If you’re not familiar with the films of the Kuchar Brothers, prepare yourself for their 1966 magnum opus Sins of the Fleshapoids, screening at Pacific Film Archive at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20th. Unless you’ve spent a lot of time attending underground film festivals, you’ve never seen anything quite like it, and PFA is dusting off its pristine archival print for the occasion.
Shot silently and in color by Mike Kuchar (with brother George amongst the cast), Fleshapoids is set “a million years in the future” where “the fleshapoids are mechanical men (who are) the servants of the human race”, according to narrator Mike Cowan, whose quavering, overly dramatic tones make Plan 9 From Outer Space’s Criswell compare favorably with Walter Cronkite.
The film’s surprisingly contemporary conclusion is that these creatures have developed a dangerous sentience causing them to revolt against their human masters. Did Stanley Kubrick see Sins of the Fleshapoids before conceiving the project that Steven Spielberg would later complete as A.I.?
Be warned: this is a low-budget, New York-shot short with speech bubbles in lieu of dialogue and embarrassingly bad costuming, make-up and acting – especially by Cowan, who doubles up as a fleshapoid bearing an uncanny resemblance to The Producers‘ Franz Liebkind. Perhaps both Kubrick and Kenneth Mars were Kuchar Brothers fans!