There are moments in your life that are so supremely comical that you could almost believe someone is scripting them.
Picture this: a small group of Neo-Black Panthers are staging a demonstration complete with a crate podium and megaphone on a busy metropolitan street before a crowd of looky-loos. I’m happily on my way. At the exact moment the men invoke the sobriquet “White Nazi Devils”, I — blond, blue-eyed, 6’2” — happen past, the entire assemblage turning to look at me like I just sauntered in out of central casting, prompting me to simply shrug in mortification as if to imply “Sorry?…”
Utterly embarrassing, but even I have to admit it was hilarious.
Even if you don’t have your ear to the political ground, you have to have noticed that Nazis are everywhere lately, to the extent that I’d actually bet that they’re invoked more often in political discourse than even Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Health care, civil rights, financial reform, secularism — the fuckers are behind it all. They’re such over-used go-to villains that they’re practically on par with vampires. As gays, you find yourself becoming so inured to being equated with Nazis (I can understand how tough it is for Middle Easterners and the terrorist anchor around their necks) that it starts to roll off your back. Middle America just loves casting us as encroaching shock troops out to stage a Christian Holocaust. Still, it’s easy to overlook how interwoven — in some ways imposed upon us, in other ways not so much — the Nazi aesthetic is embedded in gay culture. That image of buff, swaggering, Teutonic-looking guys with shaved pates and copious tats is pretty ubiquitous, meaning somewhere along the line we adopted and reinterpreted the brand upon us. Villainy can be such a perverse turn-on in its way, and the antagonism of oppression is such that its friction inspires a certain erotic hostility.
In the end, Nazis — be they authentic or subliminal, accurate or campy, implied or inferred — are pretty rod-inspiring despite the, y’know, genocide and forced labor, so while we’re not exactly proud to present you with some of our guilty, guilty pleasures, here are our favorite Inglorious Bastards in no particular order:
Few actors made a career out of playing Nazi evildoers like German Anton Diffring did. Movies like Where Eagles Dare, Counterpoint, and The Blue Max showcased his chilly, imposing persona to fine effect, and there’s no denying that his patrician handsomeness and silky presence — his eyes truly were unearthly in their hypothermic blueness — were straight out of Hitler’s wet dreams. Tall, fit, and radiating cunning intelligence, he worked steadily as more of a heavy/character actor than a leading man proper, and he had to privately marvel at the irony of his career trajectory. In reality, Diffring had fled Germany prior to the war because he reviled the tide of fascism. A gay man, he was actually forced into an internment camp in Canada for the entire length of the war, proving the best movie villains are essayed by kindly actors who draw on wellsprings of personal pain and suffering.
Let’s put this on the table: if you had to be held in a concentration camp, wouldn’t you want your captor to be a movie star-handsome dreamboat with great hair? That’s Dirk Bogarde in The Night Porter — a tale of transgressive love that manages to blend arthouse with sexploitative trash. Thinking man’s sex symbol Charlotte Rampling survives the Holocaust, only to find that camp guard Bogarde — her former tormentor/semi-protector with whom she had a torrid love affair while in his thrall — is now working as a night porter at the Vienna hotel she’s staying at. Fetishistic nastiness ensues. Seductive matinee idol Bogarde, also gay, has it going on here, and he had actually served as an British intelligence office during the war, an experience that reportedly made him loathe Germans to the point that he couldn’t even bear to be near one. The Night Porter’s significance in pop culture is twofold: not only did it kick off a trend of Gestapo-themed grindhouse flicks like Ilsa — She Wolf of The S.S., Salon Kitty, and Nazi Love Camp, but it arguably brought S&M couture aboveground into glossy fashion spreads and the gay club scene. Efficient.
OK, so I put one chick on the list, but the gays love drag queen manques, and Sybil Danning is a woman so formidable that she has an honorary dick. Hey, she had a werewolf threeway with a hot Latino guy and the chick who had a baby with Mick Jagger in Howling II, so color me envious. The Austrian bombshell was a cable mainstay during the ’80s, gracing epics like Nightkill, Jungle Warriors, and Young Lady Chatterly II. When I first beheld her bionic rack as a child in Hercules, it inspired a combination of awe and terror that’s hard to relate, and I vividly remember my crazy uncle having her pin-up in the garage where he housed his cheesed-up corvettes. If you were a woman, wouldn’t you want to be able to suffocate men with your breasts and snap necks with your thighs? Danning was born to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ideal leading lady, but mainstream Hollywood just couldn’t deal with her glamour. Nonetheless, she’s so perfect and authoritarian as the wicked warden in Reform School Girls that Martin Borman himself would jizz in his pants and call her “mistress.” Often photographed in jack boots brandishing guns or riding crops, the frighteningly Aryan Danning could easily level Poland with a single tit slap.
