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Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Post-Nuclear Lust" and My Life as an Underground Filmmaker

Shooting PNL & 3 of my leading ladies
In the late 1970s - early '80s, I ventured from cabaret performances to directing and writing films. Post-Nuclear Lust was my second effort and distinguished by the fact that it didn't have any drag queens in it. Real --- but very dramatic -- women starred.

The film was shot on Super-8 film during an emergence of punk, New Wave, underground filmmaking in the wake of the success of Scott and Beth B. Even John Waters didn't start in 35mm, and he was my idol.

My stars were my friends & family members who had no formal acting training.... though that only made the film better, I believe. They turned in perfect melodramatic work that was perfect. I directed everyone to play it straight even though we all knew it was high camp.

At the time, there was a demolished factory site in my home town of Paterson, NJ that we shot some scenes in and parts of Soho and the Meat Packing district were demolished at the time, awaiting reconstruction. We shot amongst the ruins.

Tracey Lott turned in a fabulous performance as the film's arch-villain. Her husband was played by my cousin Walt, to whom she was married at the time. They were Baked Alaska Films' Taylor and Burton! And, indeed, I based the characters Lulu and Iggy on George and Martha, in fact.

Gary Popkin, Azous Zar (my brother), Sledge Hammar, Randy Pesch (our flesh-eating mutant), Jane Blackstein, Pearl Buttons and my late sister-in-law Rita as Lolita Presley were also cast in this. It was a fun shoot.
Lulu with her female co-stars

The first film I made, prior to P-NL, was Paranoid Delusion, starring Daphnetta and Parti Mintz, blending '60s girl groups with psycho-horror films. My third -- and most successful -- effort was Delirium about a cosmetics saleslady framed wrongfully for a murder. I swear this film was ripped off and made for the big screen as Mortal Thoughts with Demi Moore and Glenne Headley. My final film was Blond Libido starring Parti Mintz. We had some big screenings in small venues, notably the old The Dive in Chelsea.

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