£12.00Current stock: 2
Director: Julian Roffman
Label: Something Weird Video
There are two kinds of people in The Bloody Brood, PETER FALK’s first movie: hipsters and squares. Squares are suckers in gray flannel suits who sleepwalk through the old nine to five, while hip, bongo beatniks badmouth straight society and populate a grungy basement subculture where anything goes. “Your Shocked Eyes Will See It... Your Stunned Mind Won’t Believe It!” screamed the ads.
Falk plays drug pusher Nico, walking a tightrope between the equally sinister worlds of organized crime and subterranean nihilism ala Maynard G. Krebs. All the beats care about are “kicks,” and when Falk discovers that death is the greatest kick of all, he and a pal play Leopold & Loeb with an innocent delivery boy who dies in agony after munching on a burger garnished with ground glass and a pickle. Royally pissed, the kid’s brother tracks Falk to his hipster hangout and pulls a stunt straight out of Hamlet to reveal the killers...
This Canadian effort is still enjoyable decades after it was produced thanks to Falk’s powerful acting, and the moody lensing of pioneer cinematographer EUGENE SCHUFTAN. Best of all is the movie’s characterization of the basement bohemians who have cut all ties to the square world in exchange for bongos, booze, and be-bop. This is the crew who dug Lenny Bruce, extemporized poetry, and partied on with a vengeance.
In the uptight, cold war era of the 1950s, the beat generation scared the stuffing out of squares, who saw them as subversive fifth columnists threatening to destroy The American Way of Life from within. To the Father Knows Best world, the beats were dangerous, decadent hedonists in berets and leotards – integrated before the civil rights movement and sexually liberated before the swinging sixties. Since few outsiders really knew what the beatniks’ hip woe was all about (the beats weren’t so sure themselves), filmmakers portrayed them as ridiculous or, as in this case, just plain evil.
Released here in 1962, directed by JULIAN “Put The Mask on now!” ROFFMAN, and transferred from a brooding 35mm print “That Peels Off the Dirty Sweaters Covering the Raw Emotions of Youth!”-- Hal Moffat