Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Delicious Delicious
February 20, 2014 8:53 AM   Subscribe

"Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. " The Awl talks to the director of the film about his plans for a sequel.
posted by The Whelk (46 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lotta great lines I remember from that movie ...

"She's just a stuck-up WASP c*nt from Connecticut."

Sequel is a bad idea.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:01 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I would venture to say it's the only film about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers etc.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:02 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Great, now Me and My Rhythmbox will be stuck in my head all afternoon.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:03 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


Agh, I wish I had known about the NYC screening earlier. I've never seen this and maybe ten years ago, my my mother -- who, like Tsukerman was a Jewish artist from the USSR -- told me that I have to see this movie because due to the combination of drugs, electronic music and UFOs "it was made for you." I couldn't find it anywhere at the time and totally forgot about it and now I'm going to make a point of tracking it down.
posted by griphus at 9:08 AM on February 20


It was also a great record store.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:08 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


griphus, it has never occurred to me that you haven't watched this film. I assumed it would've just been issued to you in High School or something.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on February 20


People mostly remember Anne Carlisle for her tour de force double performance in this film, but I like to think about costar Paula E. Sheppard, who only ever appeared in this and in the lead role as a psychotic pre-teen in Alice Sweet Alice, which, in my book, makes her the John Cazale of cult movies.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:13 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


Great, now Me and My Rhythmbox will be stuck in my head all afternoon.

"It never eats
It never shits ..."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:20 AM on February 20


I absolutely love Liquid Sky, but a sequel seems as bad an idea as a Repo Man sequel. I do love the animated GIF in the linked article though.

We discussed the film previously on Metafilter. Here's a clip from my favorite scene in the movie, the fashion show.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


It was also a great record store.

Are you referring to Liquid Sky Music? I loved their Jungle Sky imprint. I haven't seen the movie, but that label (at least it's head, DJ Soul Slinger), had a fascination with aliens. Ab-duct-ed ...
posted by filthy light thief at 9:25 AM on February 20


I still have a hard time believing that this was something I didn't just hallucinate.
posted by malocchio at 9:26 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard this, but I am excited to watch it.
posted by azarbayejani at 9:30 AM on February 20


That's a good point about Paula E. Sheppard, Bunny Ultramod, she was very good in an unpleasant role. I wonder where she was when they were casting I Shot Andy Warhol? It's always been a mystery to me that none of the folks involved with this film went on to have much of a filmmaking career. I mean I get that it's a weird trashy cult film, but it really was beautiful and inventive and interesting. Anne Carlisle's big breakthrough afterwards was a bit part in Crocodile Dundee.

I seem to remember reading somewhere, maybe here on Metafilter, that the whole film got financed mostly as an immigration dodge for Slava Tsukerman. Does that ring a bell for anyone? I could be entirely wrong.
posted by Nelson at 9:31 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


If memory serves me correctly, Rolling Stone described Anne Carlisle (in the caption to a photo I had taped to my locker), referencing her dual role, as the only person in cinematic history to give herself a blowjob.
posted by Gelatin at 9:41 AM on February 20


Who can forget the strident electronic music? This was really strange stuff for its time. Wikipedia nails it perfectly: "ominous, dissonant arrangements and nightmarish marches."
posted by crapmatic at 9:42 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, Anne Carlisle did a shoot for Playboy (NSFW: naked woman) as part of Liquid Sky. It's an awful series, but I am astounded at the Internet's generosity.
posted by Nelson at 9:45 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I need to watch this again. A friend showed it to me in college and I found it obnoxious to the point of almost turning it off. But that was 10 years ago and I've been reevaluating a ton of movies lately.
posted by brundlefly at 9:51 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Who can forget the strident electronic music yt ? This was really strange stuff for its time. Wikipedia nails it perfectly: "ominous, dissonant arrangements and nightmarish marches."

Excellent soundtrack. Like the film itself, it really came from outta nowhere.
For some context, here's a source piece by Baroque composer Marin Marais.
posted by ovvl at 9:53 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I saw Liquid Sky in the theatre when it first came out and was enthralled by it. It really is one of a kind, and any sequel will have to be extremely good to to it justice.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:54 AM on February 20


We discussed the film previously on Metafilter.

My comment from that thread feels relevant here ...

