Caligula goes to the ropes with Gordian Vizier and BEHOLD!s some crazy shit!
Published on Friday, July 31, 2009 – 1:33 PM. (www.coolfilmnews.com)
Hey folks. Caligula in Chicago here, penciling in beer time with the prez.
Gordian Vizier should wrestle me. I don’t know how much the guy can dead lift, but that doesn’t matter. He is the PERFECT heel. If you met me in public, what you’d see is a big tub of lard, swilling Icees and walking around in purple crocs, not the silver-haired tyrant that my internet handle purports me to be. But damn, Gordian keeps up kayfabe CONSTANTLY. If I could just stand in the ring with him for five minutes and let him slap me around, I’d be a superhero, a god, people would say it was the best match of all time. I mean, I kinda hate the guy… he’s pompous, a sicko, an asshole… but people LOVE to hate him… and I was told he gives a unique interview. So when I heard he was in Chicago to promote BEHOLD! THE FLAMING CHARIOT, I had to meet up with him.
I feel like… the time is right for Gordian. The pump has been primed. People might actually GET IT, for the first time. Now that we have seen Sacha Baron Cohen’s BORAT and BRUNO, well… these guys have been punking people for more than forty years now. The Church of Satan is maybe the world’s most sublime satire performance. They never give you that wink, they’re always staying true to character, baiting the morons of the world into doing and saying the craziest shit. The difference is, they don’t just let you watch them do it to other people. If you see them in action and something they do connects with you, you were their target. Now, BEHOLD! isn’t anything terribly new. Some will dismiss it as experimental garbage or shock artistry. But what Gordian is doing is getting out into the world and pushing it on people, doing this live performance when it exhibits that’s really just as much the point as the film itself. I caught him after a screening at Facets Cinémathèque in Chicago and he was nice enough to sit down with me and completely violate all common courtesy and decency in some truly batshit ways.
Before I post the interview, a word of warning: BEHOLD!... it’s the kind of movie that will make some people physically ill. The gore is graphic, the nudity shocking and the exploitation is totally believable. If you didn’t know it was an act (and yes, it IS an act) you might want to burn this guy at the stake for what you saw. But that’s why he does it. So, here’s my interview with the devil himself, the leader of the Church of Satan, Gordian Vizier:
CALIGULA: Gordian, glad you could make it to Chicago tonight.
GORDIAN VIZIER: You smell like a festering tit. Keep that in mind if I start to gag.
CALIGULA: Ahhh… I think I just spilled some yogurt on my shirt…
GV: Fantastic. I’m being interviewed by a barbarian.
CALIGULA: (laughs) You know, they weren’t joking about the Ian McKellan thing.
GV: Ian McKellan? Who’s that?
CALIGULA: Oh, he’s British. Gandalf? Magneto? You’re not familiar? It’s uncanny.
GV: Ahhh, OK. The actor from the movies. I have been likened to worse than that.
CALIGULA: OK, first question… I’ve heard people compare BEHOLD! THE FLAMING CHARIOT to Kenneth Anger’s mid-career work like SCORPIO RISING. How would you respond to these people?
GV: I’d respond by telling them to have intercourse with a heap of shit.
CALIGULA: (laughs) Alright, for my readers who don’t know… Anger kind of defines avant garde film if you ask some big names. David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, John Waters. I mean, its hard to see BLUE VELVET, TAXI DRIVER or PINK FLAMINGOS quite the same way after you watch SCORPIO RISING. These guys were all big Anger fans and it shows.
GV: Kenneth is still preoccupied with placing his penis between other men’s buttocks.
CALIGULA: (laughs) Ahhh… well, there is that, uhhh… that is a subtext of it, I guess…
GV: Kenneth jerks off in a bowl and drinks it and says that he’s found the elixir of life.
CALIGULA: Now, I’ve never met Kenneth but I hear you’ve known him for quite a while.
GV: I met him at a department store twenty years ago and I regret to say I haven’t found a convenient excuse to murder him yet. Once in Zurich I nearly dropped him down an elevator shaft, but unfortunately the doors closed before I could push.
CALIGULA: Good to know. Why the hostility towards Kenneth?
GV: He believes in his own lies. Someone forgot to tell him that he was a smut peddler and now he thinks he’s a prophet. If you ever do meet him and decide to murder him yourself, you will tell him it comes with warm regards from me, won’t you?
CALIGULA: I think the chances of that happening are pretty low.
CALIGULA: Alright, moving on… BEHOLD! is one of the hardest movies to watch that I think I’ve ever seen. I think I’m still a little bit in revulsion from it. Is this the reaction that you were hoping for when you created it?
GV: I was actually hoping that you would enjoy it.
CALIGULA: The family torture scene… now, calling it a scene is kind of misleading because I think this went on for about twenty minutes or so. It’s mind-numbingly realistic, not like HOSTEL or THE WIZARD OF GORE. Were you sending a political message with this scene? I mean, a lot of the techniques look like they could have been ripped from an Abu Ghraib photo, or something out of the Khmer Rouge training manual.
GV: You’re implying that I oppose the use of violence to achieve political or personal goals?
CALIGULA: Well, I, uhhh… well, I suppose you wouldn’t, huh.
GV: Not against those who beg for it.
CALIGULA: Alright. OK… so, in BEHOLD!, you’re saying that because this family sort of, I guess… uncritically supports violence that this makes it alright for others to come and… well, the tongs, the sexual situations… you’re saying that’s justified, that if this family is ignorant and wishes harm on others that that makes it OK to do these things to them?
GV: Stupidity absolves oneself of nothing.
CALIGULA: Good to know, good to know.
GV: This world is full of offensively stupid people that assume they can piss all over their fellow humans in the name of their God or their country and that they will be protected from retribution. I am here to show them that history tends to reveal this stupidity for what it is, and that nobody is safe from anything. That is a fairly happy revelation once you finally come to it, don’t you think?
CALIGULA: Wow. OK… alright. Let’s, uhhh… move on. Some people might call this performance art. You’re sort of taking this film on tour with you, you’ve got showings lined up in different cities this summer. Why do this yourself? Why come? I mean, does the experience of the film change when you are there in person?
GV: I’m here to prevent them from switching it off mid-reel.
CALIGULA: You’ve probably got your work cut out for you!
CALIGULA: So from what I heard in the discussion before the movie, you’re without a film crew at present. Are there any plans for a follow-up to BEHOLD!, or is this one-and-done for you?
GV: I’m working with a group called Salamander Studios starting in August to produce a new propaganda piece for the Church of Satan that’s meant to come off as some kind of reality documentary or whatever is popular now. They tell me I will make millions.
CALIGULA: Never heard of them. So, let me get this right: you’re saying Satan is a bankable investment?
GV: Of course. He has kept us in business for these last forty years!
And there you have it. Gordian’s schedule is bringing him to a number of engagements over the next few weeks, and I’m assured that a DVD of BEHOLD! THE FLAMING CHARIOT will be available sometime this fall. I’m not recommending that you see it, but the opportunity to visit Gordian – who has been in the news a bit lately – in all his antisocial glory… there’s a kind of black magic about the guy. If you do bump into him, tell him that I’m ready for our cage match whenever he is!