I like ‘em short, built, and butch, so you can imagine my glee upon discovering the bounty that is Alfredo Castaldo. Ignore the Spanish nom de porn — Alfredo, also billed equally inaptly as Carson Cane, is one hundred percent Hungarian beef. If you’re fan of Hungarian gay porn, then you know the typical look it employs: brunet, sculpted, gymnast-bodied. Alfredo stands out from any cookie cutter cast by virtue of his (usually shaved) red hair, freckles, thick-set no-neck physique, and phenomenal muscle ass. He started out for Csaba Borbely in jock-themed entries, graduating to wrestling and military fare. Decked out in camo and a beret and wielding a machine gun, he’s the picture of a stoic, hairless test tube baby-turned-storm-trooper, especially when he’s pogoing on a stiff dick with honor. Post-Borbely, Alfredo seemed to falter and began turning up in rough gay skinhead titles like Punks & Skinheads and Skinhead Sex Club. Clearly, typecasting’s a bitch.
The running joke when American History X hit theaters was that producers should’ve just called it American History Sex because many gay men and a whole lot of hetero women were ready to shed their panties for an amazingly bulked-up Edward Norton. All endomorphic, skull-razed, goateed, and pec-tatted, Norton’s roided-out transformation is nothing short of stunning. And you have to shake your head at the folly of the whole White Supremacist movement: outside of the movies, none of these guys exactly scream genetic superiority. Norton’s glowering, marble-fleshed behemoth certainly has to typify the physical wish fulfillment for a class of belligerent rural white males longing for a bygone past in which they were in their glury days, blaming minorities for their diminished role in the world — weirdly, none of them willing to entertain the notion that they’ve fallen by the wayside precisely because they’ve failed to adapt to a changing social spectrum. It’s evolution, baby.
Cheating dickbag. White trash scum. Odious manslut. Nazi grease monkey. Jesse James is all of the above, but by Odin’s beard, the man is molten hot. Looking like a Viking berserker who’s been time-warped into a modern age where he can no longer practice his strengths of raping and pillaging, it’s not hard to grasp why the man either leads troubled women to utter ruin or drives away those with poise and grace. Much of James’s apologetic self-mitigating seems to hinge on him beseeching “Dude — I’m totally not a Nazi!,” which would be slightly more believable were it that he didn’t immediately present as a tatted-out, knuckle-dragging good ol’ boy willingly photographed in a Gestapo hat in mid- “Heil!” salute. The prison cellmate of your dreams, James is undoubtedly a helluva ride and will surely continue his life’s work — fathering towheaded progeny, banging skanks with iron eagle tattoos, denying the Holocaust, and hitting the road upon his chrome and rubber steed — undaunted. But, Jesse, please say it just one time for us with sincerity: “I vaz only following ze orderz!”
Oz was more than just the series that blessed us with enough naked man chained heat to cast twenty Raging Stallion DVDs — it’s hands-down the greatest fucking gay show ever. Ass-raping, drug abuse, prison romance, shivs, Chris Meloni’s cavernous cleavage — Oz took risks and never jumped the shark. One of its greatest assets? The utterly vile leader of the Oswald Aryan Brotherhood known as Vern Schillinger, essayed by J.K. Simmons, an actor who single-handedly breathed life into a character so wholly repellent that mainstream TV could’ve never accommodated him. Simmon’s Nazi bastard wasn’t just an incredible dick — he actually looked like a giant erect rod, and even more contemptibly, the bastard actually fancied himself a great guy. Every actor on the series figured that he was going to be filmed in the raw at some point, and Simmons — initially paunchy and doughy — pulled off quite the make-over, metamorphosing into a pumped-up muscle monster. Sure, you found yourself screaming “Get that prick!” every time he managed to wriggle out of his just comeuppance, but admit it: that Nazi scum had one fine ass on him.
