Tuesday, November 30, 2010
SATYRICON (1969, ITALY)
(Rod and Chip Go To the Movies, Part 2)
The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The events depicted are real…sort of.
Sometime during the 80’s…
My friend Rod and I were looking forward to seeing tonight’s double feature at the Peachtree Street's Silver Screen. We had seen many double features at the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center theater, but Satyricon and Sebastiane came equipped with an Adults Only label. It hadn’t been hard to convince Rod to come with me to see this one.
At arrival, we were a bit surprised at the long line outside the theater, but we shrugged and took our place. On the other hand, the guy ahead of us was getting a little impatient.
“They need to pipe some disco music out here, “we overheard him say to his friend.
The voice sounded familiar. He turned and looked at us.
“Hey!” he said. “Didn’t I see you two at Night of the Living Dead a couple of weeks ago.”
“Oh, yeah.” Rod said. “Your were dressed as Frank-n-Furter. Yeah. How are you?”
“I’m a little cold,” Frank –n-Furter said. “Oh, this is my partner, Bruce.”
“Oh.” Rod said. He pointed at me. “This is…the guy I go to school with.”
“How do you do?” Bruce said to us.
Why did he feel the need to emphasize the first do? I thought.
Before I puzzled on this any further, the line began moving and we headed in.
“Hey, Rod.” I said quietly as we moved to the theater ticket booth. “There’s a lot of guys here. A lot of guys that look like they’re…together.”
“You worry too much. You have to expect a little of that. This is Atlanta. No worries,” Rod said as we went inside.
2 hours later, after our viewing of Fellini’s Satyricon
“Well, my first Fellini movie is in the books now,” I said. “I wonder if they’re all as odd as that one”
“Sheesh.” Rod added. “No wonder Rome fell! And I’m wondering why they didn’t just hand out hits of LSD at the door so we could get a better grasp on what the hell that movie was about?”
“Ascyltus, my sword is blunted!” I said
“No, Ascyltus, my sword is much more blunted than yours!” Rod said in return.
I laughed and shook my head. “I would think a movie with hermaphrodites, albinos. quadruple amputees and hunchbacked dwarfs would be right up your alley.”
“It’s all about hunchbacked dwarfs with you. It always comes back to HUNCHBACKED DWARFS!” Rod said.
“I can see where Frank ‘n Furter and his friend would like this movie. There was a little bit too much of mano e mano affection for my tastes,” I said.
“Yeah, kind of like that Rock Hudson movie you love so much, Pillow Talk.”
“Yes, yes. Hunchbacked dwarfs and Pillow Talk. You really got me figured out! Ha Ha!”
Rod waved both hands at me indicating he wanted a truce. He came closer so he could whisper.” Let’s move on, shall we? This second movie, Sebastiane, is why this is adults only. They put in Satyricon as a prestige film, which gives them the leeway to shove in the hot and heavy adult second feature. I can just picture Frank-n-Furter and his boyfriend running screaming from the theater as soon as they show a naked breast.”
I gave Rod a thumbs up. “I think its about to start. Let’s go find our seats.”
“After you, sweetheart.” Rod said fluttering his eyelashes.
“Oh, shut up,” I said as we went in.
1 hour later, midway through Sebastiane
Rod and I stumbled out to the lobby. He glanced in my direction, but just as quickly looked away.
“I’m not sure what to say,” he said.
“I-I-I,” I can barely speak,” I struggled to get even a few words out.
“Let’s just call this what it is. That’s a gay porn flick!”
“No! Let’s not jump to conclusions. The scene where...”
“What scene? What scene could you possibly be talking about contrary to what I just said? Are you going to try to spin this into something it isn’t? There’s St. Sebastiane taking an outdoor shower. There’s a guy leering at his naked body. Pan back to Sebastiane taking a shower. There’s the guy watching him again. Pan back to Sebastiane. A close-up of him washing himself, thoroughly…I mean all over. And then…I can hardly go on.” Rod rubbed his forehead in anguish.
“Oh, God. I know! What about the scene with those two guys? What were they doing?”
“I closed my eyes through a lot of that one. They were naked and grabbing each other. Why were they doing that…that way? Rod asked.
“And in slow motion. Why did it have to be in slow-motion? I thought it would never end. And with an aria from Carmen playing in the background,” I said.
“I think that was Verdi playing in the background and God I’m real uncomfortable discussing opera right now! I’m even embarrassed my name is Rod at the moment!”
We both noticed Frank-N-Furter coming to the concession area. We turned away from him and shielded our eyes. He didn’t notice us as he quickly bought his Good N’ Plenty and head back into the theater. After he scurried past us to his seat we looked at each other again.
“Well, what should we do?” I asked.
“We could leave now. But if there are women in the second half of the movie, we would have stayed through the gay half and left before the naked women came to the island or whatever. I’m not comfortable with that.” Rod said.
“It’s a risk. It can’t get any worse than it’s already been.”
“Let’s go,” Rod said.
We proceed back into the theater with a little hope.
1 hour later, after our viewing of Sebastiane
After the movie ended, the lights came on. Before anyone else got up to leave I looked at Rod. I yelled at him. “Let’s get out of here!”
Rod took my cue and hurdled past me and headed out the front door of the Silver Screen. I scampered behind him. As we sprinted to our getaway car, we both turned to the sign that said The Silver Screen and cursed it.
“We are to never talk about this again,” he said.
“It never happened. It never happened.” I replied.