Few movies create such an eerie environment that draw you inside and create a sort of ambiguous puzzle that needs to be explored. The Shining, 2001, Eyes Wide Shut, Blue Velvet, Mullholland Drive have all lead me down rabbit holes of google searches learning what room numbers mean, what the fuck the obelisk is, the meaning of masks and “fidelio“. Last night I watched William Friedkin’s Cruising and 24 hours later I am still trying to find out all I can about this world. Doomed before it even was released for a myriad of reasons in 1980 it was buried in obscurity until it came out briefly on VHS in 1996 the surfaced again in 2007 with the DVD release.

“the film is progressive for its time on topics like police brutality against gays, and that its form is an important part of what makes it progressive. He links the film’s incoherence, which he sees as deliberate on the filmmaker’s part, to the critique it is making of patriarchy and its corollaries: homophobia, repression of gays and the warping of gay and straight relationships by relations of domination and inequality.”
– Bill Krohn

Super eerie, gritty, fragmented story telling with no heroes, this is an amazing genre-less movie (is it slasher, cop, mystery, horror?) worth several watches and some reading. Start with the trailer. Then watch the movie, if you have Netflix you can add it to you instant que here.

After watching, and only after, I suggest you read:
Cruising: Re-examining the Reviled and Friedkin Out.


  1. Mike

    Great pick! I highly recommend the book, “William Friedkin: Films of Aberration, Obsession, and Reality” if you can find it. Lots of great info on all his films. Tracked down a copy during my “Sorcerer” obsession/phase, another mind blowing one from Friedkin.

  2. I remember reading about this in the Germs book. Did their songs ever get used in the actual movie? I’ve always wanted to see it, though, as the book really trashed it, but after watching the trailer, it looks pretty awesome. Thanks Jawk – any more alternative lifestyle recommendations?

  3. This film is a classic; Friedkin back when being Friedkin meant something. I saw it for the first time on VHS back when I’m sure some of the concepts were over my head. I’ve since learned a lot about the 70s/80s Leather scene and have friends who remember when the movie was shown in Chelsea. The boys claimed there was a “hard core” edit that was shown back in the day; something that has been denied for years and was only recently acknowledged. Tons of great supporting cast too; Powers Boothe, Ed O’Neill, Leo Burmeister.

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