Yor — The Hunter From The Future
If you eugenically crossbred blond-tressed supermen Flash Gordon and He-Man, then the hard-body title character — described in one of my favorite reviews as “extremely blond” — from the delirious ’80s schlock epic Yor — The Hunter From The Future would be the result. Here we have a primal Aryan fantasy gussied up in ropey Eurotrash lost world adventure and goofy Star Wars knock-offery. In a Frazetta-style pagan landscape populated by saurians and primitive tribes, white-as-Wonderbread Reb Brown is Yor — the loincloth-clad hero searching for his destiny. Blond, body-waxed Yor just doesn’t fit in amongst the lesser people composed descendingly of weak-willed brunets and hominid ape-men, and there’s a reason for that angst: you see, Yor is a member of a higher race of fair-skinned, highly-evolved future people marooned in time, and so the ridiculous fantasy of a lost valley of mythical whites (the Aryan Nation’s answer to Eden) is realized here — all of it perfectly accessible at a third grade comprehension level for Cletus, Jim Bob, and Cousin Dad alike.
Ah yes, Nicky Crane — the British arch Neo-Nazi/closet case whose Uncle Tomery made even the likes of Chris Barron and Ken Mehlman look iron-spined by comparison. Standing on the forefront of the skinhead-championed British Movement during the ’80s, Crane rose to infamy as both a far right political agitator and punk music scene hanger-on. Implicated in multiple racially-motivated assaults that terrorized London, Crane — sneering, often stripped to the waist, aggressively ripped, and looking like he could pass for the third member of Right Said Fred — for a time had his cake and ate it too, enjoying the London gay nightlife while running with his gay-bashing mates. In 1992, he finally gave up the ghost on live TV — The Sun ran the headline “Nazi Nick Is A Panzi” within days — and it was subsequently revealed he had been featured in underground gay skinhead porn in the ’80s. Crane succumbed to AIDS within a year, his BM brothers having abandoned him. Still venerated as something of a folk hero in certain circles, this is the guy that foaming-at-the-mouth Social Conservatives invoke when they want to cast us as vicious, diseased thugs in wife beaters.
Before James Bond became a tuxedo-clad mannequin and his franchise degenerated into a live-action cartoon, the earliest Bond films were notable for their sex, violence, and tense plots — From Russia, With Love arguably the best of the lot. It takes a lot to make the eye stray from an in-his-prime Sean Connery, but seriously babe-like Robert Shaw as Donald “Red” Grant pulls off the unthinkable. A low-rent mook recruited by criminal syndicate SPECTRE and remodeled into a baby-blond, psychopathic killing machine, Grant is the embodiment of the emotionless Nazi super-soldier, at least on his face. Seeming to feel no pain even when he’s nailed in the abs by brass knuckle-wielding keeper Rosa Klebb, Grant is still at heart a common goon with pretensions of supervillainy and a bleach dye job — a cutting debunking of the unattainable Germanic superhuman fantasy. The tension between he and Connery’s upperclassy secret agent — both sexual and class-conscious — is Bond at its bristling best.
I’m really not prone to hyperbole: a movie like Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle is the cinematic equivalent of having to sit through a slumber party populated by the most inane teenage girls on the human record — nothing but actresses who couldn’t fight their way out of paper bags in real life hurtling through the air, dumb and flaccid men standing on the sidelines, and insipid stabs at lame-assed comedy that cause your eyes to roll back in their sockets. One only aspect — one aspect — of an otherwise irredeemable dud like this shines through: the slap-yourself, Jeebus-he’s-fiiiiiiine presence of the ultra-studly Justin Theroux as an Irish Mafia hooligan heavy. Sporting a faux-hawk, Dracula hairline, suspenders, cryptic tats, skinny-guy jeans, combat boots, and a coiled switchblade of raw muscle physique, Theroux is channeling the spirit of Nicky Crane here. Striding forth from the flames with a glower of unruly menace, he’s as mesmerizing an incarnation of Neo-Nazi swagger as I think I could ever imagine. I’d like to play at my own variation of The Night Porter with this bitch — Alpha Gay versus Totalitarian Punk in a battle royale that starts out shaking the very foundations around us and ends with brutal, vengeful, teeth-baring sex we’re not likely to survive.
© 2011, Shawn Baker. All rights reserved. Nightcharm.com