Andy Warhol's Bad (Jed Johnson / U.S., 1977):

"Toilet talk in the kitchen," that’s the vortex of consumerism on the fringes, the smeared mirror nobody wants to gaze into. Queens at its greasiest stands for society, business is an electrolysis salon that doubles as a hired-killer agency, children and dogs are fair game. Carroll Baker is the queen rat, fully attuned to the underground cycles of supply and demand; at the bottom is welfare wallflower Susan Tyrrell, who displays bovine compassion and gets attacked with a can of aerosol for her trouble. Other dwellers include an Italian hit lady (Stefania Casini) who specializes in dismemberment, a Laverne & Shirley assassin sister-act (Maria and Geraldine Smith), and a vengeful heffer (Brigit Polk) who voices the presiding view of people: "The more you smell 'em, the more they stink." The fox in the henhouse is leather-jacketed lunk Perry King, whose assignment of offing an autistic kid ("Just consider it euthanasia") tests his (and the picture’s) limits of immorality. A landscape of strewn porno magazines, soiled diapers and unsightly hair, with purposely vile gags escalating from the methodical trashing of a restaurant bathroom to the switcheroo of a toddler wailing in a crib into a plastic doll splattered on the pavement. Jed Johnson is no Paul Morrissey, and King is perhaps no Joe Dallesandro, but Baker archly fulfills the Shelley Winters role, carrying the blistering satire to its natural conclusion, face down in a sink full of dirty dishes. Where’s Poppa? and Pink Flamingos might be the models, whiffs of Feiffer and Albee can be felt along the way, the end of Warhol’s cinematic interest is definitely registered. (Postmodernism burns in tandem with the neighborhood theater: "I just thank God we were showing a bad movie, otherwise a lot more people would’ve been killed.") With Charles McGregor, Gordon Oas-Heim, Mary Boylan, Susan Blond, Barbara Allen, and Lawrence Tierney.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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