Now what you gonna’ do with all that junk! All that junk inside your trunk!” “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS” ANALYSIS OF A SHORT FILM

       It’s time for Kustom Kar Kommandos! (RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW TAB TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY OF THE ROMANCE THAT IS \”KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.\”)The film by Kenneth Anger shows a man who is sincerely in love with his car that he cleans inch by inch with a pink sponge. In class we discussed the “castration complex.” A symptom of this phenomena, is that men may acquire a ‘sexual fetish’ to objects. I think this is what happened to the man in the video, just maybe… Laura Mulvey argues in her essay “VISUAL PLEASURE AND NARRATIVE CINEMA” that films or often shot, or male characters make use of a so called ‘male gaze.’ It is the look a man gives to a woman, when he sees her as an object of sex, and nothing more. Who says men don’t give this look to their cars? Hope the sarcasm is obvious.

Notice the curviness of the 'back' of the car. Watch him clean her rear...Oh I mean it's rear...Oh sorry I mean the car's trunk...NO! I don't MEAN the car's TRUNK not in that sense! Just IT's!!... Ah well, you GET THE IDEA =P

So how does a man change his subject from a female human being, an animate living person, to a shiny, beautiful automobile that is ‘lifeless’? How is the car personified as a woman? By the end of Mulvey’s article, (in fact the last paragraph) it states that women “cannot view the decline of traditional film with anything much more than sentimental regret.” My analysis will also reflect on this idea in relation to “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS ” and films in general.

       SCOPHOPHILIA:  “the pleasure in looking at another as [a] sexual object”, and  according to Mikhail Gershovich, this refers to an “instinct of pleasure” that’s almost transcendent. Ironically, the viewer may not really be aware of how much pleasure incurs from watching a woman on camera being viewed through the ‘male gaze.’ Gershovich also discusses fetishistic scophophilia. This idea MORE directly relates to “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.”

The use of MEDIUM PASSING SHOTS make us feel as if we are ‘sizing up’ a woman. Like looking at a naked woman from head to toe. Similar to this shot from PEEPING TOM(1960). RIGHT CLICK HERE AND WATCH IN NEW TAB TO SEE VIDEO:From 16-22 seconds the camera makes two trips, from TOP to TOE, and again from TOE to TOP. This correctly sets up a similar visual candy we are treated to in KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.
To be frank for a moment, I remember watching the film for the first time in class in complete awe of how cheesy and hilariously sensual the man behaved towards his beloved vehicle. So in a sense, I fell victim to the voyeuristic pleasure of watching “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS.” It was well obvious to me, and the audience that this car was unmistakably likened to a woman being caressed softly by a man. There is no doubt of that.

From 40-50 seconds in the video, we see a great CLOSEUP SHOTthat serves as an awesome feminization of the vehicle.


I’ve chosen the frame here to draw you attention to those…Kar Mammaries?

Note***:And now we just jumped from PG-13 to..........RATED R FOR STRONG SEXUAL CONTENT

There is also another CLOSEUP SHOT of him “brushing off” those, those…decadent KAR BREASTS…

      OBJECTIFICATION WITH THE HELP OF SOUND: So this man, now with the audience sees the car as an object being personified as a woman. However, there is much more this video than meets the eye. There is key SONIC evidence to support this essay. RIGHT CLICK AND OPEN IN NEW TAB to listen to DREAM LOVER cover by PARIS SISTERS

This softly sung, sultry, and rich in melody ballad is perfectly cast as NON-DIEGETIC background music. The PARIS SISTERS cover of Bobby Darin’s “DREAM LOVER” actually shapes the fantasy and dreamlike vision, of the audience to match the man who is washing his car. If you watch the video MUTED will helplessly lose most of the sensual feel of the video. In fact I bet if the video was shown for the first time, most people would not catch the sexual innuendo of the video.

Although I agree with Mulvey that most CERTAINLY a ‘male gaze’ exists in Hollywood of past and present, I FAIL to see it as a threat to women, femininity, or sexual equality. I feel people watch moving pictures for many reasons that include Mulvey’s viewpoints of the male gaze ‘phenomena’ (i.e. voyeurism, women as sexual objects, etc. etc.) however there is NOTHING to suggest that this exceeds or is the limit of cinematic entertainment. Hopefully from my essay proves that the ‘male gaze’ can be mocked and “humor-ized”, or parodied by Anger’s film “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS” where love, seduction and  sexual fantasies and other emotions can be slapstickingly be put onto…well a car!

So in conclusion we shall climax how many love stories climax, with a LOVE SCENE. Of course, not Love of the traditional kind. It’s time for love “KUSTOM” style! It’s often referred in certain circles that men ‘ride’ women during acts of love. Well what love story would be complete without the Kommando in the story riding his woman!

<3 Now that's what I call true, DRIVEN, LOVE! <3


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5 Responses to “Now what you gonna’ do with all that junk! All that junk inside your trunk!” “KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS” ANALYSIS OF A SHORT FILM”

  1. Eric Dorcean Says:

    Good scene analysis. I didnt think of using the male gaze in such a way. You deffinetly gave me some ideas.

  2. mdeandrade100 Says:

    Glad I did. Yeah I figured the male gaze could be relatable to things like cars too lol. It’s all similar in a way. I

  3. Natalie Bernabe Says:

    You have really successfully analyzed this very short film! Who knew you could get all of these theories from such a short clip! I love how you categorize each topic, such as objectification and fetishistic scophophilia, which directly relates to this piece. What a way to sexify a car, and lose a bit of the masculinity of the ‘manly’ car repair/tuning with the music! Well well done!

  4. Amy Herzog Says:

    Oh. My. It is not often in the course of grading 80 film analyses projects that I burst out loud laughing!!! I had been thinking about this film in relation to the male gaze, but more in terms of camera gazing at the male drivers. You are absolutely correct that there is another far more obvious object of desire here– the car!!! Fantastic attention to detail, and a truly spot-on and hilarious deployment of Mulvey’s theory. Bravo!!!!!!!!

  5. kgarvey2 Says:

    After reading both Taraneh’s analysis and yours, I am convinced Anger’s film was to create both a female and male gaze. Obejctifying the Kar and its ‘Kommandos’ creates this contrast. Perhaps, Anger was trying to depict a homosexual male gaze rather than the heterosexual male gaze that Mulvey suggests. A very thought provoking analysis.

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