Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

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Lino
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#1 Post by Lino » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:17 pm

Ok, I have to admit I've never heard of this one until MichaelB mentioned it on another thread and having been to the official site and having watched the trailer, this little oddity has my name written all over it! This is one of the joys of belonging to this forum and you know what I'm going to ask you next, don't you? Yes, you're right -- has anyone seen it and would like to share some memories or thoughts?

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#2 Post by MichaelB » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:35 pm

Yes (obviously), though with the fairly major caveat that the combination of a well-worn 16mm print and the Scala's legendarily appalling acoustics meant that I barely heard a word of the dialogue. My ex-boss, who saw the print before it took up permanent residence at the Scala, assured me that the script was hilarious, but I have to take that on trust.

But I can certainly confirm that if you fancy a black-and-white old dark house horror spoof liberally laced with an admirably catholic approach to hardcore sex scenes (featuring pretty much every gender combo including full-on all-male anal), then it's most definitely the sort of thing you're after. And there's nothing else quite like it.

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Lino
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#3 Post by Lino » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:39 pm

This film has now officially become my personal Holy Grail. It's like John Waters, Tennessee Williams and William Castle have rolled into one big, overblown, messy, sordid affair.

A guy can't ask for much more than that, can one?

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#4 Post by David Ehrenstein » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:22 pm

It's available on video.

Curt was a unique guy. I devoted a chapter of my book Film: The Front lIne -- 1984 (Arden Press) to him and his work.

For about a year Thundercrack was a popular midnight movie.

Oh and George Kuchar (the film's screenwriter and co-star) was Curt's lover for a good many years. They remained close friends after they broke up, and George chronicled Curt's death in one of his videos.

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orlik
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#5 Post by orlik » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:25 pm

I was introduced this by a friend, who made me a copy from his dodgy VHS version (God knows where he got hold of it!). Of course, it's magnificent - gorgeously overwritten (by George Kuchar, who also stars as a man in love with a gorilla), and in its own way strangely frightening and moving. You will never forget the central, Joan Crawford-in-a-funhouse-mirror performance by the alarmingly browed Marion Eaton. And you'll be alarmed to see where the writers of the sitcom 'Friends' got the name of Chandler Bing from.
Last edited by orlik on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Quot
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#6 Post by Quot » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:28 pm

I recently acquired a copy of this (Swedish release, I think); it's not the 152 minute director's cut that I hear is being prepped for R1 release, but it's the only one I could lay my hands on. I haven't gotten around to watching it yet, but will do so asap (I love the trailer, hope the film is as stimulating).

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#7 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:58 pm

"Who is that who speaks to me with the voice of a woman?" I'd say it's overwritten! I LOVE that trailer. I can't wait to buy this.

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orlik
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#8 Post by orlik » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:51 pm

Jean-Luc Garbo wrote:"Who is that who speaks to me with the voice of a woman?"
I'd forgotten that line! Makes Jack Smith seem like David Mamet, doesn't it? As far as I'm concerned, overwriting is underrated.

By the way, did anyone get the DVD of the slightly-less-demented but still wonderful Sins of the Fleshapoids by George's brother Mike Kuchar?

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Mr Pixies
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#9 Post by Mr Pixies » Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:46 am

orlik wrote:By the way, did anyone get the DVD of the slightly-less-demented but still wonderful Sins of the Fleshapoids by George's brother Mike Kuchar?
Yeah, and I sure do hope OtherCinema dvd (or anyone else) releases more from him/them.

It's a great dvd, has two other films by Mike Kuchar, and all three have an audio commentary by him. The Secret of Wendel Samson with Red Grooms is my favorite.

I check the ThunderCrack site every month to check if it's available, been almost two years now? I did get a shorter cut of the film online a while ago, but have yet to watch it.

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Lino
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#10 Post by Lino » Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:00 am

Ok, so I ordered myself Thundercrack! from ebay (it's a dutch bootleg, expensive but the only thing around for now, so...) alongside Sins of the Fleshapoids -- this month I will be treating myself with a Kuchar Bros. double-feature!

I'm also eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Kenneth Anger set and I finally decided to get the Peter Berlin docu, That Man. So, as you can see, it's going to be a hot and campy February at my place!

I will leave my thoughts about Thundercrack! when I get it. Can't wait.

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Felix
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#11 Post by Felix » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:30 pm

Lino wrote:I will leave my thoughts about Thundercrack! when I get it. Can't wait.
Let us know what you think of the quality as well, just in case it does not get an official. I haven't seen this though I have seen it so many times in the Scala listings. I think the video referred to earlier may have been a British one and a legit release, I am sure I remember something about it though I may be confusing it with a BFI release of his Colour Me Lurid. Michael?

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Matt
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#12 Post by Matt » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:37 pm

Mr Pixies wrote:
orlik wrote:By the way, did anyone get the DVD of the slightly-less-demented but still wonderful Sins of the Fleshapoids by George's brother Mike Kuchar?
Yeah, and I sure do hope OtherCinema dvd (or anyone else) releases more from him/them.
I got it too. Great release (though I'm most fond of The Craven Sluck and suspect Lino will be too). According to someone I corresponded with at Other Cinema, George isn't convinced that his films should be on DVD. Too bad.

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Billy Liar
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#13 Post by Billy Liar » Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:21 pm

I managed to see this one when it played as part of the pyschotronic season of films that toured the UK last year. I agree that it was melancholic in parts but this in turn heightened the hilarity of the piece. It was an old grainy 16mm print and I couldn't imagine viewing it any other way. Not to mention the sublime dialogue, oh and the gorilla parts had me in tears.

