The El Duce Tapes
A film by Rodney Ascher, David Lawrence & Ryan Sexton
Between appearing in supporting roles in General Hospital and local TV commercials, Ryan Sexton spent the early 90s documenting the life and art of El Duce, lead singer of the notorious shock rock band The Mentors on his VHS camcorder. The band was known for taking the stage in black executioner hoods and performing jaw-droppingly offensive songs, but was it all just a joke? The band spent a few moments in the national spotlight after some of their most offensive lyrics were denounced on the floor of the US Senate and a few years later, El Duce got one more brief taste of mainstream notoriety based on a inflammatory cameo in Nick Broomfield’s Kurt & Courtney.
25 years later, David Lawrence and Rodney Ascher dive into this long unseen VHS footage searching for clues about who El Duce really was, how he got that way, and what an act built around a cartoonish style of misogyny and provocation can tell us about our own time and place.
|Interviews directed by Ryan Sexton|
About the Filmmakers
Rodney Ascher innovated the genre of doc horror with his films Room 237 and The Nightmare. Room 237, which captures in excruciating detail people obsessed by their theories about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, is scarier than the actual movie. In The Nightmare, Ascher dove further into horror with his hallucinatory, genre picture approach to terrified sufferers of waking nightmares.
Surprisingly for his follow-up to The Nightmare, Ascher foregoes meticulously controlled images for a barrage of degraded video. White on blue, story-advancing title cards appropriately look like the menu screens on an old-time JVC. As for the horror, Dad’s sadism toward his children, and his facilitating of mass murder (through napalm) make his son’s juvenile boogeyman tactics a lot less disturbing than they were at the beginning of the film.Source: http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/review-the-el-duce-tapes
David Lawrence is an editor and producer, known for The El Duce Tapes (2019), Sex Madness Revealed (2018) and Director’s Commentary: Terror of Frankenstein (2015).
Ryan Sexton is an actor and director, known for From Hawai’i to the Holocaust (1993), The Toxic Avenger (1984) and The El Duce Tapes (2019).