Kuchar Brothers in The New York Times

Twins Who are as Eccentric as the Films They Make

Mike Kuchar, left, and George, underground and avant-garde. Photo credit Patrick Siemer/IndiePix

Mike Kuchar, left, and George, underground and avant-garde. Photo credit Patrick Siemer/IndiePix

George and Mike Kuchar, twin brothers from the Bronx, are among the most prolific and inventive American filmmakers of the past half-century, and perhaps the most eccentric. Avid moviegoers as children, they began making 8 millimeter epics, and after graduating from the High School of Industrial Arts in New York they gravitated toward the thriving underground film scene. Shooting cheaply, devising homemade special effects and casting friends and acquaintances, the Kuchars produced — sometimes in collaboration, sometimes apart — touchstones of the 1960s cinematic avant-garde like “Corruption of the Damned,” “Sins of the Fleshapoids” and “Hold Me While I’m Naked.”

Jennifer M. Kroot’s documentary “It Came From Kuchar” provides generous clips of these and later films, enough to give a flavor of the brothers’ blend of camp, melodrama, horror, psychological exploration and sexual provocation. (And also at least a superficial sense of the differences between them.) This sampling is fleshed out by interviews with George and Mike Kuchar themselves, and also with the usual talking-head parade of friends, colleagues, critics and students.

The portrait that emerges is affectionate and fascinating. The brothers themselves are un-self-consciously talkative, unassumingly odd and frequently very funny. “Did your parents get along?” George is asked. “Oh, I wouldn’t go that far,” he replies.

“It Came From Kuchar” opens Friday at the Anthology Film Archives, and will run this weekend alongside a multipart selection of the Kuchars’ 8 millimeter shorts. Ms. Kroot’s film, while more conventional in tone and structure than anything her subjects have ever done, is nonetheless a valuable and intelligent introduction and tribute to their anarchic, uncompromising and absolutely peculiar genius.

— A. O. Scott


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Written and directed by Jennifer M. Kroot; director of photography, Christopher Million; edited by Tom Bullock; produced by Holly Million; released by IndiePix. At the Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at Second Street, East Village. Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes. This film is not rated.