Andy Warhol

As this record-setting week of art auctions continued, several Andy Warhol works have been sold, and one, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), netted $105.4 million, a record sum for the artist’s work. Also today a memorial Lou Reed playlist was broadcast out over Lincoln Center. It’s of course time to assess Andy Warhol’s contributions to cinematography with a look at  Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977). The final (and likely the most costly) film he produced, this film may have been Warhol’s nod to the growing cult of the films of director John Waters, who was a guest of the set for some of the shooting.

Directed by Warhol’s lover and interior designer Jed Johnson, the film itself is an interesting nexus of trash and pop culture references, much like Waters’ films, but at times taken a step further. The film stars Carroll Baker (well-known since 1956 roles in Baby Doll and Giant) as hairdresser/assassin madam Hazel Aiken, and features casually over-the–top performances from Perry King (Slaughterhouse Five (1972), Lords of Flatbush (1974), Mandingo (1975)) and Susan Tyrell (Academy-nominated for John Huston’s Fat City (1971), and “the most insane woman I’ve ever met,” according to Waters, who would later direct her in his Cry Baby (1988)).

As usual in a Warhol film, there are also inspired cameos from a plethora of semi-amateurs, such as Stefania Casini, who also appeared in Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974) and Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), Charles McGregor (famed for appearances in The French Connection (1971), Fat Freddie in Superfly (1972), and Blazing Saddles (1974)), and Max’s Kansas City denizen Cyrinda Foxe, a lover of David Bowie (with whom she appeared in his ‘Jean Genie’ promotional film), and New York Doll David Johansen, whom she would marry, only to soon leave for Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Even eternal cinema tough guy Lawrence Tierney gets a don’t-blink appearance 15 years before his Reservoir Dogs turn; and not to be forgotten, Warhol ‘superstars’ Geraldine Smith, Jane Forth and Brigid Berlin are their outrageous selves. Forth’s brief appearance comes in a scene so jaw-droppingly insane that it is likely why the film earned itself an ‘X’ rating, as well as possibly prompting Dr. Demento to revive the novelty song ‘Shaving Cream.’

Hey, there’s even a funky Hawaiian-steel-guitar-disco soundtrack by the blues-rock icon Mike Bloomfield, so you Bad-er jump on it!

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