Kustom Kar Kommandos (Kenneth Anger, 1965, USA)

Kustom Kar Kommandos is 1965 short by director Kenneth Anger. Following 1963's Scorpio Rising - arguably the director's most successful and well-known film - Kustom Kar Kommandos continues his exploration of American masculine motor culture. Kustom was commissioned by the Ford Foundation with a $10,000 grant and was intended to be a documentary about cars being a fetish object amongst American youth. Unfortunately, due to the grant running out, only 3 minutes of footage was ever produced. It seems that the main actor in the film died mid-production, which no doubt led to the film's issues.

A kind of spiritual sequel to Scorpio Rising, the film shows several young men standing over a hot rod. One of the young men uses a chamois over the chassis of the car. The young man is then dressed in blue pastel, gets behind the wheel, and begins to work the vehicle. The engine revving, the vehicle then pulls away. The film is set to Bobby Darin's famous tune "Dream Lover," however this time performed by the Paris Sisters. 

It is hard not to view Kustom Kar Kommandos as the first music video. The film is amazing to watch for its use of colors, the pinks, blues, and red standing out very strongly. The sexual imagery in the film is so overt that it almost borders on the self-parodic. The seats of the cars are extremely Freudian, and Anger must have realized this. Overall, Kustom Kar Kommandos no doubt relates somewhat to David Cronenberg's 1996 film Crash. In this instance, the car is fetishized as a woman-like figure for those without status in society. One can see this as representative of our own lives and how objects can take on the role that people once played. A very modern and unique representation of American life.



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