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Barmy
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#14 Post by Barmy » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:31 pm

This definitely got a semi-proper VHS release. I have it somewhere. Let's just say it may turn you off of cucumbers for life.

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#15 Post by MichaelB » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:57 pm

Felix wrote:
Lino wrote:I will leave my thoughts about Thundercrack! when I get it. Can't wait.
Let us know what you think of the quality as well, just in case it does not get an official. I haven't seen this though I have seen it so many times in the Scala listings. I think the video referred to earlier may have been a British one and a legit release, I am sure I remember something about it though I may be confusing it with a BFI release of his Colour Me Lurid. Michael?
Very possibly - Thundercrack! has never had a British video release. The copy I have is either Dutch or Danish, I forget which.

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Lino
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#16 Post by Lino » Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:13 pm

Felix wrote:
Lino wrote:I will leave my thoughts about Thundercrack! when I get it. Can't wait.
Let us know what you think of the quality as well, just in case it does not get an official.
Well, I watched it yesterday afternoon and I am still struggling to find words to describe it. It's almost like I've seen an UFO or something and I'm still trying to figure it out what the hell it all was!

This movie goes in so many directions, it's also pretty hard to even begin writing any kind of rational review. As a kind of comparison, try to imagine what the end result of a John Waters adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer would be like via William Castle with some bestiality thrown into the mix and some good old (extreme) graphically sexual imagery for good measure! Well, that's only the beginning.

One of the things I liked the most about it was the absolute blurring of sexualities. I dare to say that it's the first movie ever to successfully present a sort of polisexuality (does that word even exist?) and not have a judgmental attitude about it in any moment of its oh-so-short 2 hour running time. Where's that director's cut?! I want more!

As for the dutch DVD -- well, it's nothing to write home about. The picture and audio quality is dire to put it mildly and I sure cannot recommend it if you're only vaguely interested about this movie. But if you love this stuff as much as I do, well -- start clicking that "buy" button on that ebay seller page as fast as you can because this is the best you're gonna get for who knows how long.

By the way, Thundercrack! has the very best one-liners out of a Waters movie ever. Time to revive that old thread over at the Lists section?

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#17 Post by David Ehrenstein » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:36 am

I dare to say that it's the first movie ever to successfully present a sort of polisexuality (does that word even exist?) and not have a judgmental attitude about it in any moment of its oh-so-short 2 hour running time. Where's that director's cut?! I want more!
Wish there was more. But you'll find the same polysexual spirit in Shortbus.

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Lino
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#18 Post by Lino » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:31 pm

That's good to know. I have really high expectations about Shortbus but I'm afraid I'll only be able to watch it when the DVD comes out. Luckily, it's due out soon.

The official Thundercrack! website is advertising a new director's cut of the movie with roughly a half hour more of footage for ages now. I wish they would get it out. This movie deserves a lot more attention and reappraisal than what it's getting now.

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Lino
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#19 Post by Lino » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:35 pm

This guy over at ioffer.com claims to be selling the uncut version of Thundercrack!. Worth a try at that price, I should think. Anyone bought it?

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Matt
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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#20 Post by Matt » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:44 pm


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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#21 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:26 pm

After looking around for bootleg copies of this, I saw that it's listed on Mubi.com (though it's difficult to tell whether it's actually available for viewing; I'm not familiar with the site). They have similar pages for McDowell's Lunch and some of his short films (Loads, etc.). Does anybody use Mubi and can they confirm whether this is actually available to view through their site?

http://mubi.com/films/thundercrack" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Matt
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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#22 Post by Matt » Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:01 pm

It's not available to watch. Anything that is available would have a" WATCH FILM" button underneath the large still image.

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R0lf
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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#23 Post by R0lf » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:30 pm

Synapse tweeted as late as March this year that they are still working on releasing Thundercrack! I hope with the effort being put in that we'll see a bluray!

I'd also recommend The Devils Cleavage.

You can watch a number of Kuchars best shorts here - http://www.ubu.com/film/kuchar.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And genre wise for something well in line with Thundercrack! I'd recommend the original Spanish dub of the Isabel Sarli/Armando Bo epic FUEGO.

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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#24 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:12 pm

Thanks for the info and the recommendations. I've seen (and enjoyed) the major Kuchar films (Sins of the Fleshapoids, Hold Me When I'm Naked, I, An Actress) but I've been recently getting into McDowell's work, and I'm surprised that he doesn't have more of a following. (I suppose it may be because his films are so hard to see?) I recently got a bootleg DVD of his short films from iOffer, which was an absolutely fantastic deal. There's not a bad film (or should I say an uninteresting film) in the bunch. A Visit to Indiana is hilarious; Boggy Depot, a campy, no-budget 17-minute musical (starring Kuchar), is wonderfully strange, funny, and even sweet. And the sex films (Loads, Ronnie, etc.) are beautiful and unusual in addition to being very hot. Honestly Boggy Depot might be my favorite, simply because it has such a charming homemade quality to it. My partner and I have been going around quoting it and singing the songs--which are impossible to get out of your head--all week.

I may have found a lead on getting a copy of Thundercrack, though it would be great if Subversive ever comes out with a definitive edition.

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Re: Thundercrack! (Curt McDowell, 1975)

#25 Post by Ashirg » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:54 pm

Subversive is no more, you must've meant Synapse. At least it's listed in their recently posted 2013 slate.

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