Synopsis by Karl Williams
Decried as obscene upon its initial release, this short documentary style feature from avant garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger contains no dialogue and rapidly inter-cuts images against a score of slyly selected pop tunes, predating the advent of the music video by a decade and a half. Delving into the homoerotic world of bikers, Anger focuses his camera on Scorpio (Bruce Byron), a leather-wearing, crystal methamphetamine-snorting bad boy who is alternately compared to Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler and the Devil, depending on his activities. Scorpio is seen strutting his stuff, racing his bike, vandalizing a church and attending a rowdy party where a fellow reveler is tortured and humiliated by the bikers. Through it all, Anger draws clear parallels between Scorpio's crowd, sadism and homosexuality, with alternately subtle and obvious montages depicting snippets of other films, comic strips, plenty of gleaming phallic chrome, and symbols like the Nazi swastika. Considered by many to be one of the first post-modern films, Scorpio Rising (1964) was a controversial hit only on the underground circuit, but its style greatly influenced a generation of popular filmmakers, most notably director Martin Scorsese.