The 1001 List is made up of entries provided by a group of editors. I do not know what the exact procedure is, but I am fairly certain that the editor who writes about a movie has had a big say in including it on the List. One of these editors has a weird affinity for trash and I believe he is responsible for including some of the worst movies on the List. He must also be an influential editor for despite the obvious lack of anything resembling quality these movies survive from edition to edition, even the big culling a few years back that replaced some fifty movies from the List. The perverse thing is that this editor consistently writes enthusiastically about these movies, hyping them far above what a normal movie can meet, much less the garbage he is writing about. I have come to mistrust this editor on principle.
A case in particular is movies by Jack Smith. Already here among the 63 movies I have reviewed his “Blonde Cobra” and that was not a happy occasion. This time it is “Flaming Creatures” and it is not better. If this is the glorious peak of experimental cinema then there is really no need to spend any more time with that.
This is another case of a movie I just did not get. It can be roughly divided into three segments.
1. Women or drags or both are putting on lipstick, posing next to dicks. (yup, in your face!)
2. An orgy with a group of men and women screwing and masturbating. More dicks and breasts.
3. Drags dancing
It does not really make any sense. The most noteworthy about these scenes is the abysmally poor production value. It looks like something out of the silent era that has not been preserved well. Sometimes you cannot see what is happening and thank you for that. Other times the acting is so amateurish it looks more like home video.
In its day it caused a lot of scandal, obviously because of the amount of flaunting nudity, and maybe that is why this movie has earned a place on the List. Had I watched it at a venue back then I would have been angry, true, but not because of the sex. This piece of garbage is simply so crappy and pointless that charging money for it should be considered theft.
So, which is worse: “Blonde Cobra” or “Flaming Creatures”? Well, “Flaming Creatures” is 15 minutes longer, so there is your answer.
Rid the List of Jack Smith movies and grant the space to worthier movies. Actually, take a hard look at movies presented by this particular editor and I believe most of it could go.
Do yourself a favor and skip this movie.