Saw it at least three times back in the day. It didn't get better with repeated viewings. Yet, I imagine it does speak of a very particular point in time (mid-80s) and place (urban art scene) in a way that not much else could.

The first time I saw it was particularly memorable as it was a double-bill (a matinee yet) with Eraserhead, which, needless to say, had a far greater impact on me, both short and long term. I can still remember the day actually. Mid-winter in Vancouver, raining damned hard. Come to think of it, it was always raining in the 80s -- the whole damned decade. And it was always winter, too.


To which I'd add, yeah, the music was probably the best part.
posted by philip-random at 10:20 AM on February 20


This. Liquid Sky. Though a movie, Liquid Sky influenced me as much as any piece of music ever. Seeing it in 1983 was a hallucinogenic experience: something had taken place, it was unlike any other something, I was unsure what had taken place, it was difficult to piece together, and it was somehow unforgettable.

I was 18 when I experienced it, and it makes all the sense in the world to me now that I experienced it here.



And of course that a Liquid Sky post was created by The Whelk, mefi's own psychedelic pop culture superhero. "Look up in the sky, it's ...ooooh...wow..." Indeed.
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:24 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


...And I am androgynous not less than David Bowie himself. And they call me beautiful, and I kill with my cunt. Isn't it fashionable? Come on, who's next?

This line calls out for a sequel.

When the movie was first released I was a college student, and came at the movie from seeing the Playboy spread of Anne Carlisle first. When I saw the movie, I was in quite the partied out state and I remember thinking as I sat there trying to maintain, "Wow, these people are more fucked up than I am."

Not sure I would watch a sequel.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:38 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


"Perfect embodiment of camp"? I don't buy it.

Just because you have drag queens in a movie does NOT automatically make it "camp". Perhaps Liquid Sky has aged badly - I haven't seen it in decades - but as I remember it, some scenes were funny, but some scenes were really nasty and hard to watch.

I first saw it here, probably around 1983, before I moved to New York City...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:17 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Someday I'll have to watch this and Café Flesh head to head (as it were; the latter is an artsy porn flick, co-written by Jerry Stahl of Permanent Midnight fame) to see how they compare.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:57 AM on February 20


I would venture to say it's the only film about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers etc.
No, there's also Gregg Araki's Nowhere, which (has like the most gorgeous, weird set design ever) I think is the better film, and Gregg Araki's Kaboom, which is probably the least of the three but still definitely worth watching if you like colorful films about fashion, heroin psychedelics, New Wave shoegaze/post-rock clubs, UFOs, etc.
posted by byanyothername at 12:40 PM on February 20


Who can forget the strident electronic music? This was really strange stuff for its time. Wikipedia nails it perfectly: "ominous, dissonant arrangements and nightmarish marches."

And interestingly, it was the first movie soundtrack to be made ENTIRELY on a computer. This became really common with cheaper TV shows and some smaller movies later on, but at the time it was a big deal.

The system it was made on looks soooo 60s/early 70s too.

That said, why does everything have to get a sequel now? why cant people just make something fucking new? It's spreading from blockbuster stuff like robocop down to little arthouse movies like this? UGH
posted by emptythought at 12:57 PM on February 20


I saw a screening last month in Dallas. The director was in attendance and took questions afterwards. He claimed that all the laughs in the film were purely intentional. I tend to think of camp humor as laughing at things that were not originally intended to be funny. It's certainly possible that he updated his view of the film to get with the times though.
posted by ericthegardener at 1:46 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I have such affection for this movie. I saw it in '82 or '83 in an arthouse theater in Philly. I moonlighted as a DJ and there was a very small scene that was accepting of this kind of music. I remember trying out the fashion, mostly the hair, for a few months before settling back into Ska, Madonna, Prince, Eddie Grant and the huge influences that MTV still had on club music.
I vote NO to as sequel.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:58 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


And interestingly, it was the first movie soundtrack to be made ENTIRELY on a computer.

Not just any computer (or CMI)—it was on the Fairlight at NYC's PASS (Public Access Synthesizer Studio), an amazing and lamented institution that is mostly undocumented, despite its pivotal role in the creation of a lot of amazing work. Someday, that would be an amazing FPP for someone.

