Though John Waters is the name most often equated with the underground film movement of the 1970s (think Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, Female Trouble), to a subset of underground film aficionados (including Waters himself), there is a set of twin brothers that inspired and made that no-budget movement from the ground up. These brothers (who you likely have never heard of) are George and Mike Kuchar. Known as the “8mm Mozarts,” they started creating film in the early 1960′s, at the same time as Andy Warhol and Kenneth Anger. The difference here was that the Kuchar brothers were making over-the-top melodramas with titles like “I Was A Teenage Rumpot” and “Hold Me While I’m Naked.”
It Came From Kuchar is a feature-length documentary that mixes a number of filmmakers, critics, and close friends, singing the praises of the Kuchars with interviews with the brothers and footage of their films (past and present). And while it’s one of the most disconnected documentaries I’ve seen in a while, it’s also one of the most entertaining. The Kuchar brothers themselves are captivating to watch – whether they’re discussing their early filmography, sexual repression, their thoughts on filmmaking or their thoughts on art in general, you can almost always count on getting a good laugh from the semi-crazy (yet inspired) POVs the brothers take on any topic.
The clips of their films are especially interesting (more of this footage would have been interesting to include). There is 48 minutes of bonus footage included on the disc for those who can’t get enough – and most of the footage here is worth watching (based on the assumption that you deem the documentary worth watching). That many of the interviewees are laughing as they speak of the “genius” of one Kuchar brother or the other leaves a bit of an open question as to whether even the most devout followers of the Kuchars view them as true geniuses or entertaining individuals with a penchant for filmmaking. But regardless of your final viewpoint on this matter, It Came From Kuchar is a thoroughly hilarious and intriguing documentary and while it may not inspire you to make your own no-budget movies, it might just inspire you to rent some.
Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Anyone with a fascination for bad films (or at least no-budget films)
Stay Away if: You’ve never sought out a film because you heard it was “weird”
To purchase It Came From Kuchar, visit Amazon