“Why should Bogart Peter Stuyvesant go to war and kill strangers, when the pickings are better in his own bedroom?”
Written and Directed by Robert Thom who is perhaps best known for his Wild In The Streets 1969. For me his film that really struck a chord was his configuration of childhood abuse in ,The Witch Who Came From The Sea 1976 while a little fractured, slightly queasy in it’s linear storytelling, was a startling, unsettling, imaginary, and often disturbing piece of work, much thanks to Millie Perkins’ performance.
Consider that Thom also wrote the scripts for Bloody Mama 1970, Crazy Mama 1975 and Death Race 2000 (1975). Angel Angel Down We Go is perhaps a psychedelic take on the Rasputin archetype with a modern conflation of the Svengali mystique.
The film opens with Tara Nicole revealing to us, through Tara’s childlike imaginings, her childhood and the mythical parentage by the outre wealthy Steeles, they are as Demi-Gods from Mount Olympus. We see her musings in flashback and via graphic collage work that depicts her life as it was, as it is now, and as it will be.
Tara Nicole recites a glorified fantasy completely contrary to what her life truly is. She is being sarcastic, she is teasing us with the truth. She is the cultivation of a female monster, who’s lack of nurturing, exposure to abuse and mistreatment has manifested something abhorrent to the world, but mostly to herself, a self-loathing, loveless thing, vulnerable to the dark prince in Bogart Peter Stuyvesant, who will come to the palace and awaken her sleeping rage.
On the surface, A perverse, grotesque fairy tale , about an over-weight heiress who’s parents are hypocrites and superficial, living in a psychologically toxic battlefield of emotional turmoil, self-serving, repressed and angry enough to create a bitter, ugly and lonely world for their only child, a life Tara cannot live up to, nor can she satisfy the expectations put upon her nor fit into this artificial world.
Enter chaos, enter entropy, enter Bogart Peter Stuyvesant. Tara meets him at her coming out ball, a party thrown by her mother Astrid, not to celebrate her glorious daughter’s coming of age, but as a showcase for Astrid’s bejeweled necklace that ‘Marie Antoinette wore at her beheading’. An opulent bauble, a shiny thing, a symbol of the empty and idle collectors, wealthy American’s become with their plunder of the poor masses. So the film will inform you over and over again.
A lysergic cinematic (ACID CINEMA) tale about a tragic fat princess who refers to herself as ‘Virgin Americanis.’ Until she sees Bogart gyrating his pelvis in skin tight leather hip huggers on stage, she nearly swoons from the sight of his crotch. He is singing the film’s theme song, “Angel Angel Down We Go”. The theme is the Fall of The American Empire. The fall of the Steele family, the American Imperialist hypocrites who languish in their wealth, and self hating misery. Hallucinogenics for the now generation, and booze and pills still the drug of choice for the breed of uptight Americans.
Is there anti-fat sentiment in the film or is it as offensive as it intends to be so? As Tara represents the spoiled ‘fat’ and languid American Bourgeoisie when Roddy McDowall paws at Tara on the bed and spews out “God is America FAT!” while pawing her like a piece of meat.