Part of why the soundtrack, which does include one non-computerized track, actually ("Me and My Rhythm Box"), has searing, ear-shredding edges like heroin sizzling on blowtorch-blasted broken glass is that the early generations of Fairlight CMI didn't have anti-aliasing filters, so all the ultrasonic sidebands generated by low sample rate, low bitrate samples being transposed and used in chords send shrieking odd harmonic distortion through what is already a shrill composition and gives it that perfect unsettling razoriness.
posted by sonascope at 2:00 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


"the only person in cinematic history to give herself a blowjob".

LOL! That's hilarious but I don't think it's remotely the case. Unless it's the she/he part that singles this performance out (but even then...).
posted by cleroy at 3:14 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Excellent soundtrack. Like the film itself, it really came from outta nowhere

It's also out of print and worth a lot of money. I found a copy at a used CD store once for 6 or 7 bucks and sold it on Amazon for more than $100.
posted by Clustercuss at 3:31 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I walked into the middle of this film when it came out, theater-switching, and the first line I saw was "you see, I kill with my cunt."

Junkie alien UFOs heroin blah blah, just seemed like it was trying way too hard to be cool. I moved on. Pink Flamingos, which was still showing on the midnight movie circuit at this same time, is 100 times better if you want edgy.
posted by msalt at 4:24 PM on February 20


> Not just any computer (or CMI)—it was on the Fairlight at NYC's PASS

Oh, I have fond memories of PASS from the time! That was the first place I ever used a Yamaha DX-7.

> (Public Access Synthesizer Studio), an amazing and lamented institution

Lament not - it still exists and is going strong, it merely changed its name to Harvestworks. I went to a show there last month and almost went to one on Tuesday.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:28 PM on February 20


"She's just a stuck-up WASP c*nt from Connecticut."

We're grownups; you don't have to censor "cunt." Cunt cunt cunty cunt.

Also, two people liked your misquote. "Margaret is an uptight WASP cunt from Connecticut." Like that, please.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:43 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


That's hilarious but I don't think it's remotely the case. Unless it's the she/he part that singles this performance out

No, really. At one point Margaret (the main character, played by Carlisle) goes down on Jimmy (a male model, also played by Carlisle). Of course they used body doubles during the shooting, but still...
posted by Gelatin at 5:00 PM on February 20


We're grownups; you don't have to censor "cunt." Cunt cunt cunty cunt.

Yeah, well, I thought better of it as I was posting from work and probably shouldn't even have been on this page. But I couldn't resist.

Like THAT, please. :P
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:24 PM on February 20


I found it obnoxious to the point of almost turning it off.

Agreed. Stayed to the end, waiting for the Good Part that never came.
posted by Rash at 6:14 PM on February 20


OK, Liquid Sky totally made me a homosexual, and this interview is great.

Thank you!!
posted by latkes at 7:10 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


The scene where Adrian goes "Who wants to see me fuck Margaret and not die" is burned into my brain. Gah!!!!! Scary and disturbing.
posted by geeklizzard at 7:17 PM on February 20


my my mother -- who, like Tsukerman was a Jewish artist from the USSR -- told me that I have to see this movie because due to the combination of drugs, electronic music and UFOs

Um... can I read your memoir please?
posted by latkes at 7:18 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I stumbled across the soundtrack in grade school and listened to it near constantly for decades before I finally got to see the movie.

It didn't live up to its music.
posted by sourwookie at 8:32 PM on February 20


Oh wow, Anne Carlisle did a shoot for Playboy

Helmut Newton could have done so much better with the same idea.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:16 PM on February 20


I'm glad to see I'm not the only person to be confused by the love given to this film.
It's certainly a memorable film. I'll give it that.
posted by Mezentian at 11:33 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I had always heard what a great film Liquid Sky was and finally got to see it on video about 10 years ago. The humour was sardonic and the film effects hilariously camp.
It would be hard to make a sequel in these days of Rap music and CGI effects.

As mentioned Liquid Sky is a pleasant reminder of the early 1980s along with Repo Man and Android (Klaus Kinski is in the leading role).
posted by Narrative_Historian at 1:28 AM on February 21


Mind you, Liquid Sky is pretty singular, so perhaps the director should watch The Last Picture Show, then immediately watch Texasville as a fair warning of how even the same director and same cast can never go home again.
posted by sonascope at 6:29 AM on February 21


What's Android like? I think Repo Man holds up pretty well.
posted by msalt at 2:48 PM on February 21


« Older In 1929, Italian artist (author of The Futurist ma...  |  Alphabeard:... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments