By Stephanie Zacharek
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
Careys subsequent movie career was spotty but choicea sadistic Union sergeant in Phil Karlsens A Time for Killing (1967), a version of himself in Bob Rafaelsons Monkees musical Head (1968), and a fastidious, Marx-quoting mobster in John Cassavetess The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Anthology is showing these, as well as Careys two most alarming vehicles, the indie cheapster Bayou (1957), re-released five years later as Poor White Trash with an added rape scene (starring guess-who), and The Worlds Greatest Sinner (1962), a movie that Carey wrote, directed, and produced over a three-year periodwhile appearing in nearly every shot.
The high point of Poor White Trash is Careys Cajun love dance, knees knocking and mouth agape. This agonized mambo is reprised in The Worlds Greatest Sinner, in which Careys bored insurance salesman becomes first a leather-lunged, immortality-promising street preacher, then a frantic rock-n-roller who bills himself as God, and, finally, dignified with a paste-on goatee and campaigning against death, the presidential candidate of the Eternal Man Party. Blasphemy aside, his sins include sex with female followers from 14 to 83, gratuitously smacking his little daughter and stabbing a sacramental wafer to see if it bleeds.
Fabulously scored by then unknown 20-year-old Frank Zappa, The Worlds Greatest Sinner is far from incompetent filmmakingits as idiotic, crafty, and unpredictable as Careys performance. Placing his satire at the intersection of politics, celebrity, and the media, Sinner is thematically the missing link between A Face in the Crowd and Wild in the Streets. Its also a skid-row psychodrama to double-bill with Ed Woods plea for transvestite acceptance Glen or Glenda or Spencer Williamss stark morality play The Blood of Jesus. Perhaps someday, someone will do Clint Eastwood a favor and show Sinner with Hereafter.
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