Lusty Dust-Whip From Outer Space Conquers The Earth Versus The 3 Psychedelic Stooges Of Dr. Fun Helsing And Fighting Against Surf-Vampires And Sex-Nazis And Have Troubles With This Endless Titillation Title") is clearly situated within this movement, combining Vampire archetypes with hardcore sex all set to a soundtrack of post-punk and no-wave music.
In this hour long, starkly lit black and wide feature, plot takes a sidestep to the depiction of angsty counterculture, fights, obsessive sex, and lusty vampires. What little plot is found follows, apparently, "A female vampire from the planet Arus [who] tries to vampirize the descendants of Dr. Fun Helsing."1 The vampire infects her first victim by way of "infected" olive oil (?!), and then the vampire virus spreads itself via sex and biting. This all takes place among 20 something kids clad in black and leather, who hang out at a bar (The Video Teque) and don't really do too much with their lives other than fuck.
For being what could be considered an ostensibly empty plot, the film moves at a rapidly entertaining pace, with occasional bouts of humor (as two characters are driving along the street on their hunt for the vampires, they keep passing couples fighting for no apparent reason). Parts of the film also are tailor made to fit the excellent music that's decorating the scenery, but the film plays these "music video" scenes in a way similar to the aforementioned Cinema of Transgression, never delving into something that seems out of place (in the way quite a few contemporary straight to video horror flicks do).
It's remarkably trashy but stylish; a perfect visual accompaniment to the no-wave music scene that prevailed in America (and to some extent, Europe)--far more fitting, in my opinion, than many of the films of Nick Zedd (who authored the Cinema of Transgression Manifesto).
There are, however, two particularly interesting elements of the film that merit mention. The first is a particularly potent twenty second scene where two of the main vampires get into a brief fight as one of their soon to be victims plays an acoustic song with lyrics about dancing in the background. It's bizarrely poetic in a very low-rent sort of way that totally fits the tone of the film. The second interesting element comes by way of what the vampires are weak against: instead of garlic and crucifix's, the vampires cannot cross the border of--wait for it-- Tarkovsky films! It's a bizarre jab that once again fits the punk spirit that pervades the rest of the film.
My main point of interest to the films of Carl Andersen, aside from the fact that they're delightfully entertaining and earnest in a way that most cinema has forgotten about, comes from the fact that ever since seeing Andersen's most notorious film, 1990's Mondo Weirdo, I've been a bit obsessed with the band that does the soundtracks for what appears to be his entire oeuvre, Model D'oo. There's a track that I absolutely love from Mondo Weirdo that also appears in this film, albeit in a stripped down version. Regardless, liking the music of the soundtrack significantly helps to enjoy the film.
1The intertitles of the film are in German (I think), so the "details" provided in this sentence come via the Vampyres-Online website.