Scorpio Rising

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German title Scorpio Rising
Original title Scorpio Rising
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1963
length 30 minutes
Director Kenneth Anger
script Kenneth Anger,
Ernest D. Glucksman
production Ernest D. Glucksman,
Arthur P. Schmidt
music various
camera Kenneth Anger
cut Kenneth Anger

Scorpio Rising is an avant-garde short film by the American director Kenneth Anger from 1963 .


Scorpio Rising consists of several loosely linked sequences, each of which is accompanied by a piece of music from the 1950s or 1960s . Often these stand in ironic contrast to the content of the film (e.g. ... she wore blue velvet to pictures of rockers in leather clothes). There are no dialogues or other spoken texts.

At the beginning of the film, teenage rocker Scorpio (Bruce Byron) is shown preparing to meet his biker gang by tinkering with his motorcycle, polishing it and putting on a leather uniform. In several cuts you can see windable tin motorcycles and a skeleton.

Another member of the gang lies in bed, smoking, reading the comic book page of the newspaper. There are numerous pictures of James Dean on the wall , and every now and then an excerpt from the film The Wild with Marlon Brando , another idol of the youngsters , can be seen.

In the next section of the film the meeting of the bikers is shown. It's a dissolute Halloween party that takes on the form of an orgy. Some visitors wear devil masks or are disguised as skeletons, the symbol of the skull is omnipresent. The entire scene is spooky and has a homoerotic touch. Again and again scenes from the life of Jesus Christ can be seen (Jesus heals a blind man, Jesus visits the tax collector Zacchaeus , Jesus enters Jerusalem ). Scorpio leaves the party and drives to a church, where he destroys the altar and sets up swastika flags and skulls.

The following part shows a race of motorcyclists and also contains numerous symbols of National Socialism, such as the swastika, combat boots and steel helmets . Also Wehrmacht soldiers and Adolf Hitler are to be seen. The film ends with the death of a biker, probably the main character Scorpio.


Scorpio Rising does not contain any dialogue, it is only accompanied by music. The following songs can be heard in the film in this order:

An alternate version of the film also includes the track Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las .

Style and influence

Scorpio Rising is full of symbols and paraphernalia of National Socialism , occultism , Christianity , masochism , the gay scene and pop culture . It shows the dark life of a motorcycle gang between sadism , drug use, violence and destruction.

The way the film was made, with its fast cuts, unconventional images and their connection with music, had a major impact on the creation and development of music videos and television advertising, as well as postmodern film.

The directors who significantly influenced Kenneth Anger's work include Martin Scorsese , Roger Corman , George Lucas , David Lynch (with restrictions, see comments and reviews ) and Rainer Werner Fassbinder . In particular with regard to the use of pop music in film, Scorpio Rising had a pioneering role, which was later taken up by Scorsese in Hexenkessel , Lucas in American Graffiti or Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider .

Comments and critiques

“When I first saw this free association between music and images and graphic signs, this juxtaposition of banal and scandalous images, and this way of telling a story through pop music - which is completely different from the story that the music creates told - and in the process created a connection between pop culture and the forbidden culture: that was a window onto a world I didn't know - not just the homoerotic biker world, but a completely new way of understanding things. Scorpio sure is seminal. His influence may have been exhausted now that MTV is out, but I know he was a huge influence on Scorsese - Mean Streets is heavily influenced by it. Bob Rafelson's film about bodybuilders, Stay Hungry, has settings straight out of Scorpio Rising. - And after reading the script for Blue Velvet I was amazed when David Lynch told me he didn't know Scorpio Rising. Most filmmakers know him. "

- Paul Schrader , director and screenwriter ( Taxi Driver )

See also

Web links