That philosophy is presented using a cut-up collage of elements like a punk show flyer, with a parade of f****d up plastic dolls to audio of old scratchy show tapes intercut with a Lisa Carver interview and photos of the shows from her books. Add to that the reenactments of the Suckdog shows shot by Kozak, which are more expressionistic than representative and won’t the kids just love it. These scenes reinterpret Lisa Suckdog’s drug-fueled public sexual fistfights as two grinning girls innocently dancing middle school slumber party style to flashing lights, bringing forth the basic playful impulse behind the mayhem.
The lit Italian horror style with the candy-colors and capturing the same fun yet sinister tone as the birthday sequence in the Canadian masterpiece The Big Crimewave, the reenactments bring the context to the surface instead of having to have actual footage upstage the context with a subjective reaction. The intercut still photos showing what actually is happening onstage are jarring, with an even sharper contrast due to the black and white true crime style of the photos against the shiny lights on the human actors being used like giant plastic grinning dolls, even to the point of pulling the legs off.
“…given the information you would seek from a rock doc but have absorbed it in a much more emotional way.”
Using plastic dolls in order to animate the proceedings, Lisa Suckdoll harnesses the symbolic power of the Barbie influence and uses it as a liberating instead of repressive force. The modifications subvert the traditional materialistic female roles the dolls represent that girls make to the dolls and those roles. Lisa Suckdoll takes the plastic doll values of womanhood and bites their tits off. The Lisa Suckdog doll itself is painted to look ferocious, almost like a Karen Black doll. Still, it is also an amazingly powerful totem, especially when banging away at a typewriter or beating up the G.G. Allin bobblehead. The part of the movie that goes into the ghastly past that inspired the performances is exceptionally visceral, with images of a desolate dollhouse with broken doll parts scattered throughout.
Becca Kozak achieves in this experimental short what genius film director Betty Thomas could do with her classic film Private Parts. In that movie, Thomas was able to take a divisive figure like Howard Stern, whose career has been to be the male Lisa Suckdog of all media, and convey the intention behind the performance to even viewers who don’t care for Stern still love the movie. Kozak also took the 90-minute rock doc format and distilled the Suckdog essence into 17 minutes. You feel you have been given the information you would seek from a rock doc but have absorbed it in a much more emotional way.
Also, there is the brilliant move of putting a Lisa Carver bibliography on the final credits. It is always good to leave them wanting more, but it is even better when you are provided with the means to get the more you want. Lisa Suckdoll is another example of how underground filmmaking can still innovate cinema language from the street level. Many more bands would benefit from the experimental short treatment of their musical history.
"…using plastic dolls in order to animate the proceedings..."