The story goes that in 1978, the Cramps made a video, filmed by Alex de Laszlo, for their song “Human Fly,” that featured singer Lux Interior (RIP 2009) in a classic movie-monster transformation scene—but it seemed like nobody saw it, or could even prove it existed. A close perusal of Thomas Owen Sheridan’s collection of contemporary zine articles about the band—itself a rare Cramps collectible—yielded exactly one reference to its existence.
Seriously, that’s it.
The 1990 book Wild Wild World of the Cramps, by Ian Johnston, who also wrote the book on Nick Cave, offered this:
In May, The Cramps made their first tentative steps into the world of promotional video. A friend who was studying at film school suggested his services and a short three-minute film, based on the song ‘Human Fly’ was produced. The film was made for under $200 and featured Lux painfully transforming into a fly. This artefact is now so rare that even Lux and Ivy do not have a copy of the film.
In 2011, an amazing blog post by Kogar Theswingingape proffered actual screen caps and a scene-by-scene breakdown, but the video itself wasn’t posted.
The film opens with a countdown and a placard with: Vengeance Productions Presents a Film by Alex de Laszlo. It immediately cuts to a shot of Ivy walking down the street, transistor radio glued to her ear (The Way I Walk is playing), blowing bubbles and holding a glass bottle coke. Cut to a somber looking Lux in a smoking jacket sitting on what appears to be a leopard print sofa. He’s prepping a huge hypodermic needle by lighting a match and holding it under the needle.
Lux then gathers up some flesh from around his throat and slowly injects himself.
The result is immediate; he begins a transformation!
Well, it seems that a couple of months ago, the actual film, AT LONG LAST, after decades of existing as little more than a tantalizing rumor, finally and with little fanfare found its way to YouTube. It’s amazing that this sine qua non of Cramps ephemera has been online for months with such a paltry view-count. Let’s ramp those numbers up a bit, shall we?
This post is dedicated to the memory of “Brother Ed” Wille, who probably had this on an 8MM reel or something. Many thanks to Shawn Swagerty for alerting me to this find.
Previously on Dangerous Minds
The Cramps ‘Human Fly’ opera version
The Cramps want to know: ‘Can Your Pussy do the